8 awesome gift ideas to bring a gracious hostess

TotalBeauty.com

By TotalBeauty.com

Were you taught to never go to someone's house empty-handed? While Miss Manners says this isn't a rule per se (she's more of a thank-you-note-after kind of gal), a hostess gift is still a nice gesture. Especially after you've taken over someone's couch for a weekend, raided her fridge, and accidentally spilled wine on her formerly pristine sofa.

Now, your first thought may be to go the standard (read: boring) route with your gift. You could buy a houseplant, but she'll feel guilty when it inevitably dies. Or a scented candle, but her bathroom's already full of them. Or perhaps a bottle of wine, but really, how unoriginal is that. A better option? One of these unique gift ideas. There's something here for every occasion, from a co-worker's cousin's party where you barely know the hostess, to a weeklong stay at your best friend's house. Keep reading to see which one you should show up with.

For your weekend-getaway hostess
The gift:
21 Drops The Weekender Trio, $75

For a girls' weekend at her place, get your gal pal this aromatherapy trio. It has a blend to help her sleep (ideal for when your snoring might keep her up), a hangover blend (perfect after a wild night out), and a passion blend (which she can use for hookups after you head home).

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For the perpetually busy hostess
The gift:
Drybar Happy Hair Gift Certificate

You probably have an overachiever friend who's planning a party on top of a million other obligations. Somehow she manages to always pull it off, but it doesn't leave her much time to primp. Which is a shame because a hostess should look stunning — not stressed — at her own fete. Help her out by giving her a gift certificate before the party for a blowout from a salon like Drybar or any salon in your area that offers the service. This way, even if she leaves everything else to the last minute, her hair will still look fabulous.

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For the hostess you barely know
The gift:
Alighiero Campostrini Soap, $10 each

When you're invited to a party thrown by a friend of a friend, soap is always a safe bet. After all, everyone uses it — and pretty ones like these spruce up any bathroom. Plus, they're inexpensive enough that you can buy a variety of scents — everything from Violet and Tuberose to Poppy and Chili Pepper — so she's bound to keep at least one of them and can re-gift the rest.

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For the stressed-out hostess of a kids' holiday party
The gift:
A healthy frozen meal

After corralling a group of children all hopped up on candy canes and ginger snaps, the last thing this hostess wants to do is cook. So help her out with a ready-to-serve meal. You can make almost anything as long as it's easy to freeze and reheat, but we especially like this turkey-spinach lasagna recipe from "Cooking Light." To make it as a gift, just assemble the lasagna but instead of baking it, freeze it. Then give it to your busy-mom friend with a fresh baguette and baking instructions.

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For your ski-cabin-sharing bud
The gift: 
Kiss My Face The Outdoor Collection, $49

If you're lucky enough to have a pal that invites you to stay at her cabin for some a snow-filled weekend, repay the favor with a beauty gift she can use right away. This outdoor collection has an SPF 30 lip balm, SPF 30 sunscreen, an SPF 15 moisturizer, an SPF 50 sports spray, and shower and bath gel to relax sore, tight muscles.

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For your friend with a twisted sense of humor
The gift:
Poo-Pourri, $14.95

This toilet bowl deodorizer is one of those things that no one would buy for themselves, but everyone could use. Plus, it's the perfect thing for your funny pal to set out for future guests. Of course, Poo-Pourri is not something you can give to just any hostess. You'll want to save it for a close friend, one who will get that this is a gag gift (but a useful one nonetheless).

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For the host you can't thank enough
The gift:
Lush My Fair Lady Gift Set, $59.95

She let you crash on her couch, take over her bathroom with all of your overflowing bag of hair products, and didn't even flinch when your roller bag scuffed her wood floors. You can begin to thank her with this massive gift set. It comes in a beautiful hatbox and is filled with Lush favorites like Creamed Almond and Coconut Shower Smoothie, Smitten Hand Cream, and Charity Pot. Bonus: You can let her know that $8.50 of the price goes to Lush's Charity Pot fund, which donates to charities that fight for animal rights and environmental causes.

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For the glam party hostess
The gift:
Urban Decay Showboat Nail Kit, $28, or SpaRitual Cuticle Fix Holiday Gift Set, $30

For those hoping to make a really good impression, give your hostess one of these gifts before her party. She'll be hugging people and shaking hands, so a flawless manicure is a must. If she needs some basic TLC for her hands, the SpaRitual kit will help. It has two cuticle products, one to treat damaged cuticles and the other to hydrate dry cuticles, a nail growth product, and a sanitizable eco-friendly nail file. If her hands are already in decent shape, the Urban Decay kit will give her fun polish options — the perfect finishing touch for any party.

Now that the hostess is happy, how about finding the perfect present for the rest of the loved ones on your holiday shopping list.

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