October 1, 2014

Hostess Gifts

What to bring??  
It's such a dilemma, especially in the military community, when there is such a wide variety of events to attend. 
Hostess gifts need not be elaborate and should not be costly, they need only to be thoughtful. And they aren't always necessary, but, an RSVP and a prompt thank you note are.
 As a senior spouse, this is my take on hostess gifts.
If you are having brunch or lunch in someone's home I think a hostess gift is always a kind gesture. 
Some great examples of mid-day hostess gifts are:
Candles...who doesn't love them? And you will probably use them before you have to pack up and move them! Candles are my go to gift to give and one of my favorites to get.
Small bouquet of flowers or
  fresh herbs, you could even attach a simple recipe.
Thick, fragrant bars of beautiful soap. 
Note cards with a monogram or simple design…with some forethought (which is rare for me!) I have taken a photo of a friend's house and had them made into note cards.
My favorite book to give is "A Short Guide to a Happy Life" by  Anna Quindlen, it's such a sweet read. 
I always appreciate homemade gifts or unique gifts that are from the giver's hometown. When I'm in Charleston I try to pick up something regional like jams or coffee that have my hometown written on the label.
Wrapping isn't always a must but at least a bow is nice.
Include a card so the hostess knows who it's from if she can't get to it right away.
At mid-day I don't bring alcohol but if you're good friends with the hostess I think it's ok. 
For evening events…a nice bottle of wine, champagne, or liqueur is appropriate (unless the host and hostess don't drink!) I try to bring something that will appeal to the couple.
 We once received a little basket of mini muffins and coffee for breakfast the next morning…it was a great gift! 
Yum, cookies in a jar...a hit for the host and hostess!
I love cheese buttons, I often give them as evening hostess gifts with my favorite cheese, Manchego. Find your favorite little novelty item and use that as gifts. 

I always keep a list of what I've given to whom.
It's always a good idea to keep a "stash" for that impromptu invitation.

Be mindful, if the invitation says 'No Hostess Gifts', please respect the request as not to embarrass the hostess or other guests.

There are events (hosted by a general officer or SES) when hostess gifts are not necessary. You can always check with your local protocol office when attending an event at their quarters if you're unsure.

Again, always be sure to write a thank you note anytime an event is at someone's home or they have paid for your meal at another venue.  

'Til next time!

Some other great suggestions:
Dish towels with a unit crest, monogram, or local scene
Any great cooking or dipping oils
Dark chocolates
Local honey with a honey dipper
Personalized cocktail napkins with spreading knife
French Sea Salt 


  1. Flowers are always appreciated, but even more so when given already in an inexpensive vase so the host doesn't have to stop and put them in water!


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