The Do’s and Don’ts of Hostess Gifts for The Holidays

4 Dec

Bringing a gift for your host or hostess is a kind way to say “thank you” for their hospitality. The winter months are an especially eventful time of the year where family and friends join together to celebrate holidays and each other’s company.

Traditionally, hostess gifts are given during a formal gathering or dinner. But in recent years, giving hostess gifts has come back into style for all occasions. The trick to a great hostess gift is to keep it simple – adding to the occasion without creating a burden. While flowers and wine are fine gifts, the hostess may not have a vase for the flowers or the wine may conflict with the meal.

To help you navigate your way into finding the perfect hostess gift, we’ve organized a list with do’s and don’ts of hostess gifting this holiday season:

Informal Party’s & Dinners

Finding the right gift for an informal party and dinner can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time visiting someone’s home. For an informal party and dinner, bring a gift that is complimentary to the festivities.

  • Do: Bring a gift that is complimentary to the meal, such as cocktail napkins or a special carving knife. If there is no mention of a dinner, then bring something that adds to the party like a game.
  • Don’t: Bring gifts that must be that evening, such as a centerpiece or candles. Unless told otherwise, the host may have everything they want for the gathering. If you insist they try something, like a wine or candle, then suggest that they try it at another time.

Formal Party’s, Dinners, and Cocktail Parties

Most businesses and organizations celebrate their employees and committee’s with a formal party or dinner. It’s the perfect time to get to know your peers and colleagues outside of the workspace.

  • Do: If there is a guest of honor at the event, bring them a gift that they will appreciate. Otherwise, it isn’t recommended that you bring a hostess gift to a formal event.
  • Don’t: Bring food or decorations. If the formal isn’t serving food, then don’t bring food. If the event is a cocktail party, don’t bring additional drinks because the drinks for the evening are already planned.

Hanukkah Party

Hanukkah is an 8-day holiday celebrated by Jewish families on the fourth day before the new moon. Like other major holidays, Hanukkah is celebrated with prayer, food, and family games.

  • Do: Hanukkah is especially steeped in tradition. Bring with you a special dreidel or gelt coins. A nice olive oil from Israel is also greatly appreciated.
  • Don’t: Bring foods unless you’re asked. Traditional or practicing families will only eat food that is kosher. Bringing food can have a level of discomfort for some families.

Christmas Party

Christmas is one of the most widely practiced holidays in the United States. Family and friends from all over the country come together to celebrate Christmas with caroling, dinner, and presents around the Christmas tree. The formality of the celebration can vary, but there are a few great gifts that are perfect for all occasions.

  • Do: Bring ornaments and holiday-themed tins with tasty treats. Flavored popcorn is especially good for the Christmas holidays, as they can be enjoyed with a Christmas movie, by the fireplace, and can come in a variety of flavors for the entire family.
  • Don’t: Bring gifts that only the hostess will enjoy. The best hostess gifts contribute to the Christmas party or dinner without taking attention away from their preparations.

When looking for a perfect hostess gift, always remember to bring a gift that compliments the festivities or dinner without adding additional work for the host. If you want to gift food, take a few days beforehand and offer to bring a dish. That way the host can plan the dinner or festivities around the gift.

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