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Dinner parties are the perfect time to get excited about the gourmet dishes to be served and to decide which gift you will be presenting. A thoughtful gift that is mostly homemade can make you the guest of honor worthy of the feast before you, no matter the occasion. When you are invited to a fete, no matter how formal or casual, a gift is expected – a sign that Emily Post still has influence in the right social circles. Your hosts have gone through at least a few days of planning and preparation, so a token of appreciation ensures an invite to the next party, not just from those throwing the fete, but from other guests as well. What to give yourself the gift of a uniquely stunning home? Start your journey by visiting the Distinctive Collection by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate. Read on to discover which gifts your hosts will treasure for years to come.

The height of rudeness when visiting someone’s home is setting down a drink with nothing underneath. Watermarks can ruin both furniture and your reputation. The gift of coasters complements your host’s goal of entertaining in style. Choose a set that is personalized, with options such as monogrammed initials or prints of their favorite artist’s work. If hosts are partial to particular fabrics, such as felt or velvet, simply cover a cork coaster and sew the fabric on for a unique look.

Herb assortments
Hosts want guests to leave their soiree remembering how delicious the food and conversation were. Give them a gift that enhances food and can be an enjoyable topic of conversation. Harvest herbs from your garden and dry them for a few days to create a dried herb selection. You can place them in glass Mason jars or compact tins. Get creative and decorate the labels in the host’s favorite colors, or take a cue from their home décor style.

Most people would like to be described as well-read. The gift of a book demonstrates that you have taken note of your host’s personality and interests. Whether it be cooking, gardening or the latest book to top The New York Times Bestseller list, this gift will show you have taken the time to be of service to their literary goals. If your hosts have small children, it is also acceptable to gift a childhood favorite. Take the time to write a glowing inscription to mark the date and reason for the celebration.

Convenient bouquets
Flowers are a traditional gift for hosts no matter the occasion. Most hosts love admiring blooms days after the last guest has left their home. However, when food is waiting to be served or pets need to be corralled, finding a vase and trimming stems can be an inconvenience. The sentiment should not be lost, however. Consider harvesting a bouquet from your garden for a personal touch, and instead of presenting the flowers in plastic or paper, select a vase with personality and style. Alternatives include teapots, bowls and carafes. Make sure that the designated vessel fits in with the host’s usual décor.

Breakfast basket
With the event’s focus on feeding everyone else, your hosts are not even thinking about the next morning’s nourishment. An extremely thoughtful gift is a basket of delicious breakfast foods – bonus points if every item is homemade. Start with loaves of bread and add an assortment of toppers. Marmalades from exotic fruits such as kumquats or pomegranates will be welcomed. If going the more traditional route with jams and jellies, select seasonal and local fruits for an environmentally conscious choice. Throw in your hosts’ favorite coffee beans or tea satchels. Line the basket with tea towels and artfully arrange the pieces to be pleasing to your host’s eyes and to give them easy access to the edible accessories.

Bringing scented candles to a catered party is not unlike playing Russian roulette. They may not harmonize with the served dishes and may bring out negative associations for other guests. Opting for safer, unscented selections does not mean your gift has to be dull. Choose tapers in a variety of colors, or at least one of your host’s favorite colors. Handmade votives are always surprising and a sign that you took time to extend gratitude for the invitation. This is also a gift hosts can use for their next dinner party.

Picture frames
Take photos during the event for an after-party gift. Get the snaps printed and placed in designer picture frames. If you are worried about showing up empty handed, bring a small card with a note that informs your hosts that your gift will be delivered in a few days. Then get your camera ready and take as many candid shots as possible, with consideration for when other guests are chewing. When selecting frames, either before or after the party, make sure they will fit in with your host’s décor. While it may be tempting to go with the frames you like best, make sure it is a gift that your host will be pleased to display in their home.

Treating your hosts to the perfect gift is always an adventure in thoughtfulness. Keep in mind that no matter how excited you are, it cannot be expected that any gifts will be opened right away. A thank you card should be put in the mail up to three days after the party has ended. Good manners will always be the perfect gift.