16 perfect (and perfectly affordable) hostess gift ideas

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Hopefully this season is full of fun gatherings for you and your friends.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think it can be a little stressful trying to figure out what to bring as a hostess gift. Of course, there’s always the old bottle of wine standby. But I like to try to push myself to get beyond that and bring a gift that shows a little creativity and flair…but without breaking the bank.

You know what always gets me unstuck? A list. Yep – it’s true. So I thought, “hey Sarah, why not make a visual list of good ideas for yourself so you can come back to this over the next few years for inspiration and links!”

So without further ado – here is a great list of 16 amazing gifts that cost about the same as a decent bottle of wine but are just so much more fabulous!

Elegant Candle Pot

Any elegant candle is going to make a lovely gift. But I especially love that the purchase of this particular etched candle pot from Pottery Barn benefits St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. On sale now for $22.50.

Chalkboard Jar

A half-gallon jar – with chalkboard label already painted on from Pier 1 costs $10. You could fill this with homemade cookies or Hershey’s kisses and it would be immediately useful! Plus your hostess can re-use it throughout the year in about a gazillion different ways.

A Potted Herb in a Monogrammed Mug

Take this adorable $6 monogrammed mug from Anthropologie, fill it with a little potting soil, plant an herb and voila, you’ve got an amazing & thoughtful gift. Small scissors aren’t even necessary in my opinion! {idea + instructions by a girl who makes}

Jam and Bread

As readers might know, I’m a raspberry jam addict. I make my own from scratch every August (use this super easy recipe). If I were a good girl, rather than hoard the jam jars for me me me, I could share some! Might be better on my waistline too. Leave it to the elves at Martha to figure out how to wrap it all elegantly! There are lots of pretty linen kitchen towels at Overstock.com.

Serving Utensils with a Pop of Color

I don’t know about you, but I could never have enough serving utensils. I just never seem to have enough, especially when it comes to dinner parties. So, IMO, these make a perfect hostess gift – she might even be able to use them right away! For about $3 you can make your own, following this awesome tutorial on Collect & Carry. But even if you’re pinched for time, for about $12 you can pick up a set of these adorable ones

from West Elm.

Alphabet Mugs

Really, mugs of any kind are a great gift. They’re always useful, especially during hot chocolate season! And if you can find some really cute ones, like these from Pottery Barn for $10, your hostess will think of you daily as she sips her coffee or tea.

Bundt Pan with Apron + Recipe

How cute is this idea, courtesy of Coordinately Yours? A simple bundt pan, like this lovely $11 blue one from Sears, with an apron rolled up inside (which I’d say is optional if you’re on a tight budget – but there are very cute ones for $15 at Target) and a favorite recipe, like this one for Monkey Bread that Julie has kindly made int a free printable for everyone.

Gourmet Olive Oil

Who says the bottle you bring has to have alcohol in it? I know I’d be thrilled to get a bottle of something like this. I’d probably never buy it for myself, but would enjoy cooking with it very much! The bottle pictured is $21 from O&Co.

Personalized Coasters

A hostess can never have too many coasters, that is for sure! These darling ones from wh hostess are sold in a set of 25, come in a variety of seasonal prints, can be personalized AND are only $15!

Seasonal Spice Mixes

Whip up three batches of spices that your hostess with the mostest can use to make mulled wine, pumpkin pie and chili in the coming weeks and months. Package them in small, matching bell jars and tie with twine and you’ve got one great gift for a foodie. {spice mix recipe + image via mixing bowl kids}

Paperwhite in a Jar

There is almost nothing more beautiful than watching a paperwhite transform from big brown bulb to drop-dead-gorgeous winter white flower. Put them in a spare planter or in a recycled jam jar – they are so beautiful they don’t need fancy pots to contain them. You can get 10 bulbs for $9.99 on Amazon.com. Then follow this tutorial on Wenderly to put yours together.

Personalized Canvas Tote

For a few dollars and a little elbow grease, you can make your own. Follow these straightforward instructions from It’s Great to Be Home to make one as pictured. Or hop on over to Etsy and order one to be made for you for $15.

A Fun Bottle Opener

Add a little whimsy to her party with a fun bottle opener she can put to use immediately! This fun mustache version is only $12 at Fred Flare and it opens both beer bottles AND wine bottles!

Special Soap and Lotion

Extra special soap & lotion for the powder room is one little luxury that almost can’t be beat. If you can splurge, the Naran Jari Hand Lotion from Molton Brown is just divine – but at $28 might be a tad on the expensive side. Another great option I got once as a hostess gift and now am completely addicted: White Citrus foaming soap from Bath & Body Works. You can grab 3 for $15. Wrap them up in a little cellophane and ribbon and your hostess will thank you for months to come.

Breakfast Basket

The morning after hosting a party can be tough! Set your hostess up with a thoughtful breakfast basket filled with banana bread, honey butter and coffee. Get the complete step-by-step instructions at Everyday Occasions. Find a cute basket lying around your house or grab one at Target for $7.99.

Monogrammed Wine Stopper

It’s possible that all the wine opened during the party won’t be completely consumed (I know it’s a stretch, but work with me here)! Make it last longer with these personalized wine stoppers from Plow and Hearth. They look like a million bucks, but only cost $9.99 – and if you get them right now, they’ll only cost you $7.99 as they are on sale.

What’s your favorite hostess gift to give (or to get)?