If you're stumped about whether you should bring a gift or not, always err on the side of generosity. What cocktail hostess wouldn't appreciate a delightful little addition to the kitchen from one of her guests? Let the gift match the occasion, and you'll be right on track.
Cocktail Party or Holiday Open House
Though not necessary, especially if you are close friends with the host or hostess, bringing a small gift along to informal occasions such as a cocktail party or open house is a wonderful way to thank them for their hospitality. It's not a time to be showy, but a great time to choose something that says 'thanks' in a fun and casual manner. A Folk Flora Rolling Pin or Chalkboard Spice Jars are both delightful small gifts that would be perfect for such an occasion.
Holiday Dinner Party
It takes a lot of effort to pull together a formal dinner, especially around the holidays. Express your gratitude with a unique gift your host or hostess can enjoy year-round. These Hedgehog Measuring Cups are an adorable addition to any kitchen. Though they're so cute you'll want to leave them out on display, they also nest inside one another for easy storage. We also love the cupcake-covered Baker's Delight Apron for its retro graphics and cute cut.
Weekend with Friends
Being a houseguest calls for something a little more special than a bouquet of flowers or a scented candle. Bring along a carefully chosen home or kitchen accent, such as Anthropologie's Wise Ol' Canister. This Italian-made, bright orange cookie jar adds a bright, quirky punch that is perfect for friends with eclectic or vintage tastes. If your weekend hosts have more subdued decor, consider bringing along some accent tableware, such as this Piecrust Dinnerware. Rimmed with geometric pastry-inspired patters, these dishes are sweet as pie.
Whatever you decide to give, present it in style. For casual occasions, "wrapping" can be as simple as tying a pretty ribbon or colorful twine around the gift so the host or hostess doesn't feel obligated to stop and unwrap your gift while they are busy welcoming other guests and making final preparations. For bigger gifts, get creative with wrapping paper alternatives or have the gift professionally wrapped in-store.