20 Best Gifts for Party Hosts

These thoughtful ideas are perfect for any kind of party.

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October 01, 2021

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. Potted succulents and candles are very common host gifts, too. A host gift is typically between $10-25, but as the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts. A specific price shouldn’t determine a gift. You could always handmake something, or shop stores like Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx or HomeGoods to snag gift items at a deep discount.

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 or wine-infused coffee. 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 a Cocktail Party

Cocktail parties are another great opportunity to gift something drink-adjacent such as a new coaster set or this cocktail garden kit. If you're shopping for a foodie, this raw honeycomb comes in its own cute tin. If snacks get low, the host can add it to a cheeseboard. If you've already given a host a candle before, try a fancy matchbox instead.

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 snowflake swizzle sticks. If you'd rather gift something edible, the Williams Sonoma peppermint bark is a tried-and-true crowd-pleaser.

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 this mini popcorn maker from Uncommon Goods.

For Overnight Hosts

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 soap set or a tea sampler. We like this jar of bath salts from Anthropologie because it comes with a little wooden scoop and it's already wrapped. No host gift says thank you for having me as much as a tin of corn cookies from Milk Bar. Seriously, they're delicious.

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