When attending a friend's big event at his or her home, it's customary to bring a little gift to thank your host for the invitation. Read on for some hostess gifts your friend will actually use rather than shove in the back of a closet or re-gift.
For a dinner party, bring a special bottle of wine, a jar of interesting olives, a fabulous cheese, or a spectacular sweet that you made yourself or picked up at a local store. Another fun idea is to bring over an unusual pairing of olive oil and vinegar. Artisan oil and vinegar shops are popping up all over the place, and people who work there will be happy to help you pair something that will dress a salad perfectly. Don't be offended if your host doesn't open the bottle during the party or offer your chocolates at the end of dinner. Your gift might not go with the planned menu, or perhaps he or she just wants to save your gift for later.
If your friend is throwing a Christmas open house or a summer celebration, get into the spirit of the party by bringing something that matches the theme. For a Christmas open house, bring a poinsettia or a tiny potted Christmas tree. A beautiful ornament you chose or even made yourself also makes a lovely gift. For a summer party, bring something you know your friend will enjoy using in the hot summer months. Consider a lawn game or a galvanized bucket to hold cold drinks on a hot day.
When gifting your hostess with an indoor decor gift, pick up something you know he or she will love, but probably wouldn't buy. Pick up a beautiful picture frame that they can fill with a memento from the party. Purchase a vase they'll love, and fill it with flowers to create a gift they can enjoy both that night and for many nights to come. A small piece of unusual sculpture art is another appropriate hostess gift. Your host will think of you every time they spot it on their shelf.
Gifts for the Kitchen or Bar
If your friend is throwing a dinner party, a host gift they'll use at the next one is sure to please. Consider gifting them with a gorgeous serving platter or a personalized cutting board. If your friend likes to serve cheese plates at parties, consider giving them a truly special set of cheese servingware or a set of appetizer plates. A friend who fancies themself a true mixologist will love a gift that can grace the bar. Consider a fun ice bucket, an unusual bottle opener, a cocktail shaker, cocktail picks, or a book of drink recipes.