While we all know better than to show up empty-handed to a holiday gathering, finding the perfect hostess gift can be daunting. Whether you’re saying “thank you” for an evening of cocktails and conversation or a stay in someone’s home, a thoughtfully selected item can leave a lasting impression. Here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite options from throughout The Scout Guide network, as well as advice from a few experts on what to give. Read on for recommendations, and then scroll through to see (and shop!) our picks.
“A great hostess gift is one that is both beautiful and practical,” says Jackson, Mississippi-based interior designer Nancy Price. “One of my favorite gifts to give is an antique breadboard. It serves as an intriguing accessory for the home and also functions as a serving piece for entertaining. I also like to give a gift with longevity; lemon trees make the perfect gift for your holiday hostess—they provide gorgeous greenery for the home and are a beautiful reminder of the holiday you spent together.”
When attending a party, The Scout Guide Memphis Editor Muffy Turley recommends that guests consider tailoring their gift to the host and the occasion. “Something a hostess can consume is always best,” she says. “I like to give a bottle of wine or champagne or cocktail napkins that go along with the season.” As for her favorite item to receive as a hostess herself? “A beautifully scented candle—Nest’s Bamboo is my personal favorite to receive, and to give.”
Finally, something lovely for the home is always welcome. Beth Ann Kallen and Victoria Pouncey, the owners of the Charlottesville, Virginia-based home furnishings store and interior design studio Folly, suggest a beautiful pair of candlesticks that evoke the holiday season (featured above in the first slide). Alternatively, in a nod to the fact that the holidays are a time for family to come together, they recommend giving a game, like a classic backgammon set or a few decks of chic playing cards.
Of course, at the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts. So if you start to feel stressed about shopping for the perfect gift, remember that the invitation was only extended to you in the first place because someone wanted the pleasure of your company—not a fancy bottle of wine or sparkly ornament.