Perfect Host Gifts on Any Budget

07/10/2012 07:20 pm ET | Updated Sep 09, 2012

For Women & Co., by Helen Jane Hearn,

I give host gifts as a token of my appreciation for an invitation to an event hosted by friends. These gifts are always fun for me to select, as they fall outside the regular grocery, gas and bill-paying grind. When I give myself permission to choose a little luxury for my friends, anticipating their reaction is my favorite part! I suggest the following host gifts for a dinner party or evening cocktail fete.

Low Budget: $20 or Less
An extra dash of creativity elevates the low-budget host gift. If your hosts don't drink alcohol, this is the perfect occasion to bring artisan-crafted root beers or ginger beers, and you can pair sodas in glass bottles with striped paper straws for a vintage feel.

I find that my hosts always appreciate packs of inexpensive note cards customized with artwork from me or my children. I can find a wide variety of note cards that express my host's taste at this budget level, and pair them with a good quality pen for additional thoughtfulness points.

Classic board games are another one of my favorite budget host gifts to give or receive. Often, the host will break out the game after the meal to get guests interacting!

Mid Budget: $20-$50
The most ubiquitous dinner party host gift, wine, can be found in a wide variety of prices. For host gifts, I know I can always find quality wine in the $20-50 range. When I make the effort to seek out a wine shop and speak with a salesperson, I always learn something to help my future wine decisions. Most wine shop salespeople will enthusiastically guide me to the right bottle for my hosts. Make sure to mention to hosts when presenting the wine whether it's to be stored for another time. Often, hosts will have already selected the wine for the dinner party ahead of time.

For dinner party host gifts, I also like to bring quality versions of kitchen staples. High-end dishtowels, wooden spoons and other cooking utensils are welcome gifts for discriminating foodies. Along these lines, hosts also appreciate a coveted cookbook for a cuisine that they enjoy. Check bestseller lists for current popular cookbook titles.

High Budget: $50 and Over
Hosts generally don't expect big budget gifts, but for a truly special evening, it's fun to indulge. My staple big budget host gift is a luxury bottle of sparkling wine. Champagne is a welcome gift for hosts to keep on hand for future celebrations. A lovely non-Champagne gift option is a quality serving, cutting or cheese board. Pay attention to their taste and style to make the perfect selection.

Gifts for before or after the party are also a wonderful idea. The biggest reaction I've received for a host gift was after sending a beautiful flower arrangement the home of the host to arrive the morning of the party. Yet another thoughtful gift is a gift certificate for a cleaning service to save your hosts time on party clean up.

Host gifts are a thoughtful way to show your party hosts that you truly appreciate their effort. Don't forget to reciprocate; inviting your host to a future event is a thoughtful way to keep the good times rolling!

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