Sally is an experienced business event planner and loves looking after all the little details that help make guests feel special.
If you're a guest at a party, always make sure to bring a little something special for the gracious hosts. After all, they've cleaned the house, dressed up the kids, brought out the best linens, and cooked a gourmet meal for you. But even if all they did was open the front door and let you in for a casual luncheon, they still deserve applause for making you feel welcome. Here are some edible gift ideas to show your party hosts how much you appreciate their generous hospitality.
Tips for Picking the Perfect Gift
When picking out a gift for your host, bringing 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 and entertain. Here's a list of popular edible homemade gifts that won't add clutter to the host's home. Some of them you can make yourself and others you can find at your favorite gourmet grocer.
Cookies or Brownies in a Jar Baking Mix
If you have a yummy recipe for cookies or sweets that everyone is always asking you to share with them, offer that as a hostess gift. Just assemble the portioned dry ingredients in layers in an airtight mason jar. Affix a label and tie a pretty ribbon around the top to attach the baking instructions card.
Layered Dried Soup Mix
Just like the cookies in a jar host gift, a cozy soup mix is a good idea too. Pour the dry goods in colorful layers in a glass jar—dried beans, pasta shapes, dried onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, spices, and dried boullion.
To make this gift look extra special and decorative, use a uniquely shaped jar or wide-mouthed bottle with a tight sealing lid. Attach a 'just add water instruction card' to the container. If you don't have your own soup recipe to make this tasty gift, you can find plenty of similar recipes and soup-in-a-jar ideas online. Pinterest has oodles of links to sites with this type of gift.
A Bottle of Wine
Unless your host and/or her resident family members don't drink alcohol, a nice bottle of wine is a sophisticated way to say, "Thanks for welcoming us into your home!"
Homemade Chutneys, Jams, or Jellies
If you spend each Fall canning the summer's bounty of fruits and berries, give the hostess a jar of your finest jam, jelly, or preserves.
Spices and Oils
Herb-infused oils, flavored salts, wine vinegars, and exotic spice blends and rubs will be nice additions to your host's spice rack.
Homemade Cookies or Confections
Homemade goodies don't have to take a lot of time or energy to make. A simple treat such as chocolate and M&M pretzel bites can be made in under an hour.
Edible Flower Planter
Did you know that some of the prettiest flowers are also edible? According to The National Gardening Association, there are plenty of flowers you can find at your local garden shop that can be arranged in a planter.
My favorite edible flowers are violas, pansies, and nasturtiums because they come in such a wide variety of bright colors. (If the hostess has a pet, make sure you only choose flowers that are safe for both humans and animals. What might be safe for a human to eat might be toxic for a cat or dog.)
Gourmet Treats for the Host Family's Dog
Thoughtful party hosts will go out of their way to make sure that their guests are comfortable in their home. And this sometimes means having to keep family pets in another part of the house.
If your host is a proud dog owner, a gourmet treat for her dog is a nice way of thanking her for so graciously accommodating those guests who can't be around dogs. At the end of the party when Fido is welcomed back into the rest of the house, the host will have a special surprise treat for her cooped up pooch.
Gifts for the Host Family
If you're invited to a party where the entire family has been involved in the planning of the event—such as a backyard barbecue or a neighborhood block party—consider getting a gift that the whole family can enjoy. Gift certificates for ice cream sundaes are one idea. S'mores kits, flavored popcorn and movie night treats are good for a quiet evening together after everyone has left.
Another suggestion is based on a memory from my childhood: a hot-air popcorn machine! When an out-of-town family friend came to stay for the weekend, he brought our family into the modern age and gave us a shiny new popcorn machine. No more popping corn in a frying pan. To a wide-eyed 9-year, this was an incredibly cool gift because it meant that my brother and I could make our own popcorn rather than having an adult make it for is the old-fashioned stovetop way.
Presents are symbolic. When you give them in your personal life, they should show that you are paying attention to the person to whom you're giving them.
— Judith Martin
It's Always Appropriate to Express Gratitude
There's no occasion too small to bring a thank you gift for the host. Whether it's a small lunch at your best friends house with a few of your closest pals to an afternoon of watching college football in your neighbors garage man-cave, it's never inappropriate to express your appreciation for your hosts who have opened their doors to make you feel at home.
© 2018 Sally Hayes