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Thanksgiving Host or Hostess Gift Ideas

Updated on March 9, 2014

Family is a Blessing

Hosting any family gathering is not a job for the faint of heart; hosting Thanksgiving is even more difficult because of the high expectations that guests always hold.

Some want pumpkin pie just like their grandmother used to make; others want baked squash with maple syrup or Thanksgiving will be a disaster; still others bicker about the wine, the rolls, the method used to cook the turkey.

Smoothing over all the bumps, making a delicious meal, and actually enjoying the holidays with your family and friends is no small job. Here are some thank you gift ideas for your hard-working host or hostess.

The Gift of Doing

Sometimes the best gift you can give a host is the gift of help. Offer to come a day early and help clean and prepare the house. This is more appropriate if the host is a close friend or family member.

Clean, vacuum, chop vegetables and do some prep cooking. On the day of Thanksgiving, you can help by bringing a side dish, Thanksgiving cookies, or beverages. You can also help prepare food, set out snacks, or set the table.

Better yet, after the meal, you can tackle some dishes.

Would you rather give a physical gift, or the gift of 'doing'?

See results

Preparation is Hard Work


A Gift From Home

If you are visiting another state or region, bring your host a gift from your home. Those from New Hampshire or Vermont can bring a small jug of pure maple syrup. If you are visiting from Georgia, bring a jar of locally made peach preserves. Whatever it is, your host will appreciate the thought and the piece of your home you have brought to their home.


Unless the host is a non-drinker, wine is always a safe gift. You can find great white, red, and dessert wine for well under $20, and even under $10.

To spice up the gift, choose a wine that is locally made, if possible. Try an organic wine or a small bottle of a specialty wine, like ice wine.

If you want to go bigger, bring them a wine gift basket. No matter the size, they're sure to appreciate your thoughtfulness.

When picking out a wine to give, consider not only the tastes of your host or hostess, but also how many people might be at the celebration. If there is going to be a lot of people, maybe opt to buy a couple bottles instead of just one.

In case you are wondering what type of wine goes with turkey, you may want to ask how the turkey will be prepared.

How to Select a Wine:

  1. For a roasted turkey, consider a Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
  2. For a deep fried turkey, consider a Zinfandel or a Chardonnay.
  3. For a smoked turkey, consider Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.

No matter how the turkey is prepared though, keep dry wines for the meal and sweet wines for dessert. I have to credit the amazing Wine Enthusiast blog for this helpful information!!

Holiday Decorations

After Thanksgiving, the mad rush to Christmas begins. You can give your host a nice, gentle start to the hectic season by offering beautiful – preferably handmade, holiday decorations.

A painted gourd tree ornament or a gift-in-a-jar with a cookie recipe and cookie cutter are both practical and thoughtful. Do your research online and find some cute craft ideas that you think your host would enjoy.

Some other ideas might include:

  • Painted gourds
  • Decorated candles
  • Bedazzled platters
  • Jeweled candy dishes
  • A mini fall scarecrow
  • Holiday place mats
  • A wreath or swag
  • Pinecone turkeys

Get the kids involved and make it a fun, family event!

Hostess Crafts


These are classic gifts. Instead of heavily scented candles, you can opt for those made from beeswax. These have a very light, delightful scent that is not cloying and is perfectly appropriate for men and women.

If you know the hostess/host would like something a little more potent, then go for it!

Some of my favorite candles for the fall and winter season are ones that smell with:

  • Spiced Pumpkin
  • Cinnamon
  • French Vanilla
  • Evergreen
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Berries
  • Balsam Tree
  • Autumn Leaves

If you're at a loss for what makes a good candle, find your nearest Yankee Candle store and that should do the trick!

You can also try flameless candles, which are great for those who have pets or children around their home.


Gifts to Think Twice About

Usually, home-baked goods make excellent host and hostess gifts. On Thanksgiving, though, you may want to think twice about this classic. Chances are your host and hostess will be weighed down with leftovers. They may not even want to think about food until Christmas. This is not true of everyone, of course, and a plate full of homemade chocolate chip cookies or a cheesecake may be just want your host wants.

Try a tub of gourmet frozen cookie dough instead so your hosts can eat on their own schedule. Likewise with flowers. He/she may already have decorations and flowers. Consider giving a houseplant instead.

Easy Hostess Gifts

Yes, It Is Necessary

Your host is not skipping the food or the dessert, so do not skip the gift. Many people take the host for granted – especially the good hosts who make it look so easy.

But a thank-you is really an essential step in your celebration, whether the hostess is your sister or the hosts are your significant other's parents.

The worst Thanksgiving gift is no gift at all. Be thoughtful and make sure they are appreciated.


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    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      I really Enjoyed reading your Hub Pickchick...Lots of Wonderful Information, very Useful and a lot of Fun Ideas. I also like the idea of giving a House Plant.

      We are the ones to travel, so I usually bring a "gift" as well as send a little $$ (if a younger Family member is having it). Once there, we always pitch in and Help.

    • janices7 profile image

      Janice S 6 years ago

      Lots of great ideas here. It seems like we end up hosting Thanksgiving most years for my family. Unfortunately, we don't seem to have a lot of do-ers in my family so it is ALOT of work. Not sure how much longer we'll keep doing it unless people start pitching in. When we are invited for Thanksgiving to someone else's house, I usually do a bit of a combo gift with a little something for the hostess to enjoy after the day and an appetizer or snack for everyone to enjoy during the festivities. GREAT hub!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great idea of a hub! So many useful suggestions here. It is definitely important to thank a host for an event like Thanksgiving. I love how you gave different wine ideas for different turkey preparations.

    • Nicole S profile image

      Nicole S Hanson 6 years ago from Minnesota

      I have helped my parents with their Thanksgiving meal every year since they have started hosting. We get together the weekend before and clean the house from top to bottom, including the fridge to make room for food. Then the night before, I go back over and help with the meal. We get everything ready and bright and early Thanksgiving day, I'm there making sure everything gets done.

    • SimpleGiftsofLove profile image

      SimpleGiftsofLove 6 years ago from Colorado

      Exceptional hub. Great ideas, lots of it.

      Up and following...PS I love turkeys cooked with the skin really brown. Yum

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      What a lovely hub, filled with great ideas! I agree that the host/hostess of such an involved gathering as Thanksgiving deserves a gift. Personally, I would love a gift card to a spa to help me de-stress after the event. A bunch of flowers, candle or offer to help is also greatly appreciated. Voted up! Best, Steph