Design

8 Great Gifts for Hosts

Case Study House in Los Angeles

Last year, our friend Sarah and her family invited another family for Friday dinner. Not long after they had clinked their glasses, my friend realized that there had been a misunderstanding: her guests thought they were staying all weekend. How hilarious/horrifying is that? She couldn’t figure out how to point out the mistake, so she ended up hosting the family of four for the next two days. But even the most epic mishaps make good stories, right? :)

So, when it comes to being a good houseguest, what are your go-to host gifts? Here are eight ideas:

10 Best Gifts for Hosts

10 Best Gifts for Hosts

A Japanese linen apron with criss-cross straps, or a bouquet of gourmet salami.

10 Best Gifts for Hosts

10 Best Gifts for Hosts

A puzzle to do together that weekend, or pink mugs for morning coffee.

10 Best Gifts for Hosts

10 Best Gifts for Hosts

A palo santo bundle to make their house smell woodsy, or delicious goat milk caramels.

10 Best Gifts for Hosts

10 Best Gifts for Hosts

Funny head massagers that give your whole body chills, or ingredients for summer cocktails, ’nuff said.

Thoughts? What gifts do you usually bring? I also love Jenny’s argument for olive oil!

P.S. The #1 item you need for house guests.

(Photo of L.A. Case Study House by Julius Shulman, Time Magazine.)

  1. Heather says...

    Could you do a post on gift suggestions for people who live in small apartments? I would love that! The gift ideas here are always so creative! My brother lives in a tiny NY apartment, and complains about not having room for presents. Because of his schedule, it’s also hard to gift experiences (like concert tickets, etc.) I normally end up giving gift cards, which can feel a bit monotonous and impersonal. Any suggestions? Thanks for such a wonderful and inspiring site!

  2. anna maria says...

    I love making and bringing a big batch of Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Granola from her cookbook Super Natural Everyday – it’s delicious, everyone loves it – for breakfast with yogurt, for snacking during the weekend, etc.

  3. Emily Levitt says...

    I love that you mentioned Puzzles!!! I work for a toy company and we recently have been making some super rad puzzles for adults. The best par is we have to test them in the office, which means putting together 500 and 1008 piece puzzles in between work emails. I think I am getting addicted! Also, there is a ton of articles recently about how puzzles are a great way to de-stress and clear your mind.

    And it would be joy to drink out of those pink mugs every morning!!
    (+ if you’re interested in some cool puzzles–> http://shop.eeboo.com/k/search?q=1008)

  4. Brilliant ideas! Using these the next time I stay over at a friends house :)
    That Goan Girl
    Jade

  5. Lo says...

    The best gifts are always the most unexpected – a bottle of wine they’ve saved from a recent trip abroad, a pack of cards that are all bent and loved by the end of the night, the offer to do the dishes!

    Lo
    http://www.themixtures.com

  6. Samantha Zimmerman says...

    I always bring something consumable from my area. Local coffee beans, bagels, ect.
    I would NOT want someone to buy my lotion/soap/fragrance. I have super sensitive skin and have to be very careful about what I put on my skin.
    I am also very particular about my candles…..
    Stick with food :)

  7. Andrea says...

    For Easter, a friend brought a box of Godiva truffles. We put it out with dessert and people loved them. We also enjoyed the remainder for the next week. I think the best hostess gifts are REALLY GOOD edible gifts, which is actually hard in real life! I’ve thrown away my share of stuff that was just meh.

  8. Sasha says...

    I love the bringing small gifts for children idea. Homemade play dough is always a big hit. I like the kool aid packet recipe, just whatever flavor you pick, salt, flour, boiling water. It’s super quick and easy to make, and way nicer than store bought. It’ll keep kiddos busy so the grown ups can catch up. You could always add some fun cookie cutters and a kid size rolling pin too.

  9. Allison says...

    A similar thing happened to us a couple of weeks ago except we were the offenders. I had accidentally texted my friend that we were coming in on a Friday night instead of Thursday like we had planned. I called her at the gate to her community at 11:30 at night because she hadn’t called ahead to let them know we’d be coming. I felt terrible but most of all I was just super impressed that her house was so clean and they had tons of good food in the fridge. You always think people do those kinds of things especially for guests but I guess that’s just how she actually lives her life. And with 3 kids under 4, too!

    • Celeste Warf says...

      Wow! I’m impressed with your friend! I have two kids, only one under 4 and my house is not guest ready at all…

  10. K says...

    If I’m visiting an out-of-town host (for example, one of my very best friends lives in Chicago and I try to make it out to see her every few years), I bring a gift specific to where I live. I live at the Jersey Shore so I usually go with a box of yummy assorted salt water taffy and a pretty candy dish. I put a hand-made label on it that says “from my home to yours, thanks for having me.”

  11. Jo says...

    As a kid (growing up in India), guests usually brought us gifts – desserts, a toy, chocolates etc, and it was a highlight of their arrival.
    I remember that and always take something for the hosts’ kids – sometimes even just one ferro rocher. (My husband gets embarrassed when I give out *1* chocolate, but the kids are always thrilled. Plus I am not loading them with sugar).
    If its an overnight stay, I take a small toy and make sure to get 1 for my kid too. And I give them out at the same time. That way, there is no fighting and the kids are also engaged with the new toy and don’t bother the adults :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      such great tips, jo! love the toy idea, and i agree that kids are happy with even the tiniest treats (my boys used to get two M&Ms for dessert every night and they would look forward to it with huge anticipation;) thank you!

  12. Great list! I love giving kitchen linens or tea towerls, you can never have too many of those :)

  13. LOR says...

    Normally people just bring wine, which I love. But once, I had a friend bring over a set of those velvet lined hangers along with a soap set – a fancy soap…L’occitane. I actually took the soap to work to use and people loved it. I thought the hangers were an odd gift, but man, I sure do use them. So in the end, not an odd gift after all!

  14. Lindsey says...

    Can you tell us a little more about the Palo Santo bundle? How do you use it/ burn it? Like you do with sage? Halp.

  15. Aly says...

    I have a theory! Were the guests shabbat observant Jews? We don’t drive or take the subway from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday – if we were invited to a Friday night dinner a few towns over we would need to stay over for 24 hours (or even for 2 nights when sundown comes after our kids’ bedtime)! We would always ask in advance, though ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that would totally make sense! i remember in the hospital where i gave birth to both boys there was an elevator that just went up and down to all the floors without needing to push buttons — in case observant jewish mothers came to give birth. but in this case it was a simple mixup between the two families :) thank you, aly! xoxo

    • I was thinking the same thing Aly, maybe it was a Shabbat mix up! Like you said, as Orthodox Jews we are used to hosting people for 24 hours. When we are hosted, I usually bring wine, a homemade cake or easy, vegan cookies like these Moroccan Halva Cookies (https://modestjerusalem.com/2017/04/28/easy-moroccan-halva-cookies-for-shabbat-vegan-and-no-bake/) and toys for the kids.

      Joanna, I didn’t know hospitals in NY had Shabbat Elevators! I thought that was only here in Israel, or in specific buildings in NY’s Upper West Side. When I lived in NYC it was in Alphabet City, so there were almost only walk ups.

      Nice gifts ideas in general.

  16. The best host gift I’ve ever been given was a jar of local honey and a really thoughtful thank you card. The honey was delicious, sure. But I keep the card on my fridge to remind myself of the ways I’m helpful to others and to go above and beyond in expressing my gratitude to others.

  17. I don’t know how on earth I’ll be able to finish my day without knowing how on earth someone didn’t know she invited people to stay the whole weekend…
    I know miscommunication happens but howwww??? :D

  18. Lizzie says...

    Fun items from Trader Joe’s have been a hit for our hosts in Canada. Since there’s no TJ’s north of the border (except that one pirate TJ’s in Vancouver?) I’ll give something like cookie butter that’s hard to find elsewhere. Though that could quickly become a full-blown smuggling operation….

  19. Bobbekay says...

    I am a 67 year old,grandmother, retired professional, nature loving reader of your blog. I find 99% of your posts to be relevant, thought provoking and life enhancing. Thank you and I look forward to reading and seeing your posts and beautiful visuals.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is so nice of you to say, bobbekay! thank you :)

  20. OH my goodness! What a funny mishap! It is so nice that the friend went with it and hosted the family all weekend :) Also, those pink mugs are adorable! Will keep them in mind for gifts (and perhaps a gift for myself!) :)

  21. Char says...

    These are lovely items, but I agree with the other commenters who said none of these really seem like things I would give to my host unless it was their birthday or something. I tend to give edible, homemade host gifts, like fresh bread, cookies or cookie dough that they can bake later on, jam or jelly, or spice blends. Storebought items that I like to gift are fancy booze, good quality dark chocolate, and flowers.
    My husband’s family also seems to have a tradition of giving the hostess packages of nice disposable napkins. I used to think was a funny thing to give/receive, but they aren’t something I’d think to purchase and are really nice to have on hand for hosting a large crowd, when you want something less casual than a roll of paper towels, but the linen ones aren’t really appropriate.

  22. Emily says...

    My go-to is homemade granola, a bar of my favorite locally made soap all wrapped in a dish towel with twine. I have yet to find someone who’s disappointed by it.

    Also… That story!!!! I love it!!

  23. Sasha says...

    We have a back yard flock of hens, a dozen big beautiful fresh eggs are a big hit for a gift. Can be used up and they’re pretty too, and they seem like a treat when you don’t have them every day.

    • I would absolutely love fresh eggs for a gift!! What a great idea. My mom lives in the country where she can get farm fresh organic and free range eggs and brings them. So yummy!

    • Emily says...

      My friends who lived on a hobby farm used to always bring us fresh eggs or even a whole, processed chicken from their flock when they came to visit us in the city. It was amazing.

  24. Em says...

    My go-to is a bottle of wine. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and everyone loves it. I’d like to be the type of person who picks out a unique gift or bakes a loaf of bread, but I can never make it happen. Ah well, maybe in another life :)

  25. Lauren E. says...

    I wish I could send my husband this list and subtly mention the salami bouquet… :)

  26. Booze. Easy enough to pick up on your way there and something everyone can enjoy. Or, if I have time, something I baked, like a coffee cake or cookies or something that travels well. Also, candles. I don’t generally love receiving random objects from people as I like to keep my home clutter-free, so I tend to operate in the same way living in a place where most people have tiny apartments and not a ton of room for extra stuff.

  27. shannon says...

    As much as I love round-ups of pretty things, when I read these lists I can’t help but wonder who actually takes items like this as hostess gifts. I either make something (either baked goods or something I made at the sewing machine like coasters) or take cut flowers, but I would not consider things like these as hostess gifts.

    We may be in the minority, but we prefer for our guests to not bring anything. We like to treat and take care of our guests from start to finish and don’t want them to feel obligated to contribute to the meal or bring a gift. We love gift-giving in general and thinking of unique presents for Christmas, birthdays, etc. but the hostess gift tradition is not one that we enjoy.

    • Steph says...

      Hi Shannon – I see where you’re coming from with not wanting guests to bring stuff, but I would feel so weird NOT bringing something with me! I guess it’s all personal preference :)

    • Lizzie says...

      I’m with Steph–I’d feel like a monster showing up empty-handed to someone’s home. But Shannon has a point too. One way we finesse this is to bring small gifts for our hosts’ kids instead. Nothing crazy: stickers, coloring books, Silly Putty, etc. Adults can be weird about accepting gifts, but the kids are always thrilled, and that’s a nice icebreaker for the visit as well.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a nice approach, lizzie!

  28. Kait says...

    I’m learning a lot about the no-no’s of gift giving from my Chinese MIL. My Chinese American husband LOVES knives (is into all things camping, cooking, and being the go-to handyman with a pocket knife to open any and all Amazon boxes). I once gifted him a knife he really wanted and my MIL was horrified. Apparently, in Chinese culture, you do not gift knives because it represents severing a relationship. Bad luck! Instead, we gift a lot of food, baked goods, red envelopes with money, and plants (which cleanse the air and help “grow” money!). It’s so fascinating how we all gift so differently across the world. Food seems to be universal, though!

    • Sayonada Thomas says...

      My mom believes this, too! (But she’s not Japanese.) She’s found a loophole, though: When you give a knife/scissors, you put a penny in the card. Then the person gives you the penny back. So, the person is “paying” you thus, it’s not a gift!

      Now, my sister and I do the same. Better safe than sorry!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, this is fascinating! love hearing this.

    • This reminds me of the time I bought my boyfriend a watch for his birthday and my friends were horrified. Apparently gifting a watch means its “time” to break up! I had never heard this before, but I’ve been married to that boyfriend for almost ten years now despite having gifted each other watches several times!

    • Oh my goodness I can relate! My husband is Chinese and actually gifted me shoes once. His mother was horrified and said that if he gifts me shoes, that means I’m going to run away! He was really upset about it all day and ended up requesting that I give him a penny to prevent that from happening :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this thread is so fascinating!

    • Inga says...

      My mom would not let to give knives (bad luck), socks (apparently it affects only boyfriends/girlfriends and husbands/wives), empty wallets (have no idea why, but the wallet should have at least one cent in it).
      And we live far away from China – Latvia, Northern Europe :D

  29. Sally G says...

    Most of the time I bring wine. Just because it’s easiest and I usually have a bottle around. With two little ones, I dont have a strong hostess gift repertoire at the moment.

    I remember reading once about gifting something homemade for breakfast if you are attending a party/dinner and I’ve always liked that idea. Not having to think about breakfast the next morning is lovely as a host. Usually I make muffins of some sort. But a dozen bagels and fancy cream cheese is a fave, too.

    • Celeste says...

      Breakfast items! Genius.

    • Noreen says...

      YES! We do a weekend at a friend’s lake house every summer. I bring all the supplies and cook breakfast for everyone the last morning as a little “thank you”. And we try to bring extra coffee to leave at the house.

  30. I’m visiting a friend this weekend and she said she doesn’t want anything. Of course that’s not allowed ;) I can’t show up empty handed.
    I went on her pinterest board and found one of the recipes she pinned and will make it and bring it over {strawberry/rhubarb crisp bars}…if I don’t eat them all first on the train.

    http://www.mangotomato.com

    • That is such a good idea!!

    • Sasha says...

      So thoughtful, this is a great idea. I guarantee those bars will be delightful!

    • Lizzie says...

      Pinterest-stalking: genius!

    • Laura says...

      Dang, Olga! That has other level good!

  31. And I think we need more info on the weekend story, please!

  32. Have to admit I’ve never seen the bouquet of salami. I would love getting that as a hostess:) Great and fun alternatives to wine or flowers. I love things that can be used up or consumed… never like creating a storage need.

  33. Deb says...

    I wish salad *was* your president, sigh.

    • Rachel says...

      hahaha yes. so true.

  34. I love the story! Sometimes these casual things happen to be the best stories. It kinda forces you to relax and just go with it and that’s when magic happens, don’t you agree? I miss causal guests like my parents had when I was little …

  35. Anna Cavallini says...

    Hi Jo,
    I really enjoy your website. I just wanted to let you know the advertising seems a little off – I have a large add for ‘RussianBrides.com’ next to this morning’s article! I’m visiting the site from Paris, in case that makes a differences to which ads pop up…
    Just wanted to let you know. Thanks for all the inspiring content
    Anna xx

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, thank you! i’ll look into this right away.

  36. Jen says...

    On a recent 3-night stay with friends we said we would take care of the aperitifs. Brought a bottle for each evening and an assortment of salty treats (homemade tapenade, radishes, crackers, spicy nuts…) Also brought a jar of homemade granola for breakfast – the NYTimes olive oil granola recipe was a hit.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s such a sweet approach, jen.

    • M says...

      Please come visit, lol.

      Also the salami bouquet won my heart. Everyone is getting one!

  37. Gabriella says...

    I was wondering… is it only a thing to bring a hostess gift for overnight stays in the US? In Europe (Austria) you pretty much bring something anytime you visit for dinner/breakfast/coffee+cake. Favourites are cut flowers, potted herbs, bottle of wine, or anything – from cute bowls to a nice tea towel – that you wouldn’t usually splurge on yourself. I’d say the average to spend for a dinner invite is between 5-10€, though it depends on whether it’s a super casual invite or something more festive.

    • I think it should be Universal! I grew up in Russia and learned that’s it’s rude to show up at someone’s house empty handed. Alas, in the US that’s not the common practice. I’ve had a guy show up to dinner date at my place without even a bottle of wine :/

    • Meaghan says...

      I’m in New York. If I go to someone’s home for any length of time I bring something. Only exceptions are my parents and my brothers (but if I’m going for dinner or overnight I still bring something to them too.)

    • Stacy says...

      I love this, Gabriella! I live in the states but bring something whenever I visit someone’s home. I have a drawer with little curated gifts that I’ve chosen for a wide array of people and I love walking in the door with something special. It doesn’t take much for the host to feel special and appreciated. I think I’m a bit old fashioned though as I also follow up with hand written thank you cards.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good question! we always bring something when we go to someone’s house for dinner or drinks — usually a bottle of wine or two. for overnight stays, we’ll bring an actual gift and/or pay for dinner out while we’re there.

    • I live in Texas and the rule is to never show up at someone’s house empty handed! It doesn’t always have to be a gift…for example if someone is making dinner I might bring a salad, or if it’s a pool party popsicles and a six pack of beer. It’s not a fancy rule, but it is important to contribute!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      party popsicles sound fun :)

  38. Kelly says...

    I recently heard a podcast on not giving gifts that clutter your home, I think this applies especially to hostess gifts! Safest best is to give something consumable…food, wine, bath salts, etc! I definitely don’t need more coffee mugs or
    Kitchen/cocktail books…

    • Caitlyn says...

      YES to this! This is my entire philosophy on gift giving! Not only do I not need more mugs/books… if I do… I want to pick them out. Whereas, I’ll happily consume lotion, candles, coffee, etc. someone else chose – and I’ll enjoy for a brief time breaking out of my typical flavors, scents, etc.

    • Sasha says...

      Yes to things that can be used up. Nice soap, pretty unscented candles, flowers, homemade granola or cookies, something from your garden, nice tea or coffee, jar of local honey or maple syrup. Great bread from you or a bakery.

      My daughter is on her way home right now, I better send her my list ;)

  39. Jessica says...

    Whenever I am at a nice store with beautiful gifts I stock up-I keep a bag in my closet with tons of hostess gifts so that when the occasion arises I don’t have to scramble for a gift-I just go to my stash.

    • Kate says...

      I do this same thing with cards, Jessica! I always have a birthday card, good luck, get well, etc. card on hand for those times when I *oops* forgot a special occasion!

  40. Jen says...

    I love when overnighters bring coffee beans for the mornings and wine for the evenings. I especially love when out of town guests bring locally made products from their town/state.

  41. Charlotte K says...

    I LOVE that story.

  42. Jessica says...

    I’d love to see a post on what you give for wedding gifts…?!

  43. Jessica says...

    I’d love to see a post on what you give for wedding gifts – I always wonder what others do, how to strategize when buying off of a registry, and how much to spend…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good question! i typically spend $200 from the registry — but i think that might be higher than usual because of living in NYC? i’m really curious what others do!

    • Allegra says...

      In our circle of friends, it’s been customary to spend 25-50 USD per person (so twice that if you’re a couple) for a wedding gift. Granted, I’m not in New York, but that 200 that Joanna mentions… yikes!

    • L says...

      When I got married last year, we had a whole range of approaches to the gifts. We’d been living together for a while in a little apartment so we had a registry but didn’t have a ton of stuff on it. We had a group of friends go in together for one of the more expensive items on the registry, we had friends bundle up some of the cheaper items, and we had a lot of people who just gave us checks, ranging anywhere from $25-350 depending on their financial situation. Most gifts were probably in the $100-200 range. We only had a few people give gifts that weren’t on the registry and they were all really thoughtful, which is lucky. After the wedding, we had so many people asking about weird gifts and everyone was surprised that we had over 100 guests at our wedding without someone giving us an ugly vase that we really don’t want.

    • JenMarie says...

      We usually spend around $150 on a gift. When I was younger, I thought buying off a registry was boring so I would pick out something unique. Now I realize that the kindest route is to give something you KNOW the couple likes. Not everyone has my taste in hand-thrown serving bowls.
      Worst registry story, though: a friend of mine got married and invited some cousins she rarely saw, who invited a whole other group of more distant cousins. This complicated their small wedding and stretched their budget and then, to top it all off, the entire group chipped in to buy (off the registry)… one potholder!!

    • Sasha says...

      Where I’m from in Toronto, people usually only buy stuff from the registry for the bridal shower. At weddings, its common to give cash. For my own wedding, we only received money and I have only given cash as well. We grew up with the notion that for the wedding gift, we want to cover the cost of the plate and give a little bit extra to help the couple on their special day. That typically runs $100 and up per person, but depending on how close we are to the couple, we usually give more. The only exception was for my sister, I ended up buying her an armoire that I knew she had her eye on. She still has it to this day 12+ years later.

  44. JessicaD says...

    I’ve been giving a nicely boxed triple package of Maldon salts as a host gift lately (regular flakes, smoked, and peppercorns) (http://amzn.to/2rivffq). If we’re going to a dinner party, I will bring just that; if we’re going to something nicer/longer, I’ll package it with fresh bread, olive oil, and cheese. Our friends have loved it!

    • Heather says...

      What a great idea! Fancy salt is something I always love to look at when I’m out shopping, but usually can’t justify buying for myself. I love the idea of packing up a gift basket for a longer stay (especially the cheese). It sounds like you know a couple of very lucky hosts! :)

  45. G says...

    I love the idea of olive oil as a host or hostess gift- I don’t know if it’s just because I’m Greek, but wow- what a useful gift :)

  46. Christine Baerg says...

    This is so timely. When we went to South Africa, we brought ‘Canadian’ gifts for our hosts. We’re off to Ireland on Friday, staying in a few B&Bs and I hope to bring a small Canadian token.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so sweet, christine!

    • Aneesa says...

      My mom and dad helped a canadian couple stranded in Kruger National Park. We then received lovely Canadian coasters with a note. Still have it.

  47. Rachel says...

    Consumables only, please. Either as a recipient or as a giver.

    Okay, there is one exception. Heath Ceramics bud vases. They are simple and beautiful.

  48. We’ve been bringing everyone goat brie! It’s been a huge hit every time! So creamy and tasty, and many people haven’t tried it before, so it’s a conversation starter and a novelty.
    (I’ve also given that whale knife to several people, but for more special occasions…it seems a bit pricy as a hostess gift, although, not if I was staying the weekend)!

  49. Heather says...

    When my boyfriend and I went to stay with his mom last month I brought some homemade pecan-ganache brownies. She’s moving so I didn’t want to give her any extra *stuff* for to worry about, but still wanted to bring a something a little decadent and elegant for her to enjoy. When I go to someone’s home I love to bring a little luxury that they might really enjoy, but wouldn’t necessarily think to buy for themselves, just like the caramels or apron on this list. I also love the suggestions for useful everyday items like those sweet pink mugs – whenever I use gifts like that from past houseguests it always reminds me of the wonderful memories we’ve made during those visits!

  50. I think food is always the best bet! Baking a nice pie or a cake is an amazing way to say both ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you’. My family always speaks through food, and it’s one of my favorite traditions

    xx

    • E says...

      Totally agree! Once had a bf tell me not to bake a pie and bring it to his parents’ home because his mom took a lot of pride in being the cook of the family. Confusing to me as i was trying to be thoughtful!

  51. Katie Larissa says...

    I think we need more info on the weekend story, please! ?

    • Polly Hitchcock Sage says...

      I agree! Can you imagine???What a nightmare!

  52. Sarah says...

    I read somewhere that a package of macaroons is the new trendy host/hostess gift. I’m ok with it :)

  53. Colleen Wenos says...

    Flowers, wine, or a nice soy candle from the store in our downtown. I hope this tradition never dies.

  54. Cynthia says...

    We always rented a beach house on the ocean for one week in the summer and often invited another family to stay with us for a day or two. The best thing we ever received was an entire crate of perfectly ripe peaches from the farmer’s market. I will never forget all of us dripping with juice on the deck facing the ocean and feeling free to eat as many as we wanted!

  55. polyana says...

    We invited some friends over for dinner last year around my birthday, and one of the couples who came, brought me a beautiful mint plant in a bright yellow tin pot (I love plants, and bright things), a box of strawberries, an infuser water bottle, and a recipe for detox water using the mint and strawberries. They said since I work from home, they thought the bottle would be useful and fun!

    It was perfect – we used the mint in cocktails that night, and the bottle is my day to day bottle for water, making me think of my sweet friends nearly every day. (I wasn’t able to maintain the plant, but planted some aloe vera in the same cachepot which looks lolvely as well).

    It also made me want to get more creative with my host gifts – usually we just bring wine! Thanks for this list!

  56. Anna Kleinfeld says...

    Omg that story!!!! Nightmare! Alol-ing at work.

  57. omg, that story from your friend! Hahaha! Was it a good weekend at least??
    I’m always the one hosting so things my friends bring that I love are fresh flowers from their garden (just a very small bouquet in a mason jar but so sweet) & drinks ’cause I don’t drink much and thus out of touch with what’s cool =p

  58. Love this list!! Such unique and useful ideas, and the whale knife is perfect for my sister’s upcoming birthday! Shameless plug here, but I make concrete cones that are such a fun way to hold and display rings at your bedside or by the sink. I’ve given them as hostess gifts too : ) Here’s the link if you’d like to see! http://www.mayhewn.com

  59. Danielle says...

    Love the olive oil idea- I would be so happy if someone gave me that instead of wine!

    I always give a candle from Anthropologie and I’ve yet to meet anyone who dislikes the Volcano scent. They come in beautiful jars which become great tchotchke pots after!!

    As an alternative I also like giving luxury ‘basics’- things you wouldn’t necessarily buy yourself but you want anyway. Case in point: Aesop hand soap. I received this once and whoa game changer

    • Sarah says...

      I would love it if someone gave me that candle! It’s so amazing but I feel silly spending that much to buy it for myself.

  60. That story! That’s pretty much my worst nightmare. I really don’t like houseguests even when I know they are staying!

    • Rebecca says...

      Me too! I always wonder why I dislike houseguests so much. I’m pretty introverted, so that’s probably a big part of it. It stinks because my husband LOVES having people stay over. I don’t like being a houseguest either. I’d so much rather stay in a hotel.

    • MBH says...

      SAME. even when they are really nice people it drives me nuts when they are in my space. i feel really badly about it but it’s just who i am. and my husband would have people crashing on every couch and square foot of the floor if i let him.

  61. Brianna says...

    I love the idea of a puzzle, especially if you’re going to visit guests for the weekend.

  62. Annie F says...

    We usually bring a mason jar wrapped in a fun paper napkin and tied with baker’s twine, filled with homemade chocolate pistachio biscotti. Always a hit! I use Martha Stewart’s recipe (titled “Cathy’s Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti”). My mom in particular can’t get enough – every time we bring a jar, she sends us home with the jar empty, thus ensuring the jar will return refilled!

  63. Kassie says...

    Great list! Definitely going to check if my local bookstore can get that cookbook. BUT OMG, that story from your friend Sarah!!! How did that even happen!?! Out of control!

    • Katie says...

      Responding to comment referring to your local bookstore– I was in Las Vegas last week and visited an independently-owned bookstore called The Writer’s Block. I later found out it was one of only TWO independent bookstores IN THE WHOLE STATE!!!! Reaffirmed how important it is to support these places.