35 Best Gifts for Party Hosts

These thoughtful ideas are perfect for any kind of party.

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November 18, 2022

It’s a good rule of thumb to never show up at someone’s home empty-handed, especially for a party. Throwing any kind of gathering is expensive, especially if they're providing a full spread of food and cocktails, and a host gift is a gesture that says thank you for the food and hospitality. But what exactly should you give? And why do most people give wine? We’ve rounded up the best host and hostess gifts for every type of party, from small dinners to holiday soirees to staying the weekend at a friend’s house. Take a look at our picks below, and stock up on these thoughtful (and useful!) host gifts.

HOST + HOSTESS GIFTS 101

So why is it always wine? Traditionally for a dinner party, a bottle of wine is common because you’re gifting the host a new bottle with the assumption that you’ll be drinking their wine and depleting a bottle from their stash. It’s also a popular host gift because the price point for a nice-ish bottle of red or white is around $20-25, but there’s no rule that says you have to bring wine, especially if the host or hostess doesn't drink alcohol. Potted succulents and candles are very common host gifts, too. A host gift is typically between $10-25, though you may want to splurge a little more for someone hosting you overnight or for a longer period of time, but as the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts. A specific price shouldn’t determine a gift. You could always handmake something, bake a batch of cookies or shop stores like Amazon, Target, Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx or HomeGoods to snag gift items at a deep discount.

Host + Hostess Gifts for a Dinner Party

Instead of another bottle of wine, try something wine-adjacent such as this herb planter kit that fits in an empty bottle so the recipient can make use of those empty wine bottles they'll have post-dinner party. If you're shopping for a host gift for someone who doesn't drink, you can't go wrong with a tea towel. These city and regional towels from West Elm make a great personalized option. For dinner parties, it's best not to bring food unless specifically asked because there's a good chance the host meticulously planned the dinner menu. Instead opt to bring a practical gift that the host can use for prepping, serving or decorating for future dinner parties. The reBoard cutting board from Material is made from recycled materials, is dishwasher safe and comes in several fun colors. A wood herb stripper is something they probably wouldn't buy themselves but is beautiful and can make prep time go faster. A handmade ceramic spoon rest will make cleanup easier, and fun serving utensils like these funky acacia wood ones are great for serving salads. If the host enjoys decorating a beautiful tablescape, consider candle holders like these ribbed glass ones that actually reverse to fit both taper candles as well as tea light candles.

Host + Hostess Gifts for a Cocktail Party

Cocktail parties are another great opportunity to gift something drink-adjacent such as a new coaster set like these handsome leather ones that can be monogrammed or these colorful and playful ones from Matilda Goad & Co.'s exclusive line at Anthropologie featuring the brand's signature scallop detailing. Another drink adjacent option is nice glassware, such as these elegant coupe glasses from designer Athena Calderone's recent collaboration with Crate & Barrel. Help the host keep everyone's drinks straight with fun drink charms, and if the host needs activities for the evening or the party consists of people meeting for the first time, consider gifting this fun card game called Actually Curious: Happy Hour Icebreaker Game. A unique ice mold or nice lavender simple syrup, which can be used for cocktails, lattes and more, would also make sweet gifts for a cocktail party host.

Host + Hostess Gifts for a Holiday Party

Holiday parties are the easiest party to shop for host gifts because you can always make it seasonal such as a Christmas tree ornament or holiday decor. We love these Christmas tree swizzle sticks. If you'd rather gift something edible, the Williams Sonoma peppermint bark is a tried-and-true crowd-pleaser. If the recipient is obsessed with Wordle, you can't go wrong with a Wordle ornament. A winter-themed scented candle would be perfect to help the host set the vibe for the party or something they can enjoy as they unwind and recharge after guests leave.

Host + Hostess Gifts for a PJs + TV Party

If you've been invited to a casual get-together for a TV show or a movie night, you likely don't need a big host gift, but it's still nice to bring a little something to thank the host, especially if they're making snacks. Hot cocoa or cozy socks are always great go-to ideas. And if you're chilling in PJs, a hydrating mask is good, too. We also love these mini popcorn makers from Amazon. If you've gifted candles before and want to switch it up, a nice glass jar filled with matches is a nice alternative (though you can always pair it with a candle if you want to spend a little more.) A double-sided puzzle like this one that depicts two gorgeous scenes from Italy would also be a nice gift they could bust open during a PJ party or save for the future. If the host is a homebody, which is probably the case if their idea of a party is a PJ party, they'll love these aromatherapy slippers — the removable soles are filled with lavender flowers and flaxseed and can be microwaved before wearing for maximum coziness.

Host + Hostess Gifts for Overnight Visits

If you're visiting friends or family overnight, always bring a little gift to thank them for letting you crash. Houseguests are more than party guests. You're eating a lot of their food, using their hot water, etc. And as Benjamin Franklin said, "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days." Smaller items for a housewarming party make great overnight guest gifts, too, such as a nice bottle of soap or a tea sampler. We like this set of bath bombs from Charleston-based Old Whaling Co. that comes in beautiful packaging because it gives the host a chance to pamper themselves and unwind after their guests leave. No host gift says thank you for having me as much as a tin of corn cookies from Milk Bar — seriously, they're delicious. A candle really is a tried-and-true host gift, but for an overnight visit, make it a good candle and gift this Matilda Goad & Co. scalloped candle featuring notes of bergamot, fig leaf, lavender, cedarwood and lemon. Plus, they'll have a pretty vessel they can repurpose once they've burned through the candle. If you know the host enjoys board games, a stylish glass chess set is a fun activity you all can enjoy together, and it doubles as a home decor item if they decide to leave it on display. Speaking of display-worthy games, this Scrabble game is packaged in a box that looks like a vintage book, which would make a great gift for someone who loves games, words or both.

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