Don't ~ Decor!
Resist the table napkins. Unless they've literally never lived anywhere before, they probably have a drawer full of dinner napkins. How do I know this? Because it's entirely likely you also have a drawer full of dinner napkins. And I bet you didn't buy most of them for yourself, did ya?
The longer someone has lived somewhere, the worse a decor-based gift will be. Over time, we tend to accumulate more clutter, so someone who has lived in the same house for 35 years probably has less need for a coaster than someone who has just bought their first home.
Housewarming gifts are a specific type of host gift, but unless specifically asked or you know you know the person well enough, decor is still a don't. Picking out the items that go in your space can be a very personal, and when you give someone something that they can keep forever, there's definitely some expectation that they will keep it, at least for a respectable amount of time. Though well intentioned ~ every time someone comes to dinner they leave something I'm supposed to keep for the next 20 years.
If you do see something you think they'll really like, send them a link, take a picture, and resist the table napkins.
Idea: A Slowdown Studio blanket wouldn't make a great host gift. It's too big, too extravagant, and too many to choose from. We love them, but we'd also want to pick ours out, ourselves.
Do ~ Something that can be finished
If you want something kitchen themed, but don't want to add to someone's clutter or napkin drawer, something food-adjacent could be a great middleground. Try Diaspora Co. spices, one of our eclectic teas.
Edible gifts are a great way to introduce someone to something you think they'll like without beholding them to anything.
This actually doesn't have to be exclusive to the kitchen, though that's where we tend to think for host gifts. A candle, shower steamers, even a book or mindfullness journal make for a nice gift.
Idea: 2-3 spices + a candle (a nice coaster here wouldn't be unwelcome!)
Do ~ Bring something that can be used at the gathering
Everyone loves a party favor! If it's a gathering instead of getting something exclusively for the hosts, bring something everyone can enjoy! Conversation cards, a pack of cocktail bitters, a brain teasing rocket puzzle ~ you are never too old for a good game!
Idea: take a fun mocktail recipe (the more simple the better), and a bottle of Seedlip to try. Perfect for hosts who don't drink but love to entertain!
The biggest pitfalls of host gifts is going too big. You're bringing something to bring something ~ no one likes showing up empty handed! But the goal isn't to completely knock it out of the park. Save that for birthdays, anniversaries, really special occasions. The best host gifts are a little something. A small jar of spices here, a fun blooming flower tea there. Sometimes the art of gifting is really in its simplicity.