Clutter-Free Gifts For Hosts And Hostesses

December 5, 2017

For the record, I am not the Grinch. I am not intent on being the ruiner of merriment and joy. But I am intent on speaking the truth that I feel is needed, and, yes, occasionally, positioning myself in opposition to the sirens of consumerism.

My patience with holiday gift guides, in general, has not yet reached its breaking point (though I feel said point drawing ever nearer). The matter of hostess gift guides is another story. I’ve bitten my tongue for as long as possible (what has it been, like four days since the launch of the holiday season? I’d say that’s pretty serious self-restraint). Now, I feel compelled to weigh in.

Since I am not, as previously claimed, Grinchy, I do not admonish the inclination to present a person who is hosting you in their home with a gift. In fact, that act is pure class if you ask me. But friends, we have to talk about this world of “hostess gifts.”

Allow me to humbly assure you that most people have way, way more than enough:

-scented candles

-bottle stops

-wine openers

-water bottles


-bar accoutrement


You’re officially not allowed to show up at someone’s house with any of the aforeblogged items, by which I mean, please, please, pretty please would you not?

great gifts for hosts (that they'll actually want and need!)

Why not try, this holiday season and going forward, to present your host with something more sure to please and to fill a need? Based on my personal experience of the contents of people’s homes, here are alternative host gifts less prone to be clutter.

-Instead of gifting a scent diffuser, try gifting (1) a bottle of luxe dish soap. A practical item that everyone uses, presented in pretty packaging? Every gift is a gamble, but I like those odds.

-Instead of gifting another set of hand soap and lotion, try gifting (2) an set of Excellent sponges (Psst: these featured in my last favorites post). Your host’s probably needs replacing.

-Instead of gifting a blanket, no matter how cozy it is, try gifting (3) a bundle of dish towels. Again: points for practicality in a pretty presentation. Since many people prefer to have dish towels that match (or at least don’t clash!) with their kitchen decor, select dish towels with their space in mind, if you can. And when in doubt, stick to Excellent Quality and White. Another very acceptable (and likely needed) alternative along these lines: try gifting (5) an oven mitt.

-Instead of gifting bar accoutrement, try gifting (4) candle accoutrement. Same-ish feel; not as oversaturated item.

-Instead of re-gifting those heavily scented candles which don’t appeal to your senses, try sticking to gifting (6) unscented, versatile tapers (more colors here and here). Most people have votives in spades, but not so with long tapers. If you feel the candles are underwhelming, throw in a (7) lovely bottle of long matches, or (8) a USB charged lighter.

-Instead of gifting bottle openers and stoppers, try just bringing a bottle of wine–the host gift that never goes out of style. Bigger is better, in this case, since a bottle of wine can be easily, if need be, passed on to someone else, while a seventh bottle opener will inevitably add to the cluster of a junk drawer that’s already brewing. P.S. A gift bag for the bottle isn’t necessary at all. Really, spare your host.

-And finally, fresh flowers or a potted plant are almost always a win. Sometimes, obvious works.

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