Southern Hospitality & Guest Etiquette

***Disclaimer: I don't mean to say that you have to be southern to be warm and hospitable! But being from the South its a trait I've grown up around, and a trait we're known for, so I went with it as a theme for this week! ***


As the daughter of the “preacher’s son and the farmers daughter,”  I grew up knowing a few guidelines for when i'm a guest or a host.  So with holiday season coming up, I wanted to do a quick guide to Southern Hospitality & Host Gifts. While I was brainstorming ideas for a "Southern Hospitality" post, I asked my mom her thoughts on the importance of being a hospitable host or gracious guest, especially coming from a long line of Southern women, and I wanted to share what she said: 

I grew up in the south. I was surrounded by strong, kind southern women and they raised me to be giving of my time and always to strive to open my home to friends and family. My Grandfather was a pastor, people knew that my grandparents home was open to all. My Grandmother taught me to always have food you could pull out in case of visitors! I have fond memories of watching and helping my grandmother make biscuits and cakes to have each day, "just in case". I sometimes go overboard with food when we are entertaining, but it makes me happy to have people sitting around the kitchen or living room, laughing, talking and enjoying being together. They also taught me it isn't about the gift but the thoughtfulness behind it. A thank you card with heart felt words, a home baked pie or cake or a basket of tomatoes or apples is just as nice as a hand picked vase of flowers, chocolates or a gift card. All gifts given or received are a touch of hospitality that lets the host ot guest know they are appreciated. And of course, gifts for host or guest were never required or expected, it was just a nice gesture to welcome or thank.

  • Keep the room cozy:

Along with clean sheets and plenty of pillows, its nice to include an extra blanket or two in the room(depending on how many guests are coming!) I have a few different types of lights in the room too, that way the guest can make it as bright or low-lit as they like! 


Gather a few “essentials” in case your guests forget something. You know how in hotels its really nice when they have a few little toiletries(shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc.)? The best hosts & hostesses copy that idea. Towels being a given, I also have a little basket in the guest room with a few different items for guests to use, a few ideas are:

A washcloth: I usually use black ones, or some other dark color, that way if it needs to be used to remove makeup, its not as embarrassing to leave makeup smudges as it would be on a white cloth!

Shampoo & Conditioner

Hair spray & Dry shampoo

Toothpaste & Toothbrushes

Body Wash & Face Wash


  • Don’t let them go hungry:

The women in my family have always been really careful to make sure that no guest feels hungry. Over the weekend, I had a hosue full of guests at my house, so Mama and me came up with a lengthy list of foods that we would need to have before anyone else got there! Biscuits and other breakfast foods were at the top of the list – there’s just something about warm breakfasts before a big day that is so nice! 

  • Framed Wi-fi Instructions:

This makes things easier for both you and your guest! Having your wi-fi password and router name in an easily accessible place makes it so much easier if your guest needs to work from a computer, or if they’re a 15 year old boy who needs wi-fi to keep up with his friends through iMessage!(Which, is not limited to 15 year old boys… I like avoiding cellular data too!) 

When I’m attending a party or get together at someone’s house, I try to always bring a little gift or something special for the host. In order to not clutter up their space, I like to stick to the rule of bringing something they can “eat, drink, or burn.”  Lately I’ve also included a home décor something too!

  • Eat:

This one is kind of self-explanatory. I vote cookies, small chocolates if it’s a gift for the host, or some other kind of snack-y food if it’s a plate to share with a group.

Football watching party? Make these Cookie Dough Footballs!

Isabella over at Smell of Rosemary has a lot of great recipes you could try! 

  • Drink:

This can be kind of tricky, if you know the host really enjoys wine, that could be a really great gift! Especially if you’re from somewhere that has a local vineyard (muscadine wine is a real treat here in AL!)

Otherwise, coffee is usually a safe bet, or tea if the host isn’t a coffee person. You could style the coffee gift with a cute little mug – or you could put together a holiday-centric gift and use hot chocolate! 

  • Burn:

I love getting candles as gifts, they make a room feel so cozy! I like to do a little research into which scents inspire which kind of mood before choosing one as a gift.  A few years ago, a friend was having anxiety about moving, so as a house-warming/going away care package, I included a sandalwood candle(did anyone else not know that sandalwood is a good scent for anxiety? How cool is that?!) 

And of course, my mom, grandma, and my aunt(all of the Jones ladies) would get me if I didn't bring a gift, or at least write a thank you note as a guest at someone's home! I love these personalized stationary designs from DP Design Co on Etsy!

Do you have a go-to gift idea or favorite gift you've been given as a host? Let me know in the comments! I'm always looking for ideas!