8 Host Gifts to Buy on the Way to the Party

Relax. Even if you didn't plan the perfect host or hostess gift, we've got a few gift-giving tricks up our sleeve.
Related To:

As much as we all might like to plan ahead, the reality is, life often gets in the way. This sometimes means that you’re stuck buying a gift on the way to whatever fab party you got invited to.

Rustic holiday wreath on old wood door

Rustic holiday wreath on old wood door

Festive and rustic holiday wreath on an old wood barn door.

Photo by: Erica Reitman

Erica Reitman

I’ve rounded up 8 ideas for gifts that will ensure you get invited back every single time.

I’m both a procrastinator and a planner, so I put together my favorite ideas broken down by “plan ahead” and “last minute.” You’ll see I often end up doing a hybrid of the two, but if you’re someone who always likes to plan ahead or leave things for the last second, not to worry. You’ve got options, too.

Kraft Beer Holder + Some Beers

Photo by: Amazon


Plan Ahead: I absolutely love these plain kraft beer holders that come in packs of four. I typically order a couple off Amazon and keep them neatly folded up in the back of my car. This way, I can grab some craft beers on the way to a party, put them in my carrier and write a festive message with a sharpie (that I also keep in my car!). If you want to plan even more, you can decorate these at home with markers, stickers, glitter, etc.

Last Minute: Just grab a six-pack of craft beer and attach a nice bottle opener with a string or a rubberband. These days, it’s pretty easy to find more gourmet beer choices, even at spots like 7-Eleven or drugstores (depending on what state you're in).

Our Product Pick: 4-Pack Kraft Box Carrier, Amazon, $15

Gourmet Hot Sauce

Red Hot Chile Peppers

Red Hot Chile Peppers

Plan Ahead: Hot sauce is one of my go-to hostess gifts, so I'll typically pick up a few bottles or order some to have on hand. If you happen to have a favorite hot sauce, you can often get them at a discount. If you want to get super crafty, you can even purchase some plain glass bottles, repackage the hot sauce in them and decorate the bottle.

Last Minute: Stop off at a nice grocery store and find a unique bottle of hot sauce. You can pair a few bottles of hot sauce with a gourmet bag or two of popcorn for a yummy snack. Purchase a re-usable tote bag from the market if you want to simply and easily package it up nicely.

Our Product Pick: Hot Sauce Series Set, Amazon, $15

Olive Oil



Plan Ahead: While wine is always a lovely gift, I really think a beautiful bottle of olive oil is far more creative. To amp up your gift, add some heirloom tomatoes, a fresh loaf of Italian bread, a nice bottle of balsamic vinegar and some fine sea salt. Then put it in a simple canvas bag.

Last Minute: Stop at a nice grocery store and buy a lovely bottle of extra virgin olive oil. Since these are typically close to the same size as wine bottles, you can use a wine sleeve if one is available at the store for gift wrap.

Our Product Pick: Olio Taibi Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Amazon, $49.99

Old-Fashioned or European Candy

Photo by: Candy Crate

Candy Crate

Plan Ahead: If you’re a candy lover, this is a super fun gift. Order a bunch of retro candies online and keep them stored away in your pantry. Use something like these red chinese food containers for a unique packaging idea, and prepare a few so they're ready to grab and go before a party.

Last Minute: If you don’t have any place around that you could easily find retro candy, go with European candy (you can also typically find this at nicer grocery stores). You'll notice that the types of candy bars and packaging will be much different than ours, and it’s a nice variation on a box of chocolates. Buy as many as you like and put them in a simple tin or gift bag.

Our Product Pick: Nostalgic Candy Gift Basket, Candy Crate, $21.99


Photo by: Nordstrom


Plan Ahead: Choose a favorite, reasonably priced, neutral smelling candle, and purchase five or so to have on hand. Add some packaged matches like these from Cire Trudon for a truly special gift.

Last Minute: Simply stop at a department store, beauty supply store or discount store to find a nice large candle. Target has a good selection of lower-priced candles, and department stores such as Nordstrom or Bloomingdales will give you pricier options like Jo Malone.

Our Product Pick: Votivo Boxed Soy Wax Candle, Nordstrom, $28


Terrarium Garden Display

Terrarium Garden Display

This clever collection of recycled glass terrariums in different shapes displays sedums (such as Sedum spurium and Sedum acre 'Aureum') and succulents such as Variegated Candle Plant, String of Pearls, Propeller Plant and Silver Squill. At the top right, Begonia 'Fireworks' brings in a punch of ruby red. A Hindu rope plant and Mesembryanthemum lehmanni are in the same container in front, near a tiny hens and chicks succulent. They were assembled and arranged by Sarah Brueck Williams, a stained glass artist.

Photo by: Sarah Brueck Williams

Sarah Brueck Williams

Plan Ahead: Purchase a few colorful pots to keep on hand. Go to a local Home Depot or Lowes and pick out some nice gift plants such as orchids. You can even drop the plant directly into the pot without actually repotting it. Keep these out on your patio or in your garden so they're easy to grab.  

Last Minute: Stop at a local nursery or home supply store, pick out a nice plant and be on your way. Succulents are super easy to care for and don’t require much water.

Our Product Pick: Succulent Plant, The Home Depot, $13.99

Gourmet Coffee

Coffee Inspired Christmas Gifts

Coffee Lover's Gift Basket

Create a thoughtful gift basket for your coffee -dependent friends. Place a mug and their favorite coffee inside of a woven or wooden basket. Take the gift to the next level by including a French press.

Photo by: Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

Plan Ahead: During the holiday season (or any other holiday) grab the gift packs of coffee that you see at your favorite coffee spots to keep on hand in your pantry. Often these come wrapped up with bows or with metallic accents. Pair this gift with fresh pastries from a local bakery and gourmet jams for an extra special touch.

Last Minute: Stop off at one of your local coffee chains and see what they have in the way of gifts. Choose either some coffee grounds packaged up or a beautiful mug or cup (or both!).

Our Product Pick: Starbucks Christmas Blend, Whole Bean, $14.95

Cutting Board + Cheese

A Holiday Culinary Gift Basket

A Holiday Culinary Gift Basket

Photo by: Buff Strickland ©Buff Strickland

Buff Strickland, Buff Strickland

Plan Ahead: While you can’t really plan ahead on the cheese front (as those should always be fresh), you can keep some other staples around that would make an amazing addition to a cheese board basket. Some ideas include: fig jam, gourmet nuts, chic cheese knives or a selection of crackers. If you happen to find nice, decently priced cutting boards, buy a few of those to keep as well. When it’s time to go to the party, grab everything and put it in a simple reusable tote or basket.

Last Minute: Stop off at a store like Target or Costco that will have everything you need under one roof. Find a nice, simple cutting board, choose three or four gourmet cheeses and a box of crackers, and package everything up in a gift bag or basket.

Our Product Pick: Live Edge Cutting Board, Target, $9.99

Next Up

9 Hand-Picked Holiday Gifts From an Expert Shopper

See how HGTV Magazine puts together their annual holiday gift guide, plus get hand-picked gifts from an expert shopper.

DIY Stocking Stuffer: Mini Hot Chocolate Jars Three Ways

Want to make a homemade stocking stuffer but short on time? These three hot chocolate recipes are as easy as can be and assembling them into a beautiful gift jar is a cinch.

9 Christmas Gifts You Can Put in a Mason Jar

Need a last-minute gift or the perfect way to present a gift card? These easy gifts in Mason jars should do the trick!

Unique Ways to Celebrate Expectant Moms This Mother's Day

Make sure her very first Mother's Day is one to remember.

DIY Hand Warmers: Give the Gift of Toasty Fingers

Make these stocking stuffers for the always-cold person(s) on your list.

3 DIY Gifts You Can Pack Into an Egg Carton

It's the perfect package for small and fragile items. 

Sending a Thank You Gift? 10 DIY Ideas to Steal

Nothing says "thank you" like a handmade gift.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.

Related Pages