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Holiday Gifts for the Hostess with the Mostess

By , Alicia Capetillo, Staff Writer
You've picked a show-stopping dress and the hubby's got his perfect tie ready to go, but have you put any thought into what kind of gift you can offer the host or hostess of your next holiday party? Cookies or holiday sweets might be the quick and easy go-to throughout December, but the key to wowing your host or hostess with the perfect sign of your appreciation isn't necessarily through his or her sweet tooth. There are a number of small, thoughtful gifts you can bring along to all of your upcoming holiday parties as a show of good cheer. Grab one of these nine sweet gifts and solidify your status as the holiday season's most-wanted guest.
A Healthy Appetizer If there are 20 couples invited to a party, chances are at least half of them are bringing cookies. Round out the meal by contributing a favorite healthy snack for guests to munch on throughout the night. Add a touch of fancy to the festivities with this deceptively simple smoked salmon dip or go for a throwback with these bacon-wrapped water chestnuts.
Poinsettia Next to the evergreen tree, this has to be the most sought-after plant of the holiday season. Skip traditional flowers and opt for this colorful plant instead. Your gift will be right at home on your host's table, no vase necessary.
Mug No matter if they're Team Coffee, Team Tea or even Team Hot Chocolate, chances are a mug is going to be put to use during the cold winter months. Avoid holiday-themed designs, and instead, choose a fun pattern or a clever quote to keep your host feeling warm and fuzzy all year round.
A Jar of Locally Made Honey or Jam If you're heading to a party out of town, bring a bit of home along for the ride. Offering your host or hostess a jar of a locally made product is not only a conversation starter, but it will also introduce them to a part of your world.
Nuts + a Festive Nutcracker Is there anyone among us who doesn't adore a solid nutcracker? They're so darn festive it's insane. A holiday without a nutcracker is like Thanksgiving without a single decorative gourd. Search for a classic or clever nutcracker, then pair it with a nicely packaged bag of whole walnuts, which have been shown to keep your heart healthy.
Amaryllis Bulb Over the poinsettia? The bright red bulb and green stem are perfect for the holiday season, plus many stores sell the beautiful bulb in a box for convenient travel. Your hosts will enjoy this gorgeous flower for months to come.
Mix for a Healthy Bread Cookies might be the most-baked item in December, but there is nothing better than enjoying a warm, healthy and homemade bread on chilly mornings. Find a recipe you love—like this moist banana bread—pop the mix of dry ingredients in a trendy mason jar with the full recipe attached and your host or hostess might just make sure your wine glass is full all night long.
Coffee Beans Say, "I recognize and appreciate that you stayed up late nights baking and planning and running errands for this party," without actually saying anything at all by offering your host or hostess the gift of caffeine. Hit up your local coffee shop to find a unique bean that they can look forward to drinking after the festivities end.
Bath Bomb Because planning a party and working the room all night is tough work, reward them for a job well done with a nicely wrapped and beautifully scented bath bomb.

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great ideas Report
love the rosemary idea
I really love these ideas for something a bit different for the host or hostess--just one word of caution-if your hosts have pets you might want to skip the poinsettia as they can be harmful to the four-legged family members. If unsure if your plant is pet-friendly, you can always do a quick online research to double check before giving as a gift. Will be using more than one of these suggestions this holiday season. Thank you for the out-of-the box suggestions! Report
I bake some good things the host likes, because this holiday is about pleasure, not whining! Report
Love these non-food ideas!! As a hostess of many Christmas and birthday parties, poinsettias are MUCH appreciated and the bath salts or any bath items is a FANTASTIC IDEA and aVERY thoughtful gift as it is MUCH PREP that goes into a party and that is WHY most people do not host one at their home! Report
All of these are great! Thanks so much! Report
I like all of these ideas! Report
My pick for a host/hostess gift this year has been a rosemary plant trimmed to Christmas tree shape. I had the nursery put the pot in red foil wrap and I decorated the tree with metallic curling ribbon in red, green, silver and gold. I live in growing zone 7 and the rosemary will grow outside after the holidays. It won't hold the Christmas tree shape as it grows but it can be snipped for cooking. Report
Great ideas! Report