top of page

The Do's and Don'ts of Entertaining Etiquette: A Hostess Gift Guide for The Gracious Guest


A table setting for 6 with housewares, flora and a living plant wall.
I've saved you a seat, right next to the host!

It is time for us to raise a toast to the host, with a glass lovingly filled to the brim with entertaining etiquette that sparkles, sponsored by Bachman's Floral, Home and Garden. As your host at The Plant Penthouse (hello, dear friend), this is the most gracious gift I could ever receive. Cheers to that!


To Gift, or Not to Gift?

When gracing the treasured threshold of a friend's abode, expressing appreciation for their heartfelt hospitality need not become an extraordinary escapade…or a costly conundrum. In the realm of host or hostess gift selections, an array of options is available to you. But don’t just take my word for it! The age-old authority on all things etiquette and civility, the Emily Post Institute, advises that, “Wine [or NA sips], flowers, specialty food items, and small items for the house all make good hostess gifts."


If the occasion calls for a dinner party, The Emily Post Institue suggests "Gift possibilities include wine, Champagne, flowers (preferably in a vase), a potted plant, chocolates, specialty food items such as jams and jellies or other condiments, fancy nuts, olives, olive oil or vinegar, or items for the house, such as cocktail napkins, guest soaps and lotions , a picture frame, or a scented candle. A CD or book is also appropriate if you know your host’s taste.” Following their guidelines, guests usually are expected to bring a hostess gift, unless they are close friends who dine together frequently. Similarly, for larger, formal functions where you are not well acquainted with the host, the Institute educates that gifts are not usually taken. As your honorary professor for this curriculum, 'all of the above' applies to this test question. If I were writing the rules on this matter, I would pen: may discretion be your northstar.


"Gift possibilities include wine, Champagne, flowers (preferably in a vase), a potted plant, chocolates, specialty food items such as jams and jellies or other condiments, fancy nuts, olives, olive oil or vinegar, or items for the house, such as cocktail napkins, guest soaps and lotions , a picture frame, or a scented candle. A CD or book is also appropriate if you know your host’s taste.

Now that the experts have spoken, let's go shopping for gift ideas! Here's to bringing home inspiration to be the most gracious guest garnering gratifying gifts. Your exquisite etiquette already has you at the top of my guest list.



Idea #1 - Fine Florals and Foliage


Let's start with a household staple for gifting at The Plant Penthouse: flora! From fresh florals to potted plants of all shapes and sizes, might I suggest one of these botanical beauties for your next gifting go-round? Seasonal trees like lemon cypress or Norfolk Pines make for a soirée sensation; while a bountiful bouquet is a classic wink of appreciation in this realm of social graces. Speaking of social graces, if I gift in this category, I will pair a neutral pot or vase to complete the set - because the last thing we want to do is create one more to-do for our host (...who has already done the most).



Idea #2 - Beverage Bliss



Here's a way to keep your host saying 'cheers' long after the last guest has departed. Whether teas or tinctures, cocktails or mocktails, gifting to your hosts preferences is a surefire way to quench any palate. If I am gifting in the beverage category and want to play it safe, I will opt for an herbal tea selection - because we could all use more relaxation - particularly after party planning. Beverage mixes are also another opportunity to 'complete the set'. Does the package call for a specialty item you know the average host will not possess...in excess? Doing the legwork is what makes you the gracious guest we know and love (...and also prevents a present fit for the top shelf).



Idea #3 - Books and Brainteasers



While puzzles are allowed to be perplexing, your gifting does not have to be! Jigsaw puzzles, memory games, and bookshelf beauties are oh-so wonderful for a relaxing, and mindful activity to bestow upon your host. And yes, a few of these came home with me. 'Tis the season!




Idea #4 - Specialty Foods to Savor



As the Emily Post Institue instructs, "specialty food items such as jams and jellies or other condiments, fancy nuts, olives, olive oil or vinegar" are lovely additions to a hosting pantry. Pairing these with the respective serving dish is a thoughtful way to show that you appreciate the little details as well.




Idea #5 - Spa-Like Pleasantries



I think we all know that host most deserving of a spa day. While a reservation may be just out of reach, I have an alternate idea that comes in a close second. Luxurious soap, lotion and candle pairings with color coordinating notebooks are one of my most-loved means to honor my host with moments for mindfulness.



Meet You at the Checkout Line



And there you have it, dear readers – the gift guide to honor your hostess with the mostess! As we bid adieu (and you head off to that dazzling dinner), the invitation is always adressed for you to leave a comment below! May your holiday gatherings be sprinkled with laughter, love, and the delightful drum of conversation amongst friends old and new.


Remember, it's not just about the presents, but your spectacular presence. So, go forth with festive spirit, armed with gifts that speak volumes without saying a word. Here's to celebrating the season with warmth, gratitude, and a reason for the season. Cheers to good company and the joy of giving!


Female in dress with shopping cart filled with plants at greenhouse garden center
Until next time! Big Hugs, Always.

xx Shayla

 

The Plant Penthouse is a flora-inspired interiors and lifestyle brand founded by Minnesota native, Shayla Owodunni. Since Shayla's early days as a boisterous kindergartner insistent on wearing neon knee-highs with brightly-printed dresses, curating vibrant juxtapositions (like a tropical oasis in Minneapolis) has become a joy-filled way of life.


Through plant care education, home décor inspiration and tastemaking tidbits, this is our residence to reimagine ‘posh’ penthouse concepts for life’s everyday moments—because here, we believe there is opulence to embrace in each dwelling space; regardless of size, location or circumstance.


Shayla has contributed to The Jason Show, Twin Cities Live, Artful Living, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and Wit & Delight; with features by HGTV, HomeGoods, Apartment Therapy, Star Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal.


Comments


bottom of page