Ask A Denver Expert: Ideas For Hostess Gifts

Ask A Denver Expert: Ideas For Hostess Gifts
With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s time to party. Between Thanksgiving dinners, company holiday parties, family holiday parties and friendly gatherings, this season means a full social calendar for many people. When you are invited to a party, it’s polite not to show up empty handed. Ashley Summers, Founder and Creative Director of Ashley Nicole Events, shares advice on how to be the proper guest without blowing your budget.
Ashley Summers
Ashley Nicole Events
Parker, CO
(720) 470-2105

A full-service event planning business, Ashley Nicole Events offers everything you need to make your party memorable. The planners at Ashley Nicole Events have years of experience with large and small events in Denver and all over the world. They offer full and partial party planning services, so you can have them assist you with the details or plan your whole event from the ground up. Ashley and her colleagues have an abundance of creativity and unique ideas, so if you want to throw a memorable soiree but are stuck on the details, they will help.

Remember Your Budget

The holidays are a time that has the power to put a serious dent in your bank account. While you may cringe at the thought of having to bring a gift to each and every party, you don’t have to get extravagant. Summers offers this advice. “You should spend as much as you can afford. Don’t purchase a $200 bottle of wine if you cannot afford it. It’s the thought you put into the gift rather than how much you spent. Find out a little about the host/hostess. If you discover their love for Colorado wildflowers, go out and pick a bundle of flowers and put them inside of a mason jar. Or, if you know they’re from Pennsylvania, maybe make a batch of whoopie pies so they feel right at home for their housewarming party.”

Do Some Pre-Party Investigating

If your child has enrolled in a new school, you’ve started a new relationship or you have started a new job, there is a chance that you may be invited to a party hosted by someone you don’t know very well. While generic gifts are the best option, there are still some rule. Summers says, “…Try and give a gift that would make anyone smile such as flowers or a lovely basket of freshly baked breads and jams from the farmers market. Try to avoid items in which someone could be allergic to. You don’t want to arrive with a sausage platter and end up finding out that the hostess is a vegetarian.”

Keep It Tasteful

If you’re really close with someone, then by all means, play to their personality. However, unless the party is being hosted by your very best friend, keep it light and generic. Summers recommends avoiding anything distasteful or too personal. “Gifts that would offend someone can be an absolute don’t as well as gifts that require a ‘size.’ Even though your boss or coworker has a great sense of humor, it doesn’t mean that it would be funny to bring a naughty Santa serving bowl. And you should never have to ask for a host/hostess size for a blouse to bring as a gift to their holiday party.”

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Say Thank You

The point of a hostess gift is to thank your host for having you. Regardless of the occasion, you should arrive with a token of appreciation. “Anytime you’re invited to an event (especially at a home), you should always bring a hostess gift… It’s a way of saying, ‘Thank you for including me,’ and it allows the host or hostess, who has spent several days, hours and possibly months of planning, a chance to feel appreciated. Another form of a host/hostess gift, which is often forgotten about, is a ‘weekend visit.’ Whether you’re staying at your friend’s beach house or spending the weekend in the mountains at a friend’s house, you should always bring a small hostess gift and follow it up with a thank you card upon your trip home.”

Mix Form With Function

Many generic gifts are nice but they are given too freely. Save the shower gel for your mother-in-law and think outside the box. Summers states, “A rule of thumb is to ‘give a gift that matches the occasion.’ For instance, if you’re invited to your co-worker’s holiday party, bring some homemade cinnamon bread and wrap it inside of a beautiful red holiday-inspired ceramic loaf pan so that the host or hostess may use it to make themselves. Include your recipe and tie it with green and red twine and a cleaver tag that reads, ‘breakfast in bed.’ I always encourage friends and family to bring gifts that are meaningful for the occasion, personal and also practical.”

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Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found at