My mom has always been the “Don’t show up empty handed” kind of mom. This holiday season, if you are not staying home for the holiday, then you should be looking for hostess (or host, keeping it gender neural around these parts) gifts. If this post is the first time you have heard those words, then you definitely should be looking for hostess gifts. Chances are this is last minute for you so here’s a list of fun hostess gifts that you can snag on the way in a range of prices.
Baked Goods Chances are there is a grocery store on your route, stop in and purchase a pie or some other generally loved dessert. Bonus points if you stop at a local bakery instead of a grocery store. If you live in an area where one is accessible, my vote is always on a cake from Publix. I’ve seen the light and I’m never going back.
Cutting board/ Cheese plate There is no such thing as too many cutting boards especially around the holiday. You can snag one with your host’s last initial from a Monogram shop or William Sonoma or if you are super last minute, a grocery store should stock a few selections.The same applies for little cheese plates.
Coffee Here’s the thing, unless your host hates coffee or is a coffee elitist, almost any bag will do. Pick the prettiest one or the one that comes pre-wrapped in fancy Christmas cellophane and go for it. If you have an absolute favorite that you are dying to share, that is a beautiful option as well. My favorite is the Costa Rican Tarrazu from Trader Joe’s. it’s affordable and delicious.
Herbs Stop at a grocery store that you know has herbs. They often come pre potted or if you know the host(ess) has crafty younger kids, those do it yourself kits would be lovely as well.
Dish soap It’s important to go for the artisan soaps here. If you pass a Target, the world is truly your oyster. My husband is obsessed with the Mrs. Meyer’s soaps. Snag a hand soap and dish soap. Place them in a cute neutral colored tea towel and bind them with a ribbon from the craft aisle. Ten dollars well spent. There are also other brands that smell and look wonderful and are readily available like Method, Seventh generation, J. R. Watkins, etc. etc.
Kitchen Linens Pot holders, tea towels, cute aprons, dish clothes. You name it, they can all be found in a grocery store or a nearby TjMaxx. We snagged a cute set with donuts and polka dots from our local Home Goods. Tailor your gift to your host and your host’s kitchen. Hostess a huge Beyoncé fan? This gorgeous Lemon set was available at our local Marshalls. Put a cute (and appropriate lyric on the tag) and credit Beyoncé and sign your name. Hostess quite the pastry chef in the making? Cute little towels like this “Fresh and Delicious” set from Target would do the trick. Don’t know your host that well? Keep it simple and go with white or neutral.
Bottle Opener Duh? People need bottle openers and wine bottle openers. Grab the cutest bottle opener like this one from J. Crew. Which brings me right to my next point…
Wine How great of a guest would you be to bring wine with the bottle? Don’t know what your host likes? Stop into wherever you get your wine usually and ask them for suggestions. They’re the experts. Also a great option is wine adjacent as I like to call it. Sparkling cider for the non-imbibers in your life or if your host is into microbrew, pick up a few local brews for them to try. Great places to dabble in often let you make your own six pack which gives them the chance to try a few things when guest leave and they need alcohol as they prepare to clean up a mess.
Vintage games Is there a game that your family loves? Bring one for your hostess. My husband and his family are really into dominoes and so a beautiful set would be fantastic to bring to family friends who we think would like them. Don’t mind starting a holiday fight? Bring a pack of brand new Uno cards to leave at the home. Target currently carries a retro set that gifts well.
Dog Treats These are obviously going to only be an option if the host has a dog. I honestly would have never thought of these as an option but last year my mother in law purchased Christmas gifts for our two pups and I thought how cute they would be to gift to a doggy parent. Make sure to get grain free just in case the puppy friend may have an allergy
Cute coasters You could absolutely find a great set of cute preppy coasters online and have them expedited to your home in time for the holidays. or you can once more stop into your local West Elm, TjMaxx or Target depending on your price point. Pick a set that is neutral or that you know would match your host’s home.
Pro tip: You can combine any of the choice from this list for a slightly more complex and decorative gift like the tea towels and the Mrs. Meyer’s. If you have time (and aren’t the driver) remove the original packaging. I keep scissors, tape, ribbons and tissue paper in my car as ebay/poshmark/gift supplies and they’ve come in super handy last minute. Want to buy the coffee from Trader Joes’s but hate the packaging? Buy a large mason jar, empty the coffee into it and then use your most beautiful handwriting to label the lid. Wrap some ribbon around the neck of the jar and go.
Or, even more useful, just buy the product that comes in the most lovely packaging in the first place. I can’t be the only person who has picked a brand based on the packaging. Marketing and presentation are everything and that includes for a hostess gift. If you are in a super market that has a locally grown section, scope out some of those items. Maybe there’s a sauce, seasoning or drink that would be appropriate.
What’s your favorite last minute hostess gift?