15 Holiday Hostess Gift Ideas that Go Beyond the Bottle

Help! You’re invited to a holiday party and want to bring the host/hostess a gift but don’t  know what to buy. You can always default to alcohol, but here are 15 of the best holiday hostess gifts that go beyond the bottle.

I love being invited to holiday parties but I always get stuck on what to bring as a hostess gift. If you saw my Halloween You’ve Been Boozed adventure, you’ll probably guess that one of my favorite go-to’s is wine. And, don’t get me wrong, wine is almost always appreciated, but the bottle is usually either added to a mix of party wine or lost in a sea of skinny bags. So when I really want to get festive during the holidays, I go full-out-creative on finding hostess gifts that aren’t wine. From homemade foods like cookies and candy to inexpensive but thoughtful items for the home, today I want to share my favorite holiday hostess gifts for 2019.

Do I Need to Bring a Hostess Gift?

But first, why bring a hostess gift? Consider it a token of appreciation and nothing more — not a tit-for-tat and not a contribution to the event’s food or drink (unless you’ve been specifically asked to bring something). The menu and wine list have often been carefully planned and you don’t want to put anyone in the position of graciously including your gift even if it’s mismatched. 

Wonder when to bring a hostess gift? Me too, especially if I’m already bringing a food dish to the party. In some regions, hostess gifts are quite customary (I do live in the south after all!), but in other communities they are a rare offering. I never expect any … but I always appreciate them! For answers on this one, I went straight to the source — Emily Post. She suggests you always bring a small gift to a dinner party unless you’re close friends who get together often; however, she says not to bring one to a formal dinner party unless you know the host well. If there is a guest of honor, she advises you bring a gift for them instead, but, if you’re lucky enough to be the honored guest, you should indeed bring a hostess gift. Since none of this is hard and fast, I think it’s best to arrive bearing gifts. It’s fun and, after all, it is the season!

The Best Holiday Hostess Gifts of 2019 (Non-Wine)

  1. Gift Cards – local stores, host’s favorite eatery, etc.
  2. Festive Floursack Kitchen Towels

Festive Flour Sack Kitchen Towels - Holiday Hostess Gift 

3. SucculentsSucculents make an idea non-wine hostess gift 

4. Bath Products (salt, oil, scrub, etc) or Colorful Bath Bomb Set  Colorful bath bomb gift sets make great hostess gifts for the holidays 

5. Throw BlanketConsider a cozy throw blanket for a festive hostess gift 

6. Holiday Throw PillowWhy bring wine to a party when you could bring a fun Christmas throw pillow?

7. Diffuser with Essential OilsDiffuser with Essential Oils - a great hostess gift 

8. Charcuterie BoardCharcuterie Board - an ideal non-wine hostess gift

Gourmet Gift Basket Ideas – Non Wine Hostess Gifts

My family owned a business called Contri Brothers for decades and decades. Our specialty – gourmet gift baskets! Whether you make your own or buy a pre-made one, these basket ideas are sure to thrill the host of the party.

9. Breakfast Basket – flavored syrup, pancake mix, store bought or homemade jams and spreads 

10. Gardening Basket – fresh herbs, planting mix, gardening gloves 

11. Italian basket – fun pasta, fancy olive oil, fresh basil, grater, Parmesan 
Non Wine Gift - Best of Italy Pasta Basket

12. Coffee Connoisseur’s Basket – high-end coffee, flavored syrups, chocolate-covered espresso beans, biscotti (see my recipe below!) Non Wine Hostess Gifts - Gourmet Coffee Basket

Festive Food Hostess Gifts You’ll Enjoy Making

13. Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Rosemary Shortbread Cookie Cutouts from Holley Grainger

14. Sweet and Salty Dark Chocolate Bark

Sweet and Salty Dark Chocolate Bark, from Holley Grainger

15. Pistachio White Chocolate Cardamom Biscotti

Pistachio, White Chocolate and Cardamom Biscotti from Holley Grainger - a holiday potluck food that travels well


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Hostess Gifts that Aren't Wine (1)


Want more ideas for a Cleverful Christmas? Check out my Christmas Idea Central.

Christmas Menu Planner from Holley Grainger