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Best Holiday Hostess Gifts

By Isabel Kallman

Last year we wrote about our favorite hostess gifts for cocktail parties, dinner parties and holiday open houses. We also highlighted some of our favorite types of gifts: drink coasters, unique matchbox sets, salt and pepper shakers, and fun family gifts.
This year, we have a list that we’ve been compiling all year long. Here are some of our favorites:

Whiskey Stones

These whiskey stones are ideal for putting a slight chill in your malt. Or, freeze the cubes to add cold to any drink without diluting it. Brilliant! This is particularly perfect if you’re attending a cocktail party, though etiquette says that no gift is necessary.

Non-stick Edge Brownie Pan

The blog world fell in love with this brownie pan last year and has touted it as “the best new thing” which makes for great description of a hostess gift. This one will guarantee yourself a return invite.


You can never go wrong with a book and there’s bound to be something useful for your host in Show Me How: 500 Things You Should Know.
Unique Pencils

A great way to start off the new year is with freshly sharpened pencils and your sense of humor intact. These mustache pencils will look beautiful with a big ribbon tied around the pack. (via Swiss Miss)
NY Times Puzzle with Obama
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You can have almost any NY Times cover made into a high quality 400-piece jigsaw puzzle at Hammacher Schlemmer. We think the November 5th cover is just perfect. This would make a great Holiday Open House gift.
Christmas Tree Ornaments

A Christmas tree ornament is a very nice hostess gift, especially when attending a cocktail party. Here are a couple that are very flexible in design:
This reusable ornament by Method Home does double-duty as it’s filled with wood-scented potpourri.
This photoball ornament will mix in with the color scheme of any Christmas tree. (via Mighty Junior)
A Bottle of Wine

Let’s be honest, a bottle of wine is not the most creative host gift. But, the Holiday season is crazy busy and picking up a wine is easy and, at the end of the day, still a very nice gesture.
If you’re going to go the wine route, consider dressing up your gift:
Find the striped hat and scarf set at the Sundance Catalog.
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Stock up on these irreverent wine tags. Heck, you’ll be looking for excuses to gift wine bottles to your hosts. Check out popptags for more swigs of funny.

Visit Hostess Gifts and Etiquette from last year.


Published November 24, 2008. Last updated August 21, 2013.
Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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  • meghan

    November 24, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Could you provide a link for the Whiskey Stones? This would be a perfect gift for my dad.
    (The link is fixed. Thank you for pointing that out.)

  • sarah

    November 18, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    great suggestions! i hope y’all update this list for 2009. for anyone interested, has several of these items on their website (in fact they blogged about the whiskey stones a couple of weeks ago). they also twittered about their hostess gift guide today and feature a cordless serving tray that keeps your entrees/appetizers warm or cold at your desired temperature. other interesting items worthy of purchase are designer wine bottle openers, cool cutting boards (like one made a chalkboard where you can write the names of cheeses next to each, etc), and herb gardens. it’s definitely worth a look! here’s the link:

  • Paris Coddington

    December 2, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Fantastic ideas. I’m definitely going to try the striped hat and scarf set. I received a pretty nice hostess gift on thanksgiving….a bottle of Meursault White Burgandy (my favorite!), assorted dark belgium chocolates and batter blaster organic pancake batter. I have never tried batter blaster before but my kids are dying to use it because it comes in a spray bottle like whipped cream. I guess that’s good for me because it means there will be no mess.