Hostess Gift Giving Etiquette



When you get invited to a dinner party, you are attending a holiday party or charity event, we’re here to remind you:  Don’t show up empty handed.  The host has likely gone to great expense and effort to ensure your time is special, be sure to thank her with thoughtful hostess gifts.  Here are some ideas to thank the hostess:

  • A bottle of wine or liquor. This is not BYOB or meant to be opened and drunk at the party.  This is meant for the hostess and family to enjoy at a later date. Don’t forget to include a tag tied with a ribbon with a short note, “thanks for having us! Love, The Smiths.”  Or write your message directly on the bottle. If it’s a very fancy party, consider getting a wine bottle engraved or a wine box engraved with the host’s personalized information.

Custom Engraved Rosewood Wine Box

  • A personalized gift. A personalized address stamp, a candle, a personalized coffee mug, wine glass, picture frame, decorative sign, engraved coasters, or box of stationery will do the trick.  You do not have to spend a lot of money to make an impact. Browse our latest selection of custom and personalized gifts at Simply Stamps here.


  1. DO: If you received a printed invitation in the mail, or an Evite, you should bring a hostess gift.
  2. DON’T: If it was a last minute dinner invitation or it’s just a casual evening with friends, a hostess gift is not necessary. Though you should always thank you’re host after with writing a thank you note.
  3. DON’T: You do not need to bring a hostess gift if you are contributing to the meal.  For example, you may receive an invitation for a dinner party but are requested to bring an appetizer or dessert.  In this instance, you are not expected to also bring a gift.
  4. DON’T: For a children’s birthday party or an adult one where you are bringing the guest of honor a birthday present, it is not also necessary to bring a hostess gift. Your gift to the guest of honor is enough.

Life gets ahead of us sometimes and you won’t always follow etiquette accordingly.  No one is perfect and that’s okay! If you attend a party and you feel like the host went above and beyond and you want to thank him later, a belated hostess gift and note in the mail is always appreciated. Sometimes this gives the recipient even more time to appreciate and enjoy your gesture.

With these things in mind, you will always be gracious to your host.

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