Whether it’s a dinner party or an upcoming holiday event, bringing a gift to the hostess is a great way to show thanks for the occasion. But choosing the perfect gift for the hostess can sometimes be a bit difficult, especially when other guests are also bringing gifts. For some great ideas, party planner Samantha Spector, of San Francisco-based Milk & Honey Special Events ,offers the following great suggestions when picking out host/hostess gifts this season. What makes many of these gifts attractive is that most are from locally owned businesses.

Samantha Spector (Credit, Milk and Honey Special Events)

Samantha Spector
Milk and Honey Special Events
3042 Pierce St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 489-0409

It’s all about variety

“Unless you know your host’s or hostess’ taste very well, it’s always a gamble to buy them something scented or decorative for their home. I recommend sticking with a sampler or something with a variety to maximize your chances of getting it right. I love Diptyque’s set of three mini candles, especially its Pomander (a spicy winter scent), Figuier (fig tree) and Feu de Bois (firewood) scents. You can select your own trio from the collection of mini candles or buy the current seasonal sampler.” (Diptyque Paris, set of three mini candles $90).

Related: Best Florists In San Francisco To Get A Holiday Poinsettia

Hudson Grace Napkins (Credit, Milk and Honey Events)


Give something stylish they can put to good use while entertaining in the future


“You know they like to entertain, right? It’s probably a pretty safe bet that they would like something they can utilize the next time they have people over. Cocktail napkins are a classic hostess gift, but put a fun, modern twist on the traditional gift by giving a roll of detachable, disposable cotton napkins from Hudson Grace. Paired with a bottle of wine, this makes a great gift. Or go with a set of Hudson Grace’s linen napkins – they have a large range of fresh colors. You could give them alone, tied with some twine or nice ribbon or pair them with a bottle wine or cocktail stirrers.” (Hudson Grace, detachable roll of cotton cocktail napkins, $27/50 napkins; linen napkins, $18 each).

Return the favor

“They treated you, so treat them to breakfast the next morning by giving them a basket of pastries. Try double bacon maple biscuits from Biscuit Bender, a bottle of Biscuit Bender’s honey butter and coffee beans from Blue Bottle. Both Biscuit Bender and Blue Bottle are located in the Ferry Building, so you can pick them up in one trip. Other biscuit flavors Biscuit Bender has on its menu include cinnamon bun and Mexican hot chocolate.” (Biscuit Bender half-dozen box, $17; Blue Bottle coffee beans, $19-$25).

Recchuiuti’s S’mores Kit (Credit, Milk and Honey Events)

Can’t go wrong with something sweet

“The possibilities are endless when it comes to finding a gourmet treat in San Francisco. My favorite hostess gifts in the sweets department are the S’mores Kit from Recchiuti Chocolates or a box of macarons from Chantal Guillon on Hayes Street. Recchiuti’s high-end chocolates are a San Francisco favorite, with locations in the Ferry Building and the Dogpatch. Chantal Guillon’s flavors include red velvet, earl grey, salted caramel and many others.” (Recchiuti S’mores Kit, $24; Chantal Guillon, box of 12 macarons, $22).

Make things easy for your hostess

“When you give flowers, your host has to drop what they are doing and scramble to get a vase with water ready. Give a gift that involves no work, like a beautiful vase with flowers already inside. Or have them delivered ahead of time, earlier in the day. I love the arrangements from BloomThat, a company that creates hand-crafted flower arrangements and delivers them for free the same day within the city. They use local flowers and have only six or so options, all very beautifully packaged, so it doesn’t take a long time to make a decision.” (BloomThat arrangements range from $25-$60).

Related: Ask A Bay Area Expert: Shopping For Home Decor On A Budget

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.