Four friends watching TV with Philips lighting.

As etiquette suggests, you should never show up to someone’s house empty handed, but always bring a gift. The go-to gifts might include a bottle of wine, box of chocolates, or a food item to contribute to the menu, like dessert. It isn’t about how much you spend but the thoughtfulness of the contribution. Someone is hosting you in their home, after all, and likely putting a lot of work into it. So, a small gesture can go a long way.

Now comes the question: what gift can you get for a hostess? Here, we cover several great gift options in various price points, including ones that won’t cost any money at all minus some materials, and your investment of time.

wine aerator with two glasses of wine.

Gifts for the hostess under $100

If you’re looking for something nice for a big event someone is hosting at their home, perhaps even a housewarming party, consider these useful gifts.

Wine aerator

I have been using a wine aerator for the last year and it works beautifully to help aerate wine quickly so you can serve it to guests with the perfect flavours and scents instead of having to let the wine breathe before pouring glasses. Look for one with a filter screen that helps prevent bits of cork from getting into the wine along with a no-drip design and dishwasher-safe parts. It’s likely something they don’t have and probably never thought of buying for themselves.

Cocktail shaker set in gold

Cocktail shaker set

There are cocktail shaker sets for under $50 as well, but if they love serving mixed drinks, you can go all out and get them an elegant bartender kit. It will come in handy in their home bar for those parties when cocktails are part of the mix. These typically come with everything they’d need to bring out their inner mixologist, including a martini shaker, spoon, strainer, tongs, corkscrew, and more. Some even come with a stand for storing everything neatly in the home bar, and even a gift box so all you need to do is add a card.

Cake stand

Cake stand

Perfect for afternoon tea parties, a two-tiered cake stand will help them showcase the delicious pastries they spent all day baking in a beautiful way. Place mini scones on top, mini muffins and cupcakes on the bottom. Or they can use it to display finger sandwiches, pigs in a blanket, and deviled eggs. Naturally, the stand can also be used to hold slices of a round cake. Position pieces around the holder in the middle so guests can easily grab one and dive right in.

Gifts for the hostess under $50

You can find decent gifts for under $50 that the hostess will appreciate and pull out at their next gathering.

Whiskey tumbler with a drink, ice, and lemon peels

A set of glasses

Barware is a great option as a gift for a hostess, especially one who hosts often and has the space to store extras. If you have observed the types of glasses they have, you can get them something to complement it. It might be a set of shot glasses with funny sayings on them, a set of wine glasses different from the ones they have (maybe stemless for more casual gatherings), beer steins, or whiskey tumblers. Go with what you think they don’t yet have or what you can never have enough of. As long as they have the room, they’ll love having a spare set to pull out when the guest list expands, or to replace broken ones.

Charcuterie board filled with meat, cheese, fruit

Charcuterie/serving board

A wooden serving board is a great gift for a hostess. They can use this to serve appetizers in a gorgeous presentation, from deli meats, cheese, and fruits to crispy spring rolls and chicken wings. There’s a new trend of charcuterie board parties where everyone brings their own board filled with items that fit a different theme. It might be cookies, nachos with various types of dips, pita bread with a selection of hummus flavours, make you own mini pizzas – the possibilities are endless. Let the imagination go wild! After gifting this to them, make sure to invite them to your next charcuterie board night and see what goodies they fill it with.

essential oils diffuser

Essential oils diffuser

There are also great home décor items under $50 that would be perfect for the hostess, like an essential oils diffuser that can fill the home with delicious smells using cool, scented mist, setting the tone for a low-key dinner party or book reading club. They’ll love being able to use it for their own quiet reading time or rest days at home.

Board games

Friends playing Taboo board game

Board games are always a hit at parties, so consider getting the hostess on your list a fun one they might not already have. You can go with a classic yet always popular party game like Taboo that guests of all ages can enjoy and play in teams. Maybe you want something a bit more laid back for smaller groups like Azul. When my friends and I were in our 20s, we got together almost every Sunday night to play Risk and it was always a blast. Another game that is a hit among my own friends and family members (adults only) is Cards Against Humanity (there is a cleaner Family Edition option that kids can play, too.). See some more great board game ideas for holiday parties and get help deciding which one would be best from our board games buying guide.

Thoughtful gifts for the hostess you can make on a dime

It isn’t necessary to spend any money at all. If you’re on a tight budget, you can still show a hostess your appreciation in a thoughtful way.

Homemade gifts

holiday wreath

A heartfelt card is always appreciated. Take the time to write something sweet inside that will make them want to hold onto the card and read it again and again when they’re feeling down.

You could also make them something, like a wreath or mock flower arrangement. Use common household items and some arts and crafts materials you might already have at home (even in your own backyard!) There are affordable sets you can buy to keep on hand for the kids to use as well. Pinterest is a great source of ideas, but you can find plenty of creative videos on how to make things like wreaths, flower arrangements, and other interesting items on sites like YouTube and TikTok as well.

It could be as simple as a drawing you have sketched from a photo of them or a painting you made after taking a few classes. Get a basic photo frame and you have a wonderfully personal gift. They’ll tear up knowing how much time you put into it.

Homemade food gifts

Mason Jars with homemade punch.

Food gifts are always appreciated, especially for a large gathering where the items will be gobbled up. It’s always a good idea to ask the hostess what they need: they don’t want to end up with 10 different desserts and no appetizers or salad, for example. (Yes, it has happened to me before!)

Bake and decorate a set of festive cookies, box them up with a ribbon, you have a wonderfully personal gift. Use a small appliance like an Instant Pot to make homemade jam, butterscotch, or pasta sauce. Bottle it up (you can find affordable sets of Mason jars or even wash, sterilize, and re-use ones) and gift this to the host. Pressed for time? Use a Mason jar and fill it with a selection of goodies, like nuts, chocolate chips, broken up pretzels, and dried fruits as a homemade trail mix. All you need is a tiny bit of ribbon and a gift tag and your gift will turn heads yet won’t cost a fortune.

Re-gift something

Rack with bottles of wine

Re-gifting is generally frowned upon but it is becoming more social accepted given that it reduces waste and is good for the environment (and your wallet). If you were given something you’ll never use, there’s no harm in passing it on to someone else you know will use it. Just be mindful of regifting something in front of the person that gave it to you in the first place, especially if it’s something distinct that they’ll instantly spot.

But if it’s something like a bottle of wine you know you won’t drink (it’s Chardonnay while you like red wine, for example), feel free to hand it over to someone else. Have five bottles of champagne in your wine fridge you’re never going to drink? Take it to a gathering where you know the bottle will be emptied in no time for an after-dinner toast.

Items like hand soaps are always a hit as well, especially for a powder room or guest bathroom that gets used often during gatherings. If you don’t entertain as often as them and have more sets than you’ll be able to use in the next year, consider re-gifting one.

Find the best gift for your favourite host

Whether you’re visiting a friend you see often or going to their home for the first time, you always want to come with something in hand. You might get an expensive gift if it’s a housewarming or a special event. For smaller gatherings, or for someone you visit often, a thoughtful, personal gift will mean the world. And you don’t have to empty your wallet to get it.

Check out plenty more gift ideas in for the hostess at every price point at Best Buy Online.

Best Buy Gift Guide
I am a tech expert and journalist with 17+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism. I write for a number of technology, business, parenting, family, and lifestyle Websites, blogs, and magazines. A self-professed lover of tech, I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV junkie, and proud mother to an 8-year-old son.

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