Do I send a thank you note for a hostess gift?

Etiquette for Hostess Gifts

Posted by Liz Taylor Nov 02, 2011

I recently was asked a great etiquette question and thought it was worth sharing:

Dear Liz,

Last weekend, I hosted a dinner party for four couples at my home. Two couples came with a bottle of wine, which I considered a delightful token of their appreciation, and the other two couples brought wrapped gifts. I’ve never encountered this type of hostess gift before. Was I supposed to open the gifts at the party? Also, do I need to send a thank you letter for their gift (I received a salt and pepper shaker set and a personalized guest towel for my bathroom)? I didn’t expect to receive gifts and was thrown by my guests’ generosity.

Seeking help,



Dear Jan,

Receiving a hostess gift at a party can be tricky because you never want another couple to feel embarrassed if they show up empty handed. The best thing to do is thank the couple and tell them you look forward to opening the gift. In the meantime, offer them a drink and tell them where the appetizers are to enjoy.

You needn't send a thank you note, as the gift was given to thank you for the invitation. What you can do is send a text message or phone call the next day thanking them for coming over and mention that you were touched by their gift.




Please feel free to submit etiquette questions; we’d be delighted to hear from you.


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