Giving Stylish Hostess Gifts: The Do’s and Don’ts


Giving a stylish, thoughtful gift to your host or hostess allows you to show appreciation to your hosts who work hard making parties, dinners and weekends you enjoy. In Fall, the invitations to glamorous cocktail parties, casual dinners and holiday celebrations start to arrive in your inbox and mailbox. I want to share a few of my best tips for gifting beautiful, gracious host and hostess gifts with you. The only thing you will have to do is say “yes!” and decide what to wear.


Being a gracious guest includes bringing a well thought out hostess gift. You want your gift to be a reflection of who you are, but mostly of who your host is. This means you have to put some thought into it, your gift should never feel like an after thought. It needs to be suitable for the occasion. You wouldn’t bring a case of beer to a black tie sit down dinner for 30, but it would be perfectly wonderful to bring a selection of imported beers to a casual autumn party if the host loves beer.

You will want to present your gift with style. Sometimes that means a special wine tag on a wonderful bottle of your favorite wine with a hand written note. Sometimes it means taking time to wrap your gift with paper and ribbon, or a silk flower, so that you present a beautiful package to your hostess. It depends on the occasion.

Last, please give your gift at the right time.  When you are just walking through the door, don’t push your gift in your host’s hands. Usually, there are more guests coming. Instead, take the time to say a warm hello, and enter the home or restaurant, then give them your gift.



Cocktail Parties:


  • Bring a fabulous bottle of wine or champagne, or something else that can be used at future parties.  Hosts always like to have a reason to get together with friends again. French glasses, a vintage corkscrew, or a great cocktail book you love are all wonderful ideas.
  • Add a luxury splurge: Add a set of Wine Tags, a vintage French Champagne Bucket, or an English Bottle Coaster for an over the top gift for someone special, or someone who always goes out of their way to have the most well planned, beautiful parties.


  • Expect your host or hostess to serve the wine/ champagne you brought. Instead, make it clear on a tag, or verbally, that you hope your host or hostess will enjoy the bottle at a later date.
  • Bring something to use that evening, or something that requires some work. Flowers fall into this category, unless they already come in a vase.
  • Bring food that has to be eaten at the party. Only bring food if your hostess has previously said yes to your offer, or has asked you to bring an appetizer. Many hosts have their cocktail party planned down to the last inch, and an extra platter of food, no matter how delicious, is not necessarily something they welcome.





  • Ask your host if there is something you can bring to contribute. It could be dessert, or an extra cheese knife. There may be something that your host really needs, and he will thank you profusely for bringing it!
  • Bring something that suits your host or hostess. Do they love to cook? Bring them a new apron, a fabulous new cookbook, or a wonderful seasonal soap beautifully packaged. These gifts will last longer than another bouquet of flowers, and are often less expensive, certainly more memorable.
  • Present your hostess with place markers, a beautiful pedestal dish, or a set of linen napkins. Things that will be a delight to use for many parties, dinners and occasions in the future.
  • For a luxury splurge: surprise your host or hostess with a beautiful addition to their collection of antique tea cups, silver or first edition book that you know they will cherish.



  • Bring a scented candle that you expect the host to light. If you do love scented candles, and want to share your very favorite one with your host, be sure it is made from premium oils and of the highest quality. Many are now so allergic to scents and candles with manufactured {non natural oils} scents, it will put your host in an uncomfortable position if you insist they light your gift. {not to mention that many times, the scented candle will overpower the delicious smell of a beautifully presented dinner at the table!}
  • Give anything too personal like clothing, or anything that has a size. Slippers, shirts, anything like that is only appropriate if you are very well acquainted with your host and what size they will wear.



  • Take the time to know what your host or hostess likes, and take time to select an appropriate, thoughtful gift. Something from your home town or area that may not be available where your host lives is always enjoyable.
  • If your host has a dog, add a selection of dog treats to your gift.
  • A whole weekend takes quite a bit of time and effort {and expense!} for your host / hostess to plan. Gift accordingly. A gift of heirloom silver spoons, an antique linen tablecloth, antique napkins, a basket with gourmet French tea {I love Jardin Bleu Tea   from Paris in a Cup – they ship!} is not too luxurious to give someone who hosts you and perhaps your family for the weekend.
  • If giving a family gift, include a small token of your appreciation for the hostess. This could be a small bottle of bathsalts, a bottle of her favorite cologne, anything that shows that you are especially appreciative of her. {or him!}



  • Bring food. Unless it’s food that can be eaten by the hosts after you leave, such as packaged gourmet macarons,  a selection of mustards and pickles, or anything else that you can tell your host you hope they will enjoy at a later time, to remember your visit. {I took up a basket filled with a good friend’s favorite foods from a gourmet market that their new home town did not have when they hosted us in their new home, for instance.}
  • Bring something complicated to put together, that has a lot of instructions, or is a gag gift. {unless you know the hosts extremely well and are certain they will appreciate your gift!}


No matter what the occasion, bringing a small gift is always appreciated by every host and hostess.

host gift potpourri
One of my favorites right now is our new exclusive FrenchGardenHouse Potpourri. It adds a subtle fragrant ambiance to your home. The aged moss green terra cuite bowl can be filled to overflowing with the premium botanicals gathered from around the world. Attractively packaged, it’s lightly scented. An alluring way to warm up your elegant French home with our sumptuous visual representation of the elements. The scents for this season are: Hotel Provence, Citrouille d’Or, and Chateau Loire Harvest.

We have a well thought out selection of luxurious gifts for you to choose from each season at FrenchGardenHouse: specialty soaps, potpourri with their accompanying imaginative decorative bowls, wine stoppers, aprons, but also glassware, linen napkins and more. Are you someone who thinks outside the box? There are so many lovely, gracious antique porcelain tea cups, linens, silver and more that will delight the heart of your host or hostess when you present them with one of these. Each is the perfect gift to show your gratitude and say “thanks for having me!” SHOP GIFT LIST NOW

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2 thoughts on “Giving Stylish Hostess Gifts: The Do’s and Don’ts”

  1. Caroline

    Great ideas. I love creative hostess gifts, this is a perfect primer.

  2. This is a wonderful do and don’t list, Lidy. I’m pinning it to my etiquette board 🙂


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