15 Gifts You Should Never Give Your Host


Believe it or not, bringing the wrong gift can be as bad as showing up to a party or someone’s doorstep empty-handed. While the host may acknowledge your token of appreciation, they might receive it poorly, as good intentions do not necessarily mean great gifts. According to etiquette experts, there are many presents to avoid, such as food, underwear, and scented candles. Whatever you do, never buy these 15 things for a host.



It’s not polite to buy clothes as they might not like the style or it might not fit them well. Everyone has different tastes, so your pick may differ from their favorite. Also, their size might be different from what you choose. Therefore, it’s better to pick something the host can enjoy without worrying.

Decor Items

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Giving decor to someone hosting you could be wrong because you think they’ll like or need it. What if the host has enough, or they already have a specific style or theme in mind for their space? Since decor is a personal expression of individual preference, you’d better avoid it.

Cheap or Low-Quality Items

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Wouldn’t you feel disrespected if someone brought a flimsy wine opener to your event? Quality matters — it shows you put in some effort and value their hospitality. A thoughtful, well-priced gift is better than a cheap item you grabbed off a store shelf. 

Expensive or Luxurious Gifts


An expensive present out of the blue can make a host feel uncomfortable, as they may worry about reciprocating with an equally extravagant gift. It might create an awkward dynamic that may imply you’re trying to outshine others or show off. Even if you have the money, you’ll be doing a lot of good maintaining balance without making them feel indebted.

Items With Strong Scents


Certain scents may not suit a person’s preferences or lifestyle, and this discomfort may make them disregard your token. Also, they might trigger allergies or sensitivities, making the gift more of a burden than a pleasure. For courtesy, consider the individual’s tastes, and if you do not know, give only mildly scented items to be on the safer side.



Though considerable, most artwork is controversial since it’s highly subjective and may not match their taste or the look of their space. What you find beautiful might not please them, making your gift awkward or unwelcome. Choosing more universally appreciated things is safer and less likely to clash with the host’s interests.

Food With Unknown Dietary Restrictions


Avoid buying food with unknown dietary restrictions for a host to prevent potential allergies or discomfort. Also, offering edibles without knowing their nutritional needs could unknowingly harm or embarrass them if they can’t consume them. Moreover, it might inconvenience them if they need to explain their restrictions.



Personal presents can be easily misinterpreted and become awkward, especially when people decide to open them up in public. Even if they are okay with it, you may have bought the wrong color, brand, or style. Likewise, picking the right size can be challenging and might worsen the scenario if it doesn’t fit.

Weight Loss or Fitness Products


Regardless of the thought behind the gift, handing a host a bunch of wellness products can hurt, offend, or embarrass them. It may look like you’re not accepting them as they are, which may strain your relationship. Instead of presenting an insensitive or intrusive present that spoils the goodwill of the gesture, you should go for something more neutral.

Re-Used or Re-Gifted Items


Used items with low quality can seem insincere or lazy. Such gifts may also make the host feel unimportant and undervalued. To succinctly put it, a new and carefully chosen gift demonstrates genuine effort and respect, while a second-rate piece can annoy your host.

Heavy Items

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Buying presents that are too much to handle, manage, or store is inconsiderate without a prior discussion. It’s worse if they live far away because the high cost of transportation may wear them out. In the rule book of good etiquettes, it’s better to stick with lighter, easier-to-manage gifts.

Flowers That Aren’t in a Vase


Gifting is a two-way affair, requiring the giver and receiver to be satisfied. While flowers are sweet and make the host feel loved, scrambling to find a suitable container may water the effect. It could also disrupt the flow of the event if they have to leave to find a vase.



So many things can go wrong when you shove an animal in your host’s face without prior discussion. It can cause stress if they’re not ready to handle the enormous responsibility. Besides allergies, they may not have the time or resources to care for a new pet. 

Cleaning Supplies

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It’s best not to give cleaning supplies to a host as they may think you’re questioning their cleanliness. It could imply that you feel their home isn’t clean enough or that they need help tidying up. Such a gesture could unintentionally offend them, making them feel inadequate or embarrassed. 

Highly Perishable Items that Require Special Care

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Buying perishable stuff compels your host to give their time and resources to maintain the special gift. Presents such as live plants that need attention or extra money on storage or upkeep go against etiquette as it burdens them unnecessarily.


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