Bringing a gift for your host is one of the classiest things you can do, hands down.
It’s a way of saying, "Thank you for opening your house to us or inviting us to your event.", but doing so with more than just words. Trust me, a host gift is one of the best things you can do to guarantee you’ll stay on the invite list for their next event.
And, really, it’s just the decent thing to do. It’s proper etiquette when attending an event hosted by someone else, to show your gratitude for all the effort they’ve invested into making it an event you can enjoy.
So always—and I mean always—consider bringing a host gift.
Below, we’ll walk you through a long list of unique host gifts to bring to your next event.
Yes, most people bring a bottle of wine. That’s a universally acceptable gift that most hosts will enjoy.
But if you want to be different and stand out from the crowd, use our gift guide to help you choose something creative.
Keep it simple, of course. You don’t want to go over the top (that’s just a way of humble-bragging that no one likes, not your hosts or your guests), but make sure it’s a gift your hosts can enjoy, appreciate, and even use.
Have fun looking over this list and finding some next-level, out-of-the-box gifts for your host.
Large enough for up to 6 cold cans or carrying your lunch, the 2.5-liter Able Cooler is a slim, insulated carrier that will keep its contents cold for hours. Up to 6 hours with the brand’s icepacks. Or warm for 4 hours. It features a padded carry handle and an adjustable shoulder strap to give you options.
Handbuilt from wood for a classic, old-time feel, the Wood Beer Bottle Caddy carries six beer bottles and features a metal bottle opener mounted on the side. For home brewers, it makes a great way to give the gift of beer. Or for those who prefer to BYOB, you’ll arrive in style.
Far from the radiant light pollution of our urban centers, America’s Dark Sky Parks are places where the cosmos are most visible to the naked eye. Good & Well Supply Co. honors these parks with a new all-natural candle collection. The candles are made from soy-based wax and burn for up to 45 hours. Choose various scents & parks, including Death Valley, Grand Canyon, and Joshua Tree.
From the authors of the bestselling cocktail book Death & Co comes another mixology essential. Cocktail Codex is a comprehensive resource on the craft of mixing drinks, employing the authors’ unique “root cocktails” approach to give drink-makers of every level the tools to understand, execute, and improvise both classic and original cocktails.
Whiskey Peaks’ 34-ounce Mountain Decanter will make a great addition to your bar or cocktail cart. It’s made of 100% lead-free handblown glass and features the 3D profile of a mountain peak in its base, creating a unique display for your favorite spirit and each decanter is unique.
The Joy Of Pizza is a sweeping, in-depth exploration of the world’s most beloved food. A guide to the craft and an ode to its simple origins. Written by Dan Richer, master pizzaiolo and owner of Razza—voted by The New York Times as NYC’s Number One Pizza Place (even though it’s in Jersey) it goes deep, giving readers step-by-step instructions to make incredible pies at home.
With a design inspired by a Mason Jar, High Camp’s portable cocktail shaker is a 20oz, vacuum-insulated vessel that converts into a highball tumbler with an innovative strainer design. The 3-piece configuration lets you shake it at home or take it to-go. Choose from black, stainless, or copper finish.
Made of heat resistant glass, the clever, minimalist design of this glass corn popper from Puebco gives you a crystal clear view of the popping process. A slotted glass insert lets your butter melt slowly into the vessel for perfect coverage every time.
For ambiance at the dinner table & even roasting marshmallows, the FLÎKR Fire2 brings warmth and light. It is a clean burning and safe design you can use indoors and out. It requires just 5 ounces of 70% or 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol for a burn time of 50 minutes.
When you’re really dying for a drink but for whatever reason, can’t whet your whistle, this lip balm might hold you over. This fun, liquor-inspired lip balm comes in three refreshing flavors: Bourbon, Margarita, and Moscow Mule. No, there’s no booze in it but it’s actually moisturizing—and contains zinc for sunblock. Handmade in small batches in Michigan, U.S.A.
Pizza Czar: Recipes and Know-How from a World-Traveling Pizza Chef
The former pizza czar of legendary Roberta’s in Brooklyn, Anthony Falco, has become a global authority on all things pizza & has spent the last half-decade consulting with restaurants & pizzaiolos around the world. He has now penned his first book. In it, he teaches you everything you need to know to make pizza. It’s an exhaustive resource for absolutely any pizza cook, teaching mastery of the classics and tricks of the trade plus unique takes on styles and recipes from around the globe.
With the all-in-one Cuppamoka you can make a portable pour-over virtually anywhere. The 10-ounce stainless vacuum bottle features an integrated pour-over brewer that uses paper filters to brew your custom cup in a few short minutes, then you’re ready to go. The Cuppamoka mug comes with a removable filter holder, a spillproof lid, a collecting pad, 10 paper filters, & a coffee scoop. Keeps drinks hot for 2-3 hours.
With everything you need to create killer spicy sauces, the Chili Lab Homemade Hot Sauce Kit from Williams-Sonoma gives you the essential ingredients and tools needed to make two unique artisanal hot sauces, while urging you to experiment with your signature sauce. Initial prep takes just ten minutes, followed by a 3-day aging process. The kit includes: Forager’s & Grove Blend spice mixes, two 4-ounce reusable glass bottles, a fine mesh strainer, and a stainless steel funnel.
If you like to take your morning caffeine cold & on-the-go, check the HyperChiller. It will chill your coffee in less than 60 seconds. Simply fill it with water and place it in the freezer, remove and place in your Coffee maker and brew or pour from a carafe into the HyperChiller and then into your cup. It works for wine, spirits, juice, etc., & it uses no chemicals or gels, just water.
Having trouble finding something you think your host will like?
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What type of occasion should I bring a host gift to?
There are a number of occasions when a host gift is appropriate:
Meeting your prospective/future in-laws
Dinner parties or cocktail parties (anything with a more formal feel)
Have a host gift ready for these occasions, and you’ll be a welcome house guest every time.
Should I bring separate host gifts for a couple?
That’s not necessary at all.
Don’t get me wrong: if you can conceive practical, useful, or creative ideas that will work for your hosts, go for it. Separate host gifts (or gifts that are matching/part of a set) are definitely unique and often appreciated.
However, for most events, a single item for the couple will suffice.
And it doesn’t have to fit both halves of the couple.
For example, if you’re friendlier with the man in the relationship, it’s okay to bring a bottle of Scotch, whisky, tequila, or other hard liquor you know they’ll like even if their partner doesn’t. Or, for the woman in the relationship, a bottle of their favorite white or rose wine is absolutely acceptable even if the man won’t touch the stuff.
When should I not bring a host gift?
You don’t need to bring a host gift to a potluck lunch/dinner because you’re bringing a food item and/or drinks to contribute already.
At any gathering or event you’re invited to outside the home (for example, a family dinner at a restaurant), you don’t need to bring a gift—unless someone else is "hosting" the event, i.e., footing your bill.
Should I be discreet when giving the host his gift?
Definitely go the route of discretion.
Not everyone is going to bring a gift (some people forget or aren’t aware of proper etiquette), so seeing you publicly give a gift may make them feel bad. Plus, a grand display of generosity draws attention to you, and away from the event’s hosts.
Don’t call attention to your gift; simply thank the hosts for inviting you, hand them the gift (or place it on the gift table), and move on with the conversation.
And never—NEVER—brag about how great or expensive your gift is. That’s incredibly egocentric and you’ll come off like a total loser.
Should I wrap a host gift?
Presentation matters when it comes to gift-giving.
You don’t have to get all fancy with the wrapping paper and ribbons, especially if it’s a gift given to a man or by a man. For most men, gift bags are a more-than-suitable way of presenting your gift in proper presentation.
Even if the gift inside isn’t the most lavish or expensive, the effort you invested into presentation speaks volumes about you and your respect for the host.
How much should I spend on a host gift?
Typically, a host gift is around $30-$50, though it’s not unheard-of to spend up to $100 or so for a host gift for close friends or family members.
That being said, the price isn’t what matters. Simple, less expensive gifts may be far more impactful if they’re chosen specifically for your hosts. Consider what they’d like, and spend whatever is necessary to get them a suitable gift.
Should I send a hand written note to the host the following day as a thank you?
Absolutely! Just like showing up to an event with a host gift, sending a handwritten note the following day is a truly class act. It’ll make your hosts feel loved and appreciated for all the effort they put into organizing the event.
How do you properly gift wine to a host?
Wine can be a bit of a tricky gift if not given correctly.
If you just hand the host the bottle of wine, they might feel obligated to serve it (to you and their guests) during the event. This could be problematic if they’ve carefully curated the menu and chosen the food-and-wine pairings specifically. The "obligation"—real or implied—to serve your wine may disrupt their menu.
Instead, hand the bottle of wine to your hosts and say something like, "I really enjoyed this wine for X reasons (give them more than one), and thought you/your partner would find it perfect for a quiet night together/camping trip/date night/weekend event.""
That way, it signals that you don’t expect them to serve it now, but they can enjoy it at their leisure.
Bringing food to a hosted event may put pressure on the host to serve that food, which could disrupt their menu. It might even be perceived as an insult or slight—that their food isn’t good enough, so you had to bring your own.
On the other hand, food can be a great gift for your hosts to enjoy at a later date. For example, a box of chocolates or home-baked treats can go into their "snack cupboard", and they can eat it at their leisure.
If you’re thinking of bringing food, choose something that’s not suitable to serve at the party (something that can be stored), and make sure the hosts know that you brought it for them to enjoy later.
What should I do if I forget a host gift?
If you forget to bring a gift, don’t call attention to your oversight. Just greet the host, thank them for having you, and move on with the conversation. Not everyone remembers (or even knows) to bring a gift, and hosts don’t expect everyone to.
But you’re not done!
The next day, promptly send a thank-you note, or bring over a treat for your hosts. You can tell them something like, "I loved the (FOOD/DRINK ITEM) you served last night, and it made me think of this (FOOD/DRINK ITEM) that you’d enjoy."
That way, you’ve still given the host gift within an acceptable time frame.
If you’re too busy to bring over a gift and forget to send a card, you can always reciprocate their invitation by inviting them to an event, dinner, or party you host. That invitation is a great way of thanking them for hosting you.