Thanksgiving Hostess Gift Ideas
jupiterimagesAs you arrive at the home of family and friends, with greetings of "Happy Thanksgiving!," what gift do you hand to your host or hostess, beyond the usual wine or flowers? Or, if you're the one hosting the big meal, what do you enjoy receiving? Do you have a clever, go-to present that's a little off the beaten path, yet always a hit?
KitchenDaily readers shared their ideas for practical yet pleasing hostess gifts for Thanksgiving.
Skip the "stuff" and say thank you with an activity, event, or service: A certificate for a reservation at a local tennis court, a round of golf, or a day of skiing; tickets for a concert, sporting event, or movie; a certificate for a day's cleaning service or a spa treatment. -- Nancy Munro
For years, our extended family ate on card tables, covered in mismatched linens. Gift idea: Crisp linens -- an extra tablecloth, runner, or set of cloth napkins. Simple white. Tie a pretty rust-colored ribbon around them. Also, when it's time to light the candles, I often can't find matches -- I would pull at my overstuffed kitchen junk drawer and forage through heaps of batteries, pens, and take-out menus. Gift idea: An automatic lighter with two pretty autumn candles. -- Tracy Ryan
A great way to tell a host or hostess how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness is a simple note card describing how much you appreciate having them in your life. You can also include a gift card to their favorite coffee shop or store. -- Susan Haase
After consuming all the turkey, dressing and pie, the last thing that I want the following night is more turkey. Also, I definitely do not want to stand in front of the stove or oven to cook more. One year, a Thanksgiving guest gave us a Pizza Hut gift card with a note: "Put your feet up and relax. Dinner is on us." It was such a great idea to order out Friday night. There was no cooking, dishes or clean-up. I was very grateful and have used the pizza gift card idea often. -- Cristine Struble
One of the best gifts that I can receive is help in the kitchen! So often, people will say, "Is there anything I can help you with?" but they're just being polite. The most useful tool anyone can have in the kitchen is a dedicated helper who can stir, prep, chop, or even run to the store if need be. I am certainly hoping someone will give me the gift of a little help in the kitchen this year, so the holiday can go as smoothly as possible. -- Billie Criswell
I know you're not supposed to bring a hostess flowers because then she needs to find a vase, but this is a festive solution: Cut the top off and scoop out all of the insides of a small pie (sugar) pumpkin. I set a small plastic cup with a little water inside. Then, you just add whatever beautiful autumn flowers you would like -- fall is such a pretty time for flowers that even if you just pick up a bouquet from your local grocery store, it will look great in the little pie pumpkin vase. -- Julie Wainscott
I make homemade wine tags to tell wine glasses apart at our friends' house. A budget of $25 creates 8 tags. Use 1/2 or 3/4 inch diameter earring hoops as the base, and 6 to 10 beads per tag. Vary the size and type of beads and use a different charm for each hoop. This is a time to coordinate, not match -- I've used flamingos and flip flop charms for a friend with a tiki bar theme. To make the tags, string a stopper bead, add a few beads, hang the charm in the center and finish off with a few more beads and a stopper. It's only a 1 hour time commitment (30 minutes shopping, 30 minutes creating), and no special tools or craft skills required! -- Stephanie Gonzales
One of my favorite gifts I've given away in the past is a vintage serving dish. There are literally hundreds to choose from (online and in local markets) in all different prints, styles and colors, making it easy to choose a dish that best speaks to the hostess's personality. If I'm lucky, I'll find a matching serving spoon and give it as a set. It's a gift that's both practical and fun. After all, you can never have too many serving dishes and the hostess can use it right away, as well! -- Wendy Gould
When I'm traveling from Ohio to visit my far-flung Thanksgiving, I take along a few local/regional items I know my family members miss. Nothing really compares to Bob Evans sausage, for instance; and our holiday isn't complete without several boxes of Esther Price candy. And in memory of our Dad, apple cider from one of our local fruit farms. The distance doesn't seem so great when we have these gifts, unique to our own family and so special to us. -- Darla Rademachir
I like to present a gift bag with things that he or she could enjoy after the company has left. For a woman the bag might include bubble bath, dark chocolate and a good book. For a man the bag could contain a DVD movie, a bag of popcorn and bottle of his favorite soda or beer. If a husband and wife both share the cooking, I bring a bag for each of them! If I don't know the host well, I bring an apron with a wooden spoon or fork tied on top. -- Donna George
To help out the hostess, I usually bring a small basket containing the ingredients for a quick meal for after the holiday mayhem. I throw in a jar of pasta sauce (that I've made, canned and frozen myself), some fresh pasta, and olive oil for dipping bread. This way, no one has to think about what's for dinner after all those leftovers have gone home with your guests. (You can only hope, right?) -- Carrie Capili
You'll earn four stars for anything that doesn't require immediate attention and bonus points for a gift that's fun, indulgent, and personally thoughtful, such as the latest issue of Vogue Italia for a fashionista or a half dozen exquisite chocolates for the connoisseur. For the bachelor who tackles Thanksgiving on his own, try a cookbook of his favorite cuisine, an unusual imported beer, or something related to his hobby. I once scored a huge hit with a fishing lure. Not that I know anything about lures, but the man at the store did. -- Susan Waggoner
Even if your host has allergies or sensitivities, a simple beeswax pillar candle dressed up with ribbon or a spray of dried herbs can make a nice gift. Undyed and unscented, beeswax has a natural honey-like scent and pleasant golden color. Best of all, beeswax is a renewable resource, and you can find them in a variety of shapes and designs. -- Jecca VanDerBeck
Whenever I'm invited to a party, instead of bringing the usual bottle of wine or candle, I bring soup fixings in a jar. I use a standard size mason jar and fill it with a basic ingredients for a delicious soup. For example, a hearty lentil soup begins with putting one pack of lentils into the jar, followed by basil, garlic powder, onion powder, dried carrots and top the jar with rice. These item simply go into boiling water and you have a delicious soup. -- Rainbow Bracey
The Thanksgiving host has to cook and clean like a crazy person and entertain everyone all at once. So why not do them a favor and make them a home made game of pin the feathers on the turkey. Buy some construction paper and cut out two circles for the body and head, a red beak and multiple colored tail feathers. The shapes don't need to be perfect. Or just bring construction paper and let the kids cut out the shapes. This will keep them busy for hours. Use scotch tape or sticky glue dots so it comes off easy. The perfect hostess gift -- keeping the kids busy! -- MaryAnn Peters
In a twist on the usual hostess gift of flowers, I give herb bouquets in pretty, little vases. I make cuttings from my herb plants, but you can also find packages of fresh herbs in most grocery stores. Arrange them nicely in a small vase, keeping the leaves out of the water. You can use one variety or make a bouquet of several kinds of herbs. Rosemary, basil, sage and mint work beautifully. Loosely tie a ribbon around the herb bouquet. Your hostess doesn't have to take time out to find a container and can enjoy the aroma and sparkle that fresh herbs give to meals for up to two weeks. -- Maria Christensen
I wrap up a plate of homemade cinnamon buns and pair it with a bag of specialty coffee. When handing it to the hostess before Thanksgiving dinner, my message of thanks is simple: "you've cooked enough for a while -- breakfast is on me." -- Erin McWiz
Give thanks by allowing yourself to be a gift to your hostess and others! Put your apron on, take orders, take out the trash, do whatever is asked of you. Or take charge -- tell your grandmother to sit down and take a break. Have your family members set the table and help set out food. Give your hostess a hug and kiss. Surprise the host with more pies! You can never run out of pie! -- Jennifer Ragland
Hosting Thanksgiving guests is worthy of a special hostess gift, but the standard gifts of food, wine or flowers often create additional work for the hostess as she tries to integrate the gift into her dinner party. Forget the usual gifts and choose something thoughtful and unique for the hostess to enjoy after the party. Try these thoughtful gift ideas to secure your place on next year's guest list.
Try bringing pet treats. Even the most beloved family pet is often isolated during the Thanksgiving meal. Acknowledge the furry family member by bringing a special treat for him. Try gourmet lollipops or cookies for dogs; cats enjoy simple plush toys such as mice. -- Vanessa Urzua
A simple and economic gift is to go to a garden shop and get several small clay pots and saucers, a small bag of dirt and some bulbs. I purchase these 4 to 6 weeks before the holidays begin and plant one bulb per small pot. With minimal cost and effort I have pretty, fragrant, paper whites, Amaryllis, lavender (not a bulb, true) or see what you find. I tie a ribbon around each pot and bring one, or a collection, for my host. -- Susan Marque
If you know your host well enough, a CD or playlist of music that she can pop in can help establish a lively mood for the party. As with any big dinner, the dishes stack up afterwards: She may appreciate some luxurious hand soap and lotion. -- Monica Wiedel-Lubinski
My recommendation is to purchase a gift for the next holiday. Thanksgiving is the gateway to Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's, so I usually bring Christmas-themed coasters, a festive holly wreath, or a great bottle of Champagne. I make sure to include a little note saying "do not open until Christmas/New Year's/etc." This gift idea has been a hit because there's no pressure for the hostess to attend to the gift immediately, and it usually takes care of something that she would have eventually purchased herself. -- Jennifer Griffin
If I am having trouble deciding on a present and the Thanksgiving dinner is going to be a large gathering, I purchase a popular board game. It's perfect entertainment after a full day of eating, and it's a great way to get to know some of the other guests. It can also help break the awkward silences that can occur at family functions. -- Michelle Berstein
More Thanksgiving Recipes and Tips:
- See all our Thanksgiving menus and cooking tips here.
- Get more delicious turkey recipes.
- Looking for an adorable Thanksgiving dessert? Check out these turkey cupcakes.
- Get Thanksgiving crafts, decorations and entertaining tips from Holidash.