When attending an event at someone's home, there is an unspoken rule among guests -- never show up empty-handed. To put your best foot forward as a guest, you have to show your appreciation to the host or hostess with a gift.
Sure, you can bring a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers. That's nice and all. But if you really want to make an impression and express your gratitude, think outside everyone's go-to cliché gifts. It doesn't have to be hard and you don't have to spend big bucks to give the perfect, unique gift for holidays, dinner gatherings or housewarming parties.
Check out our host and hostess gift guide for ideas and inspiration:
If your host or hostess loves to bake, give them a treat beautifully packaged in a mason jar. Fill the jar with something useful such as honey, coffee beans, sugar or flour so the receiver can turn to it as needed. This useful and simple gift will also double as a cute piece of decor, especially if you tie a ribbon around it or give it a decorative label.
Get the jar from Michaels for $2.99.
Plain dish towels are so drab, and patterned dish towels or decorative tea towels are small touches that can go a long way in the kitchen and are perfect housewarming gifts. If your host or hostess is going for a more rustic or farmhouse vibe, this rooster pattern is for them.
Get it at Crate and Barrel for $5.95.
Don't get stuck on the thought that fake plants are tacky. Caring for living plants is a responsibility and might be an unwelcome burden for the receiver, especially if they live busy lives and don't have time to tend to a plant's sunlight and watering needs. The right artificial plant can spruce up a room with no hassle or mess.
Get it at Target for $5.99.
For the tea-loving host or hostess in your life, a simple but colorful ceramic teapot can be the perfect centerpiece for your next homemade brunch or afternoon tea party and can hold up to 32 ounces of liquid -- about six cups of tea. Bonus points if you include tea or homemade scones with the gift.
Get it at the English Tea Store for $12.49.
Forego the wine bottle and bring wine glasses instead -- bonus points if they play to the host or hostess' personality. For wine lovers who double as Disney enthusiasts, look no further than this Lion King-inspired glass.
Get it on Etsy for $12.50.
Barware is always a good gift for any occasion -- holiday parties, housewarming events or dinner gatherings. Whether the host or hostess dabbles in mixology or just enjoys the casual drink, proper copper mugs are a must for mules.
Where would a chef be without her apron? This colorful garment is a great gift for any hostess who loves to spend her time baking and cooking. Give it as a housewarming gift and she can use it for her next dinner party.
Get it at World Market for $16.99.
A cookbook, such as Chrissy Teigen's Cravings, is a good gift for any holiday or housewarming party. The receiver can learn how to cook Teigen's Instagram-famous breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes. But maybe don't bring it to a dinner party -- you don't want to look like you're insulting the food your hosts are serving you.
A marble wine cooler will class up the kitchen and make the perfect housewarming gift for any host or hostess who loves to entertain. And if your host/hostess isn't a big wine drinker, the cooler can also serve as a beautiful flower vase.
Get it at Crate and Barrel for $24.95.
You can't go wrong with a candle. If you're not sure of your hosts' tastes or the home's color schemes, this gift is a safe move that won't look impersonal. If you're going to a holiday party, choose a holiday scented fragrance to coordinate -- evergreen for Christmas parties, pumpkin spice for autumn, something flowery for spring, etc.
Get it at Yankee Candle for $27.99.
You can never have too many oven mitts. This is a practical, durable gift for any occasion and will be well-used by the receiver.
Get it at Williams-Sonoma for $29.95.
A trendy Himalayan salt lamp will make the perfect housewarming gift for the hip, New Age-y host or hostess. Made totally from natural salt, these lamps are thought to have health benefits including improving the air quality, making it easier to sleep and boosting mood and energy levels.
Get it at Urban Outfitters for $34.
If your host or hostess is always entertaining, a nice carafe would be a great addition to the dining table. This carafe can be used for formal events as well as casual get togethers and will complement any dining ware or barware. You can pretend you're at a French winery without emptying your bank account.
Get it at Pottery Barn for $35.
Does your host/hostess have many leather-bound books and does their home smell of rich mahogany? Bookends are the perfect housewarming gift for any reader. These unique pieces will hold your host or hostess's tome collection together while serving as a eye-catching piece of decor for their bookshelf.
Get it at Anthropologie for $48.
This set of four napkins are perfect for the host or hostess who lives for elegance. Tough the fabric resembles denim, they are made from European linen and the multi-toned coloring comes from the yarns that were dyed separately before leaving. The very presence of these napkins will take your table to the next level.
Get it at Food52 for $48.