Hostess Gift: Occasions that Require a Gift for your Host or Hostess

“And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties, there isn’t any privacy.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Have you been invited out to a dinner party or barbeque? Would you like to take a small gift as a token of your appreciation for the invite and the excellent company? However, you are not sure whether buying a present for your hostess is a good idea. The great news is that bringing a gift for the function’s hostess is a wonderful way to thank them for inviting you to their party.

What is a hostess gift?

Before we look at which occasions or events require a hostess gift, let’s first take a look at what the definition of a hostess gift is: notes that a “hostess gift is a [small] gift which is given to the host or hostess of an event by guests.” The tradition of taking a hostess gift along to a party might seem like an old-fashioned, strange tradition to most people; it is still a valuable tradition which shows that you are well-mannered and considerate.

The perfect gift is tasteful and elegant, reflecting the recipient’s great taste and largesse. Furthermore, it is also something which the receiver would not personally buy for herself. Additionally, ideal hostess gifts are flowers, wine, chocolate boxes, and fruit baskets. On the other hand, if you know your hostess very well, it is a good idea to choose a gift that you know she will love.

There is just one caveat here: you should not take food (unless you are asked to) because your hostess will have already planned the menu. Furthermore, if you bring flowers, it is a good idea to take a vase along with, even if it is a basic kitchen jar. Finally, while wine is an excellent gift to take, you should not expect your hostess to offer the wine at the party. She would have already planned on other wines to pair with the food she is serving.

Which events should you take a hostess gift?  

It is a good idea to take a hostess gift to most social occasions. The only exception is a large formal dinner party; especially, if you do not know your hostess well. Furthermore, you should take a hostess gift to the following occasions:


It is a custom to take a gift to a housewarming party. It is a good idea to take speciality foods such as preserves, olive oil, after-dinner mints, etc. Otherwise, bring a gift that has long-lasting value for your hostess’s new home.

Casual dinner party or outdoor barbeque

The only exception to taking a gift to a casual dinner party is if you know your hostess well and you dine frequently together; otherwise, take a present along with you. Additionally, this occasion is probably where you will most likely be asked to bring a plate of food along with you.

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