The host of your holiday party has spent all day cooking and cleaning, or depending on your host, all day getting her hair and make-up done as the caterer cooks and the housekeeper cleans, but regardless, it’s always nice to bring something to a soiree to show your appreciation.
Finding the perfect host gift can be a bit daunting, but by keeping it simple, you can’t go wrong. “Flowers in a little vase are always great and brighten up any room or table,” says Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute and author of “Essential Manners for Couples.” Post also notes the importance of arriving with the flowers already in a vase so your host doesn’t have to go searching for one.
Chocolates and wines are also safe bets but don’t expect your host to serve either, as it is not required. And while spirits and sweets may make good gifts, stay away from bringing hors d’oeuvres or a main course unless asked. You don’t want to show up with enchiladas to an Asian-themed bash. Candles are also easy gifts to bring and lines like and Kiehls and Alora Ambiance offer great holiday scents.
Linnea Johansson, author of “Perfect Parties,” recommends bringing the host a breakfast basket. “The next morning the host can relax and enjoy. Mix it up with scones, pancake ingredients, marmalade and some coffee beans. Every host will love it.”
For some cost-effective gifts, Johansson suggests making your own potpourri by simply mixing dried flowers with essential oils. Or, try giving a green basket filled with environmentally friendly products like energy-saving light bulbs and cloth grocery bags.
In the end, remember that while a host gift is a nice gesture, it is not mandatory.
“It has become a fashionable thing to do. But technically you don’t have to bring anything,” says Post. “If you were required, hosts would be inviting people just to get gifts.”
Although a gift is not essential, a thank you is a must. While this can be done in person at the end of the party or over the phone the following day, Post suggests promptly putting a note in the mail. “Thank you cards are certainly the nicest way to say thanks.”