The holiday season is almost here, and that means invitations to holiday parties are about to start rolling in. That also means it’s time to start thinking about what gift you want to get the host or hostess of each event you’ll be attending. Bringing a thoughtful gift isn’t some outdated old-school tradition; it’s a way to show the host you appreciate their effort planning and throwing the get-together.
So, how do you give the perfect host gift? There really is an art to it.
First, think about the type of event you’re going to. Is it a small, casual gathering of friends or a formal party with co-workers? The gift—and its presentation—changes depending on the situation. With the former, handmade soap or a candle of a scent they love shows you put thought into your decision. And, since it’s a laid-back event, don’t feel like you need to wrap the present (you can always add a bow if you want to jazz it up).
If you’re attending a more formal event, you’ll want to elevate your gift and its presentation. A monogrammed cheese board demonstrates forethought (since you clearly didn’t run out to grab it right before the party), and it’s something the host can use next time they throw a party. Given the upscale nature of this type of event, you’ll want to wrap the present you’re giving; it’s a simple step that lets the host know you put time into their gift.
Another factor to keep in mind: How well do you know the host? Assuming it’s a good friend or family member, you can tailor the gift to their interests. Do they like to cook? Get them artisan sauces or jams for the next time they’re in the kitchen. Is the host a cocktail connoisseur? Consider a gift box with everything they need to make their favorite drink. For that friend who always spends their weekends at a coffee shop, a DIY cold brew kit might be exactly what they need to unwind the following weekend. If you’re shopping for a new acquaintance, though, you’d be better off with a gift that’s a little less personalized but with broader appeal. Think a wine caddy, a lotion gift set, or a serving bowl.
To master the art of the host gift, there are a few more considerations. Make sure you greet the host before giving them the gift. That way they know you’re genuinely excited to see them. Don’t make a big deal out of the act of giving the host your gift. Be subtle so you don’t make guests who may not have brought something uncomfortable. And, don’t expect the host to open the gift in front of you. They have a lot to do — they are hosting a party after all. They’ll see your awesome gift at the end of the night when everyone’s gone home and they have a few moments to breathe.
Image courtesy of Hudson & Lee Honey Simple Syrup.