My Go-To Hostess Gifts (with World Market)

My Go-To Hostess Gifts (with World Market)

I get a lot of etiquette questions in my inbox, and a common subject is hostess gifts: should you bring a hostess gift? And if so, what should you bring?

Well, hostess gifts aren’t necessary, but they’re awfully nice. It’s a thoughtful gesture that’s not hard to do, so why not take your friend a little something to enjoy after the party (or the weekend, if you’re traveling) is over?

I like to give practical gifts–but really nice versions of those things. I might take her coffee or tea–but it’ll be a stellar brand. Or maybe I’ll choose special soaps or candles–but they’ll be very high quality ones. Specialty food items, stationery, and pretty dish towels are go-to items for me. And I always like to throw in something for the rest of the family to enjoy, too.

Recently I had the opportunity to put together a hostess gift at my local World Market. They have a great selection of specialty foods, fun housewares, and beautiful gifty items–the kinds of things that make great hostess gifts.

Right now, World Market has pop-up shops in their stores featuring items inspired by the new Life as Pi movie. (It’s “the story of an Indian boy named Pi, a zookeeper’s son, who survives a disaster at sea and is thrown into an epic journey. While adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with another a fearsome Bengal tiger.” You can watch the trailer here.)

I needed a hostess gift for a college friend who loves movies and loves to travel, so I thought she’d enjoy an Indian-inspired basket of goodies. I think it’s nice to include something that the whole family can enjoy, so I had her husband and two young daughters in mind while I was shopping.

I started in the Life as Pi shop, choosing Mango Black Tea from the Republic of Tea. (I hadn’t tried this special Life of Pi flavor before, but hey had some brewed up for sampling, so I knew it was good!) I also chose plain Chai tea, and added in some mango chutney since it’s an Indian specialty and pops up in all kinds of holiday recipes.

Candles are another of my go-to hostess gifts, so I browsed the shelves outside the pop-up shop to find the right scents for this basket: Indian Tamarind and Indian Sandalwood. I thought the husband would appreciate that these scents are nice but not super-feminine.

The Life of Pi shop had some charming items stationery-type items that I knew my friend would love. I chose several handmade elephant notecards for her, then selected these sweet doll-topped pencils and bejeweled trinket boxes for her daughters.

World Market is known for on-trend, inexpensive accessories, and the ones in the Life as Pi shop didn’t disappoint. I chose a set of gold bangles for my friend.

World Market has a huge variety of gift-wrapping supplies–baskets, raffia, and the like–so I chose the right-sized basket for my goodies. But instead of taking it all home to put it together myself, I used the complementary gift-wrapping services at the store. After paying for my items, a World Market employee took all the tags off for me, stuffed the basket with raffia, arranged everything more attractively than I ever could have, and tied it all up with a bow.

I’ve had to hide the basket from my own girls, because they’ve had a hard time keeping their hands off it! I think that means I chose a good gift.

World Market is hosting a Life of Pi Sweepstakes, so head on over to enter. (I would love it if one of my readers won!)

  • Grand Prize package includes: a dream trip for 2 to India and a $1,000 World Market gift card. There will also be 3 runner up prize winners that will each receive a $500 World Market gift card!
  • The Life of Pi Sweepstakes runs from 11/17 – 12/28.
  • If you share the sweepstakes with 5 of your friends (via FB share or email) you can receive 5 additional bonus entries. This is part of the registration process when entering. Users can also enter daily for more chances to win.
  • Enter online at or

You can find World Market on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but all my opinions are my own.

Do you like to do hostess gifts? What do you usually bring?

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  1. Jennifer H says:

    If you don’t mind sharing, how much was all of this, and is it indicative of what you normally spend on a hostess gift? I don’t get invited to parties often, but recently was stumped when it came to what to get and spend. I love this basket idea at World Market, and I’m definitely stealing it, now that I know they will put it together for me for free!

    • Anne says:

      Jennifer, the basket and contents ran about $75, though everything I bought was full price (so unlike me!) and I forgot to use the coupon in my purse!

      I would spend that much if we were overnight guests in someone’s home for a few days, but I would never spend that much if we were just going for dinner or a party. To go to a party, I might take some homemade spiced nuts and a bottle of wine, or some favorite coffees and teas, or some nice soaps and candles. Depending on the occasion I typically spend $10-$25, depending on the event, how well we know them, and if they’re entertaining grown-ups only or my whole crazy family of 6 🙂

      I hope that helps! (And btw the basket itself at World Market was only $4.)

  2. Tim says:

    We love World Market as well as The Republic of Tea, Anne. Your hostess gift adventures there sound like a fun trip. My own recent foray at WM ended in a successful set of gifts for my clerk and bailiff here in chambers.

  3. Love this post! I had no idea that World Market did gift wrapping. I also like to give something extra nice for a hostess gift. I’ve given flowers, candles, ornaments (during the holidays), and even super-girly cleaning gloves. A bottle of wine can be nice, too.

    • Anne says:

      Leslie, I go to World Market all the time, and I didn’t realize they did the gift basket assembly either. I asked them, is this a new service for the holidays? and they said, nope, we’ve always done it. I think maybe I finally noticed the giant sign that said “FREE GIFT BASKET ASSEMBLY” because I went to the store specifically for that purpose–I had gift baskets on the brain that day!

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