Gift Ideas: For the Host/Hostess

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Whether you are spending time as a faraway friend's house guest or invited to a special dinner party just down the road, bringing a small gift for the host or hostess is a thoughtful way to thank them for their time, effort and hospitality. Etiquette suggests bringing such a thank-you gift for any overnight stay or for parties or other events in which you expect the host has made a special effort to prepare for your visit.

What constitutes an appropriate gift? Something small (generally $35 or less) and useful to the host. Avoid gifts that will add to the hostess' workload, such as flowers she will have to find a vase for on the spot. Avoid bringing food to meals, too, unless you've arranged to do so in advance and the host is expecting your additional dish.

A bottle of wine has long been the go-to gift, but it's just one option. For guests who know their hosts well and know their tastes, consider a modest, useful gift that complements their home decor: