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hostess gifts: overnight guest

July 22, 2013


Summer is in full swing my friends, which means its time to take everyone up on their offers to “visit us anytime!”

Especially the ones that live in exotic locales and more temperate climates.

Its 100 degrees in Houston right now.


But seriously, if you’re headed off to visit a friend or family member, be a dear and thank them properly for their hospitality.

Here are a few of my favorite gifts to bring when Whitney and I are staying with someone:

Caramel Cake from Caroline’s Cake

I’ve written about the amazing caramel cakes from Caroline’s Cakes before and I stand by my assessment that it is the most delicious cake on earth.  The layers of cake are delicate and not overly sweet, which pairs perfectly with the sugary caramel frosting.

Send this cake ahead of your arrival and your guests will welcome you with open arms.

State-Shaped Cutting Board and Cheese


There’s a cutting board for every state in the union (though Hawaii and Maryland seem like they’d be impossible to actually use) and they make the perfect personalized gift.  Swing by a grocery store on your way into town and pick up some good cheese and you’re set.

I think this gift is a win because its the best of both worlds — something to eat and something the hosts can hang on to for a long time.  And if you manage not to burn down their house while visiting, they will probably think of you and smile fondly each time they pull it out.

Paella Kit


I actually bought this kit for myself before ever purchasing it as a gift.  I was overwhelmed by the idea of making paella and wanted some of the work done for me.  As it turns out, the hype is absurd — paella is easy and infinitely customizable according to your tastes.

If your hosts are foodies, they’ll love this kit.  Kick it up a notch by offering to make paella for everyone during your stay.

Drink Kit



This is a great substitute for the all-too-common bottle of wine gift.  If your hosts are adventurous, put together a fun cocktail basket with the ingredients for a speciality drink.  A Moscow Mule is fun because you can include the copper mugs in which the drink is famously served.

Be sure to write the recipe down and stick it in the basket so your hosts can continue to recreate the drink long after you’re gone.

Here’s how to make a Moscow Mule:
Fill the mug three quarters full with crushed ice.  Squeeze half of a lime over the ice then add 2 oz. vodka.  Pour 4-5 oz. ginger beer over the ice and give it a quick stir before serving.  Garnish with a slice of lime.

If you don’t feel like creating a drink kit on your own, send the Summer Sipper from Mouth.  It includes artisan cocktail mixes that everyone will be dying to try.

Popcorn Kit


Visiting a popcorn lover?  Pack up a basket with a jar of heirloom kernels, some good grapeseed oil, and this cute popcorn spice kit.  It includes twelve seasonings that put the popcorn over the top — including caramel, barbecue, dark chocolate, garlic, jalapeño, kettle corn, parmesan, salt & vinegar, and cajun.

The components don’t take up much room, so you can pack it in your luggage without sacrificing too much space or weight!

This may not be as important to some of you, but I’ve had to use all of my wily charms the last few times I have flown so that the ticketing agent doesn’t charge me for my bag, which I can never quite get below 51.5 pounds.

I can handle the charges for extra legroom, in-flight snacks and DirecTV, but please dear God let me pack 60 pounds for a long weekend without having to cough up cash. 

Zingerman’s Weekender


The Weekender is an easy way to cover all of your bases.  This fun box is filled with a loaf of Zingerman’s artisan bread, a tin of Virginia peanuts, a walnut-studded magic brownie, a pecan blondie, Smooch Lion natural gummis, Belgian butter cookies, a ginger jump-up molasses cookie, John Macy’s cheesesticks, a couple jars of British preserves, and a sour cream coffee cake.

Also check out Mouth and Dean & Deluca, which both have a great selection of gift baskets curated for all tastes.


No matter what you choose to bring, the best hostess gift of all is a thank you note!

What are your favorite gifts to bring when you visit someone overnight?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathleen Cooper permalink
    July 22, 2013 9:58 am

    Katie, you can stay with me anytime!!!!

    Kathleen F Cooper Forte Grove 24430 Ory Avenue Plaquemine, LA 70764 225.687.3026 225.266.9479 Fax 1.888.491.9253

  2. Mom permalink
    July 22, 2013 10:25 am

    Love your ideas!

  3. Audrey Smith permalink
    July 22, 2013 3:36 pm

    These are really great ideas! I’m always at a loss for what to give a hostess.

    I’d also be interested to read your thoughts on different gifts for hostesses of different types of occasions. Once I gave the hostess of a Thanksgiving dinner some nice olive oil in a fancy cruet ($5-$10), and she absolutely loved it. In the future it would be fun to infuse it with rosemary or garlic ahead of time for an extra special touch.

    • July 22, 2013 4:00 pm

      Audrey! Love that idea! Check back next Monday — I’m planning to do another post with ideas for dinner party hosts.

  4. Simone Nugent permalink
    July 22, 2013 10:08 pm

    Katiie, please start working on Christmas gifts for the person that has everything.

  5. Margaret permalink
    August 29, 2013 1:08 pm

    I’m heading out of town today to stay with a friend and I’m picking up the Texas cheese board before I head to the airport! I came by to check out your ideas and remembered I saw the cutting board at Whole Earth Provisions! Thanks Katie!


  1. hostess gifts: dinner guest | Is there any wine left?
  2. hostess gifts: homemade | Is there any wine left?

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