Rectangular Thanksgiving Table Setting
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Manners are as synonymous with Southern as sweet tea and hot summers. Our mommas taught us how to fold our napkins, converse politely, and answer the phone with charisma. When we are invited over to dinner, it's only natural that our presence is accompanied with a thoughtful token of appreciation.

The tradition of giving a hostess gifts comes from the previously held notion that when someone invites you into her home, you reciprocate the offer with an invitation of your own. As this died down, the gesture of returning the favor turned into giving a gift – an idea many of us still hold to this day.

This Thanksgiving, share your Southern charm with these five hostess gift ideas.

  1. Local Treasures If you're coming in from out of town, share a piece of home with your hostess. Maybe your city is known for a stellar craft Oktoberfest beer, a renowned bakery's harvest apple pie or rich, creamy toffee. Bringing a local favorite will stand out because it's not something your hostess would be able to purchase regularly. If you both live in the same town, find a homegrown item that she loves but wouldn't ordinarily purchase on her own.
  1. Fresh Flowers The warmth of fall flowers can bring life to any home–especially at Thanksgiving. Whether it's a bundle of bright sunflowers or an arrangement of autumn chrysanthemums, fresh flowers will be welcome in her home. Make note that this gift should be sent before or after the dinner rather than being presented upon arrival. This allows your hostess to arrange the flowers at her leisure, not rushed with other Thanksgiving tasks.
  1. Homemade Treats If you've got a killer banana bread recipe or you've canned some fantastic cucumbers, gift your hostess some homemade treats. This token is both thoughtful – because you've taken the time to share with her family – and delicious. Try wrapping your gift with brown paper and including a personalized gift tag to make it feel more formal.
  1. Breakfast What? Breakfast? This may sound strange, but what could be more pleasant for a hostess than to receive a ready-to-bake batch of cinnamon rolls for the morning after her event? For someone who's taken so much time to prepare a dinner, an easy next-day breakfast option is a welcome relief – especially if she's got hungry kids. Try out our top-rated Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing or a pan of our Blackberry French Toast.
  2. Wine This classic hostess gift is probably the most tried-and-true option out there. With the option of bringing wine from a local vineyard or choosing an imported delicacy, this gift will always be a great idea. Keep in mind that your wine may not be served with Thanksgiving dinner; your hostess may have taken great care in her drink pairings. If you'd like to take it a step further, accompany your gift with festive wine charms or an engraved corkscrew.

What's your go-to hostess gift?