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10 Hostess Gifts for $10 or Less

Updated on October 13, 2016
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Sadie Holloway likes giving practical yet thoughtful gifts to loved ones. She enjoys hunting around for the best presents she can find.

Don't show up at the party without a gift for the hostess. Here are 10 simple, easy to organize gift ideas for the next time you are invited to a party.

Your party host has put a lot of work into planning the big event. Here are some simple hostess gift ideas to let her know how much you appreciate her!
Your party host has put a lot of work into planning the big event. Here are some simple hostess gift ideas to let her know how much you appreciate her!

It's such a treat to be invited to someone's house for a lovely gathering, a dinner party, or any type of special occasion. The party host has opened her home to you and wants you to enjoy yourself. To show your gratitude for her warm hospitality, be sure to bring a small gift to show your appreciation.

A hostess gift need not be fancy, elaborate, or expensive. There are many hostess gifts you can buy or make for $10.00 or less. Bringing a gift for the hostess will also help you feel more sociable and relaxed, too. Arriving empty-handed to a party, even if the hostess has insisted that you just bring yourself, can feel awkward. Presenting a nice hostess gift as you arrive is a great way to break the ice, especially if you bring a gift that is unique, one-of-a-kind, or homemade.

Here are some simple hostess gift ideas that are easy to organize ahead of time, and they won't break the bank.

A small terrarium makes a great hostess gift. It's pretty, practical, and easy to make! You can find terrarium plants and supplies at your local plant shop, craft store and online.
A small terrarium makes a great hostess gift. It's pretty, practical, and easy to make! You can find terrarium plants and supplies at your local plant shop, craft store and online.

Did you know? The tradition of giving hostess gifts started as a way to acknowledge and thank the party host if you weren't going to be inviting them to a reciprocal dinner at your place in the near future. These days people are so busy that they don't always have time to plan a dinner to return the favor and so many people have opted to give a small thank you gift instead.

Source: Judy Blais Comeau, Sticky Situation: What Gift to Give a Thanksgiving Host or Hostess, Huffington Post Living

1. Air plant terrariums. Flowers and potted houseplants are nice gifts for a party hostess. But if you want to give the hostess something a little more unique, a miniature hanging glass terrarium makes a great gift. It's small, easy to care for, and if the plant doesn't make it (not everyone has a green thumb), the hostess can put a small votive candle in it and turn it into a lovely glass lantern!

2. Flavored oils, specialty salts, and exotic spices. When picking out a gift for a hostess, things that can be used up and enjoyed are always popular. Spices, oils, and other gourmet food items are perfect for party hosts who love to cook.

3. Homemade jams or preserves. If you are an avid canner who makes jams and preserves every summer, it goes without saying that a jar of your best jam makes a great gift, especially if you like to make unusual jams such as ice wine jelly or jalapeno pepper jelly. Chutneys and antipastos are also yummy hostess gifts!

4. Brownies in a jar baking mix. Do you have a favorite cookie or brownie recipe that everyone is always asking you to share with them? Why not layer the dry recipe ingredients in an airtight mason jar and attach the recipe card to the jar with a pretty ribbon or raffia.

5. Dried soup mix. Layer beans, dried pasta shapes, dried onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes, spices, and dried boullion in a shapely jar or bottle and attach a just add water instruction card to the container.

6. An out-of-print, hard-to-find used book with a personalized inscription. If the party host is a bookworm, a book is the perfect gift, especially one that is hard to find or that brings back happy childhood memories. Classic children's books, books autographed by the author, and books with unique covers, bindings, illustrations, and typefaces make lovely gifts for people who love to collect vintage books and cherished childhood memorabilia.

7. Journals, notebooks, and boxed cards. Attractive stationery is practical and stylish. The next time you are at your local art gallery or museum, check out the gift shop. There will likely be a beautiful selection of art cards and notebooks for less than $10.00.

8. Homemade candy, cookies, sweets, or chocolates. Let the hostess know that the treats are just for her! She doesn't have to serve them to the party guests after dinner.

9. Beeswax candles. A nice set of natural beeswax candles are perfect for almost any occasion. You can make the candles yourself by rolling sheets of beeswax around a wick. These supplies are available at most craft stores. Tie the together with a wide ribbon.

10. A small seasonal ornament. If the event that you are attending is close to a special occasion such as Christmas, Easter, or Halloween, an ornament is perfect as a hostess gift.

A crystal light catcher is a lovely hostess gift.
A crystal light catcher is a lovely hostess gift.

Here are some more quick tips for choosing a thoughtful hostess gift that's sure to please:

  • Pick a gift that is small and wrap it so that that it can be easily opened and acknowledged. Your hostess is right in the middle of throwing a party. She has guests to entertain, food to prepare, things to do. If she has to sit down and unwrap the present, untie unless ribbons, and them find a place big enough to put the gift once it is open, you''ll be making more work for the hostess.
  • Choose a hostess gift that can be placed in other rooms around the house. That way, if you happen to pick something that doesn't go with her style, she can put it on display somewhere else. Don't give the hostess a gift and then expect it to be on display every time you come over.
  • Gifts that can be used up make great hostess presents. Food, soaps, candles, stationary, and so on are good because they don't take up much room add extra clutter to the hostess's home.
  • Don't overdo it. Spend a modest amount on the hostess gift. You're not putting on a flashy show of your wealth and affluence; you're giving thanks. Giving a hostess gift shouldn't be a competition. Not everyone will bring a hostess gift, so don't make a big deal about yours. No one at the party should feel embarrassed, awkward, or obligated just because you gave a gift to the party host.
  • Unless you have a close relationship with the hostess (i.e.; She's your sister or best friend), avoid gag gifts. Gifts that are sexist, offensive or politically incorrect should always be avoided. Keep it classy.

The video below has some more great hostess gift ideas for the next party you attend! Check it out! (And if you have a few hostess gift ideas that you'd like to share, please leave a comment!)

A potted herb plant such as rosemary or basil will be appreciated by anyone who loves to cook!
A potted herb plant such as rosemary or basil will be appreciated by anyone who loves to cook!

Many of these hostess gifts are great for other special occasions when you want to give someone a unique but inexpensive gift, to say thanks, to celebrate a special occasion, or simply 'just because. Here are some other people who might appreciate these simple gifts:

  • Your child's daycare worker
  • Your pet sitter or dog walker
  • The receptionist at your dentist or doctor's office
  • Your hairstylist
  • Your paper carrier or mail carrier
  • Your child's teacher
  • The host of that fun party your kids were invited to
  • A piano teacher, ballet or dance class instructor, or tutor
  • A nurse or caregiver who took good care of an elderly relative while s/he was in the hospital

A special occasion gift doesn't have to be expensive to be meaningful. But do take some time to dress it up  your gift with some ribbon and a pretty card.
A special occasion gift doesn't have to be expensive to be meaningful. But do take some time to dress it up your gift with some ribbon and a pretty card.

How much do you think you should spend on a hostess gift?

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© 2014 Sadie Holloway

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  • momsdoworkathome profile image

    Katina Davenport 3 years ago from Michigan

    These are things I would never think of. I am not great at event planning or knowing when to give hostess gifts. Wonderful ideas. I can actually use some of these craft ideas for homeschool projects.