How To: Pick a Totally Memorable Hostess Gift for Anyone

Graphic designer and lifestyle blogger Mrs. Lilien knows a thing or two about gifting. (We expect nothing less from a woman who loves monogramming. “I would monogram every single thing in my house if it seemed appropriate.”) A proponent of personalized, fun and charismatic prezzies that wow your giftee, we had to ask for her best tips on what to bring when you’re a guest, no matter how well you know the hostess.

The Acquaintance

I like to leave a “whoa, cool!” impression in this situation. Something like a little sterling silver swan that holds your rings or a vase of the highest order; basically something really classic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be expensive. I’m a huge fan of really nice linen spray, like Williams Sonoma’s, or a classy scented candle that makes me feel like a million bucks. You’re safe with lavender or eucalyptus scents—something neutral that can work for either gender.

Birchbox Recommends: Delicate and deliciously-scented Caldrea Hand Soap— these luxe hand washes (which are totally gentleman friendly) add a touch of class to any bathroom.

The Good Friend

If I know the person well, and know I can push them a bit, I’ll go to a favorite vintage source and put together an outfit for them with amazing clip-on earrings. Or, I love giving a pair of really elevated panties or a bra from a place like La Perla—walking that edge between cheeky and naughty. Why not make a person blush? They won’t expect that.

Birchbox Recommends: If you’re not feeling quite so sassy, you’ll never go wrong with a cutting edge, tech-savvy gift like this innovative wine-opener, stopper and spout from Quirky.

The Work Colleague

I would go to Williams Sonoma and get a super awesome bundt cake pan. Then, I’d put boxes of Jell-O paired with a bottle of expensive champagne inside of it, so they can make an amazing grownup Jell-O mold. I love introducing people to a new idea that helps them loosen up and have fun, then spell out how they can use it. You know—keep the pan, do it again, invite the neighbors and have a ball.

Birchbox Recommends: For an equally adventurous and brightly-colored gift, we like lime green, cuddly-soft Echo Design beach towels.

The In-Laws

I would do something outrageous but totally cool. I like His and Hers matching Brooks Brothers V-neck sweaters, with their initials monogrammed on the chest, or His and Hers slippers. I love to gift, but I don’t like to gift very many times. I just send one thing, that’s nice and awesome and perfect. I’d rather get something great than something marginal that’s predictable.

Birchbox recommends: If you’re not quite at in-law level, stay classy and moderately priced, with a fancy scented candle like Atelier Cologne’s.

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