Hostess gifts are tricky. Or not, depending on what you have on hand and for whom you buy. Adorable options abound...you can read up on Mighty Girl's Target finds, or see what Domino mag says about the subject (warning: lengthy and maybe not good, as I didn't have time to watch the vid). Or you can try some of these tricks. If you received one of these from me and didn't like it, let me know.
Fruit/homebaked goods. I always think this is a good idea. I gave a bag of clementines on top of oranges on top of grapefruit this year. Even if my host had a buttload of citrus like I do, she could re-gift or make juice or whatever. I like handing over a pumpkin loaf with a one-pot bag of coffee for the morning after a party, too.
Lotions/handcreams. I found some awesome organic stuff in the mountains - you can visit this place in person for maximum fun, or go online to Hazelwood Soap Company. Candles are nice, too...and this site as well as those large candle shops sell the new rage, soy.
Ornaments. Three words for you: Pier 1 Imports. Three more words: Also World Market. Cute, fun, cheap.
Method holiday soaps. Sometimes, if I'm feelin' crafty, I'll knit a washcloth with festive holiday colors to attach to some dish soap. I love the hand soaps, too.
There's always wine, but I may be one of the few people who loves a $10 and under bottle. There's a bunch out there that I love right now.
May your parties be fun, and your host gifts completely appropriate.