A reader named Sarah emailed me asking if I could do a post on what to bring for a holiday hostess gift at a dinner party or as an overnight guest in someone’s home. I figured we’re all looking for cute and easy holiday hostess gifts this time of year so I loved the idea of sharing my favorites before the holiday season is in full swing! In my dream life, I’m organized enough to have a stockpile of little gifts ready to go for hostess gifts, housewarming parties, and weekend trips. My mom kept a gift closet in our childhood home and I’m always reminded of it when we receive our first holiday party invite of the season!

Sarah specifically asked what to bring besides a bottle of wine, so while that’s a go-to option for me (because really, who doesn’t love wine?!), I rounded up some more creative hostess gifts and others that are easy to stockpile for last-minute invites. And P.S. — How many of you are entertaining this holiday season? I’d love to hear what’s on your calendar as well as any posts you’d like to see here!

holiday hostess gifts on design darling

Cocktail napkins. I used to sell these cheeky cocktail napkins when I had an online boutique and was thrilled to discover they’re available on Waiting on Martha’s website as they’re one of the easiest, most fun, and most versatile gifts to keep on hand. Seriously, you could order five or ten sets knowing you’d be totally prepared for the holiday season and beyond! And if you’re an overnight guest, you could always plan ahead and order monogrammed cocktail napkins like these or these as an extra thoughtful gesture.

Pineapple shot glasses. Another item I used to sell in my online boutique and always a best-seller this time of year. They’re festive, they’re funny, and they show up in a beautiful palm print box that’s ready for immediate gifting. Definitely a good one to keep in your gift closet!

Candle and matches. You can never go wrong with a luxe candle — and bonus points if you remember to include cute matches as well! My favorite candles are Diptyque, Jo Malone, and Nest (and I wouldn’t trust myself to keep them in a gift closet without opening one or two for myself!).

Serving board. If you’re attending a holiday party in someone’s home, there’s a good chance he or she likes to entertain and could always use another serving piece. This marble and wood cheese board would work with a favorite of decorating styles, and you can add a monogram for $9.50!

Fresh flowers. When in doubt, you absolutely cannot go wrong with a bouquet of fresh flowers (or, again, a bottle of wine). It’s great if you can bring them already arranged in a vase so the host or hostess doesn’t have to head straight to the sink when you walk in. If you’re staying overnight in someone’s home, consider upgrading to this monogrammed vase (which I’ve been coveting for years now!).

Christmas ornaments. If you’re attending a Christmas party (or spending the holidays at someone’s home), I love the idea of bringing one or several Christmas ornaments for the hostess to add to her tree. This set of ginger jar ornaments is absolutely darling, but if you’re looking to stock up on a few less expensive options, I also fell in love with this, this, this, and these.

Marble coasters. An affordable gift that you could buy in multiples and that would be a welcome addition to any coffee table.

Anything Sugarfina. These candy sets are as adorable as they are delicious — and I’ll admit that I would never keep them in a gift closet because I would eat absolutely all of them. This holiday box would be a perfect hostess treat or friend gift, while this Christmas candy set would be perfect to give as a weekend guest or to a family member with a serious sweet tooth.

What are your favorite hostess gifts to give? And what gift ideas are you looking for this season? I’m excited to keep the gift guides coming!

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  1. Such lovely ideas, I love taking something a bit different to someones house so it is great to have some new inspiration! Just like your mum, we have a present drawer in our house where we save gifts up ready for occasions like this. It works so well.

    Holly from The Art of Being Holly xo

  2. I also love to give holiday scented candles! I love Candlefish and Nest for something nicer and the ones from Bath and Body Works are really great for the price too!

    Another fun idea for a host/hostess that likes to cook or entertain is some fancy salts or nice butter (maple butter, honey butter) or truffle honey (I recently learned that was a thing and it’s AMAZING with a cheese board).

  3. My roommate and I just moved into a new apt this fall (first time living together) and I thought I’d would be an adorable idea to do a brunch housewarming for all of our girlfriends in the area. I saw the bagel store sells tons of flavors of mini bagels and various types of cream cheese, so I thought we could set up a little bagel bar along with hot foods and of course, mimosas! I’m hoping to make it happen before the holiday season kicks off!


  4. I love these ideas! I am going to be an overnight guest at my boyfriend’s parents house the weekend of Thanksgiving, so this helps me in brainstorming what to bring. This is my first time needing an overnight hostess gift like this! I am thinking I’ll make a pie, in a cute pie plate and tell his mom the plate is hers to keep. And then maybe add flowers or wine! I also really like the serving board or cocktail napkin idea because they are big entertainers!

    Also on this subject, my parents had friends come to stay with them last weekend and my mom’s friend brought a bottle of wine, a fall mum, and a pumpkin roll cake! My mom raved about it, she said it was the perfect combo!

    1. Just want to say that the pie + pie plate combo is an adorable idea! 2 birds / 1 stone. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving.