When it comes to giving a host a gift, etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore has sound advice we should all follow ahead of brainstorming, which almost always leads to a last-minute run to the liquor store. “The best host or hostess gift is tailored to their personality,” she shares. “Ask yourself: What would this person like and use as well?”
Meet the Experts
Jacqueline Whitmore is America's leading etiquette expert.
In short, it’s less about what you would personally want to display in your newly minted home, or which bottle of wine you think everyone at a house-warming party would enjoy. With help from Whitmore, we curated a collection of thoughtful (and cute!) gift ideas that show your gratitude for their hospitality — and their friendship.
Homemade Cupcakes in a Tin Box
Baking their favorite dessert is always welcome. “It’s the thought behind the gift that’s important,” says Whitmore of gifting your host or hostess something homemade. “It’s something that comes from the heart.” Simply add the confection to a tin box, tie a ribbon around it, and sweeten their day.
Hand-Embroidered Cocktail Napkins
“If the host is a cook for example, they might like spices or they might like something in their kitchen, like decorative kitchen towels or cocktail napkins,” says Whitmore, citing Lettermade, a woman-owned business that crafts conversation-starter cocktail napkins guaranteed to wow your host.
“[Something custom] is somewhat of a luxury item,” shares Whitmore. “You can tailor it to the person’s personality.” We especially like this personalized, hand-poured candle, which provides customers with the unique opportunity to write a 100-character message that appears on the candle label.
Petite Sunset Orchid
Still stumped? Flowers — specifically, orchids — are always a good idea, according to Whitmore: “It’s something elegant but still cost-effective.”
Personalized Beer Labels
“I’m not always in favor of bringing alcohol unless of course you know that person likes it and will drink it,” she says. “That is a gift — it’s not to be opened or shared with you.” And if they are fans of beer, brew up something extra special with a customized can label that includes their image and nickname.
At-Home Pottery Kit
“If they are into a hobby, like something that adds to their collection — those are the kinds of gifts I like to give,” shares Whitmore. If they’re into DIY and pottery, look no further than this kit, which comes with everything they’d need to create succulent plant pots, vases, candle holders, and more — from the comfort of their home.
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