The holidays are right around the corner. And while many of us will be spending time with family, you may also find yourself invited to a Friendsgiving, holiday party, or New Year's Eve shindig. Bringing a little something for your hostess isn't required – I definitely don't expect hostess gifts – but it is a thoughtful and lovely gesture.
The best hostess gifts are consumable – either for the hostess to stash away to enjoy herself or put out right then at the gathering. Hostess gifts should also be affordable – don't drop a lot of dollars on something that will make her feel guilty about using it or eventually throwing it away. Focus on finding a consumable, affordable gift that knows no style, taste, or personality bounds.
Here are ten ideas that make lovely hostess gifts:
1. Wine. It's a go-to for a reason. Stick to around $10-15. If you know what the hostess likes, spring for a bottle of that. If not, choose a popular wine that many people enjoy. Don't say whether the bottle is meant for the hostess or to be opened for the guests – let her decide.
2. Chocolate bars. Some prettily wrapped chocolate bars make a big impression. Almost everyone gets a little sweet tooth now and then. Whether she chooses to unwrap them and share them for dessert or tuck them away for nibbling by herself, it's a sweet gift.
3. Mulling spices. 'Tis the season for mulling wine and cider. A fancy little jar of mulling spices is a great winter gift, either with a bottle of wine or by itself.
4. Bread and oil. Bring a loaf of crusty bread and dipping oil. This gift is almost too tempting to tuck away in the cupboards and your hostess will probably put it out on the table, but don't judge if she stashes it away. (I'd be more likely to save the bread and oil for my own snacking and share the chocolates.)
5. Spirits. If you know your hostess is a fan of cocktails and spirits (and which ones), buy a bottle of her favorite. It never hurts to have an extra bottle of whiskey, gin, or rum on the bar cart for guests or for one's self.
6. Coffee. Know your hostess is a caffeine fiend? Grab a bag of freshly ground local coffee. Skip the coffee mug. While it may seem like a great idea, your java lover friend probably has more than few. If anything, throw in a bottle of flavored syrup.
7. Beer. If your hostess is a craft beer lover, then you're in luck. They're the easiest to buy for. Grab a six-pack of their favorite brew or hit up a local brewery for a growler-full fresh off the tap. Cheers!
8. Candle. A candle is a great consumable gift if you want to opt out of the food and drink variety. Choose a widely-enjoyed scent in a simple container – something they won't feel too guilty about throwing away when the candle's gone, but pretty enough to be kept if your hostess is a savvy DIYer or re-user. Places like Target, TJ Maxx, and Homegoods should be your one-stop shop for gorgeous candles without the hefty price tag.
9. Soap. Not just any soap, but some artisan handmade soap makes a lovely gift – especially if it comes in an especially pretty wrapping or box. Keep the scent simple and spring for all natural and goats milk soaps if you can.
10. Tea. If your hostess likes tea, surprise her with a box of her favorite or a local specialty option. The best part is that tea often comes in such lovely packaging and boxes that it's unlikely you'll have to wrap it.
What's your go-to gift when buying something for your hostess? Or what's your favorite hostess gift that you've received?