Quick & Lovely: Last-Minute Host & Hostess Gifts you can Grab at the Grocery Store

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: BMJ)

Lets face it: The days and hours leading up to a gathering like Thanksgiving or Christmas are usually a little hectic. So if you don’t have time to shop for the perfect gift for your holiday host this year, don’t fret. Here are 20 small gifts that can be picked up at your local supermarket—on the way to the party—for around $20 or less. Plus a few tips to make your gift a little more thoughtful.

(Image credit: Design Mom)

Our Favorite Grocery Store Host & Hostess Gifts:

1. A Good-Looking Tool
A great tip from Design Mom; something like a real wooden brush makes for a hip hotess gift tied with a nice ribbon.

2. Old-Fashioned Candy
A little nostalgia goes a long way.

3. A Cutting Board & A Few Artisanal Cheeses

4. Some Cute Kitchen Towels

5. Gourmet Nuts or Dried Fruit

6. Freshly Baked Bread, Biscuits or Pastries

7. Fresh Ground Coffee Beans + Flavored Syrups
A do-it-yourself barista kit.

8. Scented Candles

9. A Potted Plant: Check the florist or home & garden section for a stylish planter already filled with easy-to-care for flowers or succulents.

10. A Box of Blank Note Cards

11. Party Supplies
Think cute paper napkins or cocktail picks; your host loves to entertain, right?

12. A Cookbook
For extra credit, bookmark one recipe and present the book in a basket with a few of its ingredients.

13. A Magazine Subscription
Grab the latest issue of their favorite mag and tear the subscription card out for yourself to fill out on their behalf after the party; gift it together with a greeting card that says “Hope you enjoy a year of Real Simple!

14. A Jar of Gourmet Jam

(Image credit: Howkapow)

15. Locally-Made Sauces
Salsa and BBQ sauce are always favorites.

16. Exotic Spices

17. A Nice Bottle of Olive Oil or Balsamic Vinegar
Surprise them with the good stuff; it’s something most people don’t ever splurge on.

18. High-End Sea Salt: A few of these together can fill up a gift basket.

19. A Whole Pineapple: Creative and appropriate; pineapples are symbols of welcoming (you’ll see them on front doors in New England).

20. Craft Beer or Wine: It’s a classic for a reason. Cheers!

Tips for Grocery-Store Gift Giving:

  • It’s all about presentation. Before you leave grab a basket or bag, and a nice ribbon. Don’t be afraid to open and re-pack whatever you pick up. Take biscuits or pastries out of the bag or box and wrap them in a cute tea towel instead.
  • Local beats mass-produced. Grocery stores are getting in the artisan game. Check the labels for something locally-produced before reaching for a national brand.
  • Packaging is important. You know how you sometimes choose a bottle of wine because it has a great label? Do the same for jam, candles, olive oil or anything else on this list.
  • If last-minute gifts are a habit, stock a small kit in your car with a spool of ribbon, gift tags, a few small baskets, cellophane bags and a pair of scissors.

Re-edited from a post originally published 11.18.2014 – TW