In our series “Holidays Unboxed,” we offer gift guides showcasing products that guarantee smiles. Here, we recommend the perfect gifts for the Thanksgiving host, which they will certainly be thankful for.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – American author William Arthur Ward

We have busy lives with endless to-do lists, and last year’s holidays didn’t follow normal traditions. This year, a semblance of normalcy has returned for most people. Thanksgiving, our yearly dedicated day for being thankful, is just what we need to refocus on what’s truly important in our lives: the friends and family who make our days go round and make our lives meaningful.

Wherever you spend your Thanksgiving this year, you can express your gratitude with a thoughtful gift for your host — whether it is your mom, your best friend, or your neighbor. Here, we offer 12 ideas of the perfect gifts for doing just that.

Picture of flowers hostess gift


Flowers are a lovely pick-me-up for anyone who receives them. However, your host may already have her floral arrangements planned for the big event. One idea is to consider sending them the next day or the following week as a post-party thank you. If you’d rather bring them on the actual day of Thanksgiving, call the host in advance and let her know that you’d like to bring a bouquet. If she does want a centerpiece or a bouquet for her front hall, find out where she’ll place the flowers, and the colors she prefers. These Thanksgiving flowers are made with bright oranges, reds, and yellows — perfect for the season. Anyone is sure to add a festive feel to Thanksgiving dinner.

Picture of personalized mason jar hostess gifts

Gifts for Entertaining

Give your Thanksgiving host some new accessories to use for entertaining. For example, a bar tool kithand-painted wine glasses, or a super chic wine chiller that doubles as a lantern are all thank you presents that the host is likely never to splurge on for himself. Does the host love beer? Personalized mason jar glasses are a unique take on a beer mug.

Picture of olive oils for a Thanksgiving host gift.

Fine Olive Oil

Chefs say that using top-quality olive oil makes a noticeable difference in your cooking or for dipping your bread — but it can be expensive. It can be hard to justify the cost when there are other good options. That’s why buying some fine olive oil can be the perfect present for your Thanksgiving host! You can also add a little recipe card: Pour the olive oil over high-quality goat cheese and sprinkle chopped mixed herbs on top for a delicious dip with crackers or a baguette.

Picture of kitchen towels to give the Thanksgiving host

Kitchen Linens

Kitchens can always use new linens. They get stained and soiled quickly, and they’re not an item chefs tend to buy for themselves. For inspiration, start by thinking about the color of your host’s kitchen, colors that they like to wear, or linens that you may have seen in their home already. That will give you an idea of what types of linens to buy. You can’t go wrong with classic ivory and black kitchen towel set. Accompany this with an apron and oven mitt.

Picture of a wine gift set to give a host gift


Wine is the classic host gift. You can never have enough wine in the cabinet or cellar. Both whites and reds can accompany a Thanksgiving dinner, so buy a few bottles of both. Pop in a wine corkscrew or cocktail napkins to make this gift more substantial.

Picture of a candy crate


Dinner is up to the host, but dessert can be on you. First, ask in advance if it’s ok if you bring dessert and if the host would like you to bring a piecake, or even a tray of candyfruit, and/or chocolates. It doesn’t matter if you make the item yourself – taking some of the responsibility and pressure off of the host is a Thanksgiving gift within itself.

Picture of soaps for hostess gift

Powder Room Amenity

Homeowners might skip the splurge on pretty soaps and hand lotion sets, but they are a nice treat to have in the guest bath. Go with a universal fragrance like lavender or a scent that won’t be overwhelming for the nose. Fall- and winter-inspired scents can be an homage to the season and are a way to “decorate” the bath for the holidays.

Picture of coffee cakes


How nice would it be to not think about feeding people again the day after hosting Thanksgiving, especially if the host is welcoming guests from out of town for an overnight? Breakfast basket ideas could include baked goods such as cinnamon rolls, juices, even sausage and cheese casseroles, and coffee cake! Indulge your host with fine coffee or tea and they can even use them to accompany the post-Thanksgiving dessert time.

Picture of lavender spa gift set

Spa Kit

After accomplishing the feat of Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends, the host needs some time to wind down. Create a “Treat Yourself” spa kit containing bath salts, soap, lotion, essential oils, lip balm, a mask, a loofah, and a candle — or any combination of personal care items. Pop in a gift certificate for a massage or a nail treatment if it’s a group gift. And then hope that she takes a chance to use it!

Picture of herb garden trip host gift


Plants keep giving for weeks, months — sometimes even years. They will remind the recipient of you every time the host waters it. Herb plants have additional bonuses for their scent and are great to help the cook flavor their meals. A money treesucculentherb container, or a rosemary tree in the shape of a pine tree are all special greens to brighten the host’s home.

Picture of a gardener folding seat with tools

Helping Hand

Your Thanksgiving host will appreciate an offer of assistance. Taking on the responsibility of cooking for a large group can be overwhelming, so any help you can provide may be greatly appreciated — just be sure to abide by the host’s wishes, so ask where you might be needed. If it’s a family gathering, a promise to help on the day after Thanksgiving by cutting down the Christmas tree, hanging lights, cleaning and organizing the garage, taking boxes of decorations down from the attic, raking leaves, and light gardening work — all could be a relief to the host. Many hands make light work!

Picture of a thank you note for purchase

Thank You Note

People don’t tend to put pen to paper in our digital age. A thoughtfully written note on beautiful stationery or a card mailed to the recipient will bring a smile to his face when picking up the daily stash from the mailbox. A note of gratitude detailing what you love about the person and their celebration may be more meaningful to them than any tangible item.


Elizabeth Craig Wells is a former senior editor at Real Simple magazine where she focused on the Life, Style, and Simple Solutions sections. She writes for magazines, websites, and catalogs, and recently edited a 50-year history for an international women’s organization. Wells holds a B.A. in French and B.M. in flute performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She lives with her three children in Connecticut where she coaches soccer and tennis and is working on a series of contemporary novels.

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