Look, we love a bottle of wine as much as the next hostess (maybe more — jury is still out on that), but the fact of the matter is: Sometimes you need a little something more for your hostess. You need something that her guests aren’t just going to help themselves to around hour three of the party. You need hostess gifts in your reserves that will make any hostess remember how fabulous you are long after the last guest leaves.
Our list of 11 hostess gifts will wow your next hostess, no matter how big the bash is — from a low-key brunch to the most lavish promotion reception or holiday party base housing can accommodate.
Where are our ’90s kids at? Think back to that heartwarming scene in Home Alone 2 when Mr. Duncan lets Kevin choose an ornament off the Christmas tree to show his appreciation for Kevin’s donation. What does he suggest? The turtle doves — and Kevin’s response of “I can have two?” applies to these beautiful Sasa Loo Shisa ornaments as well.
Plus, can we please talk about how these two linen ornaments won’t break during your next PCS? The woman behind all the beautiful Sasa Loo creations is a military spouse herself who lived in Okinawa. She gets the need for non-breakable heirlooms that can outlast the moves, stand up to years of kids helping with the ornament packing and unpacking, and represent a bittersweet Christmas overseas.
Whether you are in Japan together now, you know she spent a tour in Japan, or you spent a tour in Japan and want to share the legend of Shisa, this gift will stand out from other hostess gifts and be a reminder of your friendship for years to come.
BUY IT HERE: Sasa Loo Shisa Ornament Pair
Sometimes you want personalized hostess gifts, but no one this side of Martha Stewart has time to whip up a personalized present while you’re trying to put your face on before a party.
We’ll let you in on a little secret of ours: You can give personalized gifts without the last-minute scramble. Cover Love’s collection of location pillows can help you give hostess gifts that you know she doesn’t already have while gifting a cozy, useful memento of your duty station and the time you spent there together.
Our absolute favorites are the longitude and latitude pillows (use the base or town coordinates) and the ZIP code pillows. They are duty-station-specific without being as in your face as a throw pillow that says I heart Camp Lejeune!
Joanna Gaines would approve of these oatmeal or ivory linen throw pillows. They are the perfect compliment to any color scheme and blend in flawlessly with a rustic, farmhouse, or coastal chic decor (or, you know, the blank canvas of those infamous white walls).
BUY IT HERE: Cover Love Location Pillows
3. Betsy Hackett Greeting Cards and Stamps
Any hostess worth her weight in cocktail napkins knows the importance of correspondence and she always has a stockpile of blank stationery at the ready. Any time we have the chance to personalize stationary and support the talent of a fellow military spouse, you can sign us up.
Betsy Hackett (you may know her as Something Betsy) creates gorgeous watercolor prints of scenes of home — whether that’s the front gate of your current installation, familiar landscapes, patriotically waving flags, or kids at play.
Her fabulous art that we know and love is available in greeting card form. You can surprise your hostess with a 10- or 25-pack of cards displaying your current front gate or crossed U.S. and service flags and — because we also appreciate the gift of convenience — toss in a book of stamps.
BUY IT HERE: Betsy Hackett Greeting Cards
OK, we all know we should put the phone away and be in the moment, but we’re also all guilty of checking our phones to escape a lull in the face-to-face social scene. Sure, it’s easier to turn our attention to Facebook or Instagram than it is to power through small talk with an almost-stranger, but that’s not how you find your milspouse tribe. That’s not how you network. That’s not how you tune into what people really need or what they’re really going through. And, it’s certainly not how you show appreciation to your hostess for opening her home, providing a sweet spread of food, and covering the cleanup.
Crate Your Phone is the hostess gift that doubles as a little tough love for guests. From here on out, the hostess can have a phone station set up to collect phones in this rustic wooden crate — setting it up near an outlet also makes it a charging station which means she can use it even after the party is over.
Your hostess will thank you, and you might just start a trend in your circle or unit.
BUY IT HERE: Crate Your Phone
Tea towels are a perfect go-to hostess gift, as long as they’re like next-level tea towels with the perfect balance of durability, wit, and allusions to military life. Not to mention — you can even use the tea towel as wrapping or a bow for a consumable gift (you know — like the kind you won’t find on this list, but are still appreciated…cough…vino…cough, cough).
Nomadic Nation reminds us that we don’t have to have airplanes everywhere to display our pride in our aviators. (Do you hear us, pilots?) With our personal favorite tea towel that reads: “An aviator and a normal person live here,” it will be clear to anyone passing through the kitchen of your hostess that — yeah — she’s proud of her aviator, but she also keeps that pilot grounded.
Nomadic Nation offers non-aviator-themed towels as well, and you can buy towels in a set or individually. Purchasing a set could be a great way to stock up on assorted hostess gifts.
BUY IT HERE: Nomadic Nation Tea Towels
Letter boards aren’t just for diners anymore. And, they aren’t just black and white anymore — although, there’s nothing wrong with a classic.
Your hostess can use and reuse a letterboard at each function she hosts — spelling out quotes and phrases that apply to the theme of the party or the season. If you need some text inspo, read on. How about:
- Valentine’s Day — Love is in the air. But, so is the flu, so wash your hands.
- July 4 cookout — Party like it’s 1776.
- Fall — Ah, fall, when all the bugs return to hell where they belong
- Holiday cookie exchange — Today’s high was 48. The low was eating all the cookies.
- Christmas — I’m gonna go lie under the Christmas tree to remind my family that I’m a gift.
- New Year’s — Alexa, take down the Christmas decorations.
- A midweek function — It’s Thursday, or as I like to call it: day four of the hostage situation.
The letter board can also be used on a food table to provide a little information about dishes or a side of snark.
BUY IT HERE: Felt Letter Board
Don’t you just love gifts that are dual-purpose? Like, Cat Studio glassware, for example — guests can drink from them, but they’re also great conversation starters (which you might need if your phone is in a crate).
Cat Studio glasses are frosted 15-ounce tumblers with vibrant colors that you can’t help but get caught up in. Say you’re stationed in Texas, buy a few. Keep them on hand for hostess gifts (obviously reserving one for yourself because someone has to look out for number one). You’re giving a gift that can be used again and again that serves as a memory from the duty station and — you’re welcome to the friends and family of the hostess — this becomes a collectible, so anywhere this hostess goes, there’s a great gift idea just served up on a platter for everyone.
Cat Studio has tumblers for each of the military services, each state, many major cities and national parks, a thorough collegiate collection, and glasses for many big occasions, like Christmas and the Kentucky Derby. As long as you know either where your hostess is now (come on, that’s a gimmie), where she’s been stationed, her hometown, or her university, you have all kinds of options for hostess gifts at Cat Studio.
Pro tip: They ship to APO, DPO, and FPO addresses.
BUY IT HERE: Cat Studio Glasses
First impressions are crucial for a hostess. What hostess wouldn’t appreciate a gift that will help her start each function to follow on the right foot? (Ears up, you’re about to step on a subtle pun.)
Give your hostess some front-porch flair, the perfect first impression for guests, and something that says “Welcome Home” anytime she sees it. Give her a doormat from Nine to Wine Designs.
Browsing through the inventory on Etsy, we want them all, but we can’t help but wonder if all the doormats is an excessive number. But, with a doormat for every occasion and plenty that appeal to the introvert, animal lover, wine connoisseur, you’ll be adding them to your cart like, “One for them, one for me…”
Help your hostess prepare future guests for exactly what they’re about to walk into when they party at her house. Help her say Welcome while you say I totally get your sarcastic humor, and I’m a fan.
BUY IT HERE: Doormat from Nine to Wine Designs
Let’s get into the scary side of hosting a party: cleanup. Most of us don’t even like doing the dishes for our own families on a regular Tuesday, so cleaning up after a house full of people, loading a dishwasher, and moving all the leftovers to the fridge can be enough to make you just want to give up and PCS now.
But, who is going to come to the aid of that tired hostess in the fourth quarter? You know who — it’s you! Hostess gifts can be cute, funny, or delicious, but how many will actually help you with the dishes?
These stretch silicone lids are reusable, and they stretch to fit a wide range of bowl sizes. They are dishwasher and freezer safe and can make any bowl in the fridge stackable — your plastic wrap and foil can’t do that.
When the goal is to get the food into the fridge as soon as possible so your hostess can kick her feet up and enjoy either your company or some solitude that pairs well with pinot after you leave, give her these lids.
BUY IT HERE: ModFamily Stretch Silicone Lids
We know you don’t technically have to come bearing hostess gifts, but why miss a chance to show someone how much you appreciate them? Plus, she’ll be so thankful that you put so much thought into such a special gift that she’ll fill pour more wine into your glass than everybody else’s.
See, everybody wins!
Need gift inspiration beyond go-to hostess gifts? We call them our Holiday Gift Guides, but we promise it’s OK to give these gifts any day of the year.