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Ask A Minnesota Expert: Ideas For Hostess Gifts

Knowing when to give a hostess gift and choosing the proper gift for the occasion goes a long way to cement relationships with those you love and respect. It helps demonstrate your awareness of your friend's tastes and personality. It is a small step on a path toward starting or continuing a relationship. Gifts may also kick off conversations, initiate interaction over mutual interests or, when appropriate, may reinforce a running gag.

Maddie Hughes
Ask for the Moon Events
Minneapolis, MN
(651) 230-8858

Maddie Hughes spends her days transforming client visions into magical moments so they will be remembered for a lifetime. She began in the event industry in 2006 and has a good grounding in catering events and planning weddings. She is a special person, engaging clients to "ask for the moon" and then boarding a rocket ship with them as they jointly create an experience that has never happened before and may never happen again. Along the way, Maddie is a tiger at managing mountains of detail all the while maintaining kitten-soft relations with clients, guests, vendors and venues focusing on the magic of the moment. Here she offers these tips for people looking to buy hostess gifts this holiday season.

Holiday Hostess Gifts
(credit: CBS)

Tip 1: When To Bring A Hostess Gift

"Arriving empty handed isn't recommended if the event is a casual or formal dinner party, there is an honorary guest, if you are the guest of honor or the affair is a housewarming. Regardless of the event, if you have asked to bring a plus one or additional guests, keep in mind that your host needed to increase food and beverage amounts and add extra place settings. Bringing a little present will curb any inconvenience. During the holiday season, families and friends often visit for extended periods of time. Since your host is kind enough to let you use the couch or guest room, be generous and sincere with your hostess gift. While bringing a gift to your hostess is a wonderful gesture, not every occasion calls for such an act."

Tip 2: Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas

"Personally, I love putting together themed food baskets for my hosts: wine and chocolate basket, cheeses from around the world basket, even a Bloody Mary basket with all the fixings. If you'd like to keep it just as memorable but slightly simpler, guest soaps, exotic coffee, cigars or scented candles are always lovely. It can be tough to get creative with your hostess gifts, but doing so will make it much more memorable. But no matter what gift is given, always follow up with a thank you note to the host or hostess for throwing the great party!"

Tip 3: DIY Hostess Gifts

"Do-it-yourself hostess gifts are treasured treats, especially during the holiday season. For the food enthusiast host, create flavored olive oils with fresh herbs. Or put together a Holiday Spice Survival Kit, including cloves, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and nutmeg in fun little jars. Then jot down some creative new recipes. If you and your host have a long history together, create a collage picture frame of past holiday memorabilia or cropped photos. And don't forget about holiday cookies. Offer your favorite homemade sweets in colored cellophane bags or find slightly used cookie tins at thrift stores."

Related: Best Guest Practices: A Guide To Fabulous Hostess Gifts

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Tip 4: Be Considerate

"People hosting parties tend to be bustling around garnishing the hors d'oeuvres or refilling cocktails, so make sure your hostess gift is low maintenance. If bringing flowers spares your host the time of finding a vase and arranging the bouquet, do that prior to arrival. When bringing wine or food, do not expect your host to serve it with their carefully orchestrated meal. Instead give something that can be useful to a future meal: a cheese board, napkin rings or drink charms, to name a few. Otherwise present the host with an item that will entertain the other guests while the meal is being prepared like a trivia game or a book of jokes. Giving a gift is always a thoughtful and caring gesture, but when arriving with hostess gifts, check to make sure you are being attentive as well."

Tip 5: Best Gift Of All

"It is better to ask in advance. Showing up with a surprise present is not nearly as fashionable as giving your host a gift they really want or need. You might find out that the host has misplaced the wine key or broke a serving tray and is need of a little rescuing. And, of course, during the party the greatest gift you can give is your assistance and good manners. Check to see if your host needs help filling cocktails or setting out appetizers. Force yourself to mingle with the other guests and not expect your host to entertain you constantly. Your gift of thoughtfulness will be remembered much more than any item."

Related: Best Places For Last Minute Gifts in Minnesota

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at

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