Dec 27, 2013 Holidays & Celebrations Comments Off on How Do You Choose The Perfect Hostess Gift
Do you make a habit of showing up to dinner parties empty-handed? Uh-oh. You have unknowingly been committing a huge faux pas. Yes, according to etiquette experts, those empty hands should be toting a gift for your host.
But what type of gift should your hands be holding? It all depends on the nature of the function and your relationship with your host. Here are a few helpful guidelines from the etiquette experts.
What is the nature of your visit?
The type of hostess gift that is required depends greatly on what type of event you’ve been invited to. For instance, an overnight stay would equate to a more substantial gift than a mere cocktail party.
• Cocktail party. An ideal gift for a cocktail party would be a bottle of wine or a liqueur. You may wish to dress it up with a wine bottle cover that looks like a kimono, a tuxedo, or a Santa Claus suit. And, remember, this is a gift. Don’t be offended if it is not opened and consumed that evening.
• Dinner party. The appropriate hostess gift to bring to a dinner party should not exceed $25. Do not bring food to be consumed that evening as it may interfere with your hostess’s menu. If you do opt for something edible, select an item that your hostess can eat another day like specialty chocolates or candies. If the party is at a restaurant and you are expected to pay for your own meal, a hostess gift is not required. If the hostess is covering the food bill, it is very important to bring a gift.
Some ideal dinner party hostess gifts are:
• Boxed candies or chocolates
• Potted houseplant or herbs
• Small birdhouse or hummingbird feeder
• Stationary or journal
• Wine or liqueur
• Flavored vinegar or mustard, locally produced honey, or herb-infused olive oil
• A Christmas ornament is perfect for dinners during the holiday season
• Overnight stay. Overnight accommodations necessitate a more elaborate hostess gift than the one required for a dinner party. The cost of the gift goes up as the length of your stay increases.
Some suggestions for this type of hostess gift include:
• A gift card for one of your hostess’s favorite stores
• A spa gift basket
• If you are visiting someone from a different region, bring them a hand- crafted piece of art from where you are from
• An “entertainment basket” featuring wine, wine glasses, and tickets to an upcoming event
• A gift basket consisting of a mixture of fun items that your hostess will enjoy.
What is the nature of your relationship?
If you know your hostess well, you will be able to easily come up with the perfect gift idea. But don’t panic if your hostess is merely an acquaintance or someone you barely know. Some things have universal appeal.
When your host is a virtual stranger, here are a few safe options:
• Yummy treats. Chocolates and candies are usually a safe bet. You can also opt for a cheese basket, gourmet jams, exotic coffees or herbal teas, or specialty mustards.
• Wine. A nice wine or a liqueur is also apropos. Even if your host does not imbibe, they can serve it to future guests.
• Spa items. Lotions, bath bombs, or pretty soaps are also universally appreciated. Just be sure to stick with a mild fragrance.
• Greenery. If your host is an apartment dweller, they will likely appreciate a houseplant or set of potted herbs. If they have a flower garden, you can purchase a perennial that can be planted outdoors later.
So shed your reputation for being the one who never brings a gift. Your future hosts and hostesses will thank you. And, you may just find that you get a lot more invitations!
What is your favorite “go to” hostess gift?
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger. She vows to never show up to a dinner party empty-handed again. You can follow her at The Embiggens Projectand Searching for Barry Weiss.
Image courtesy of photos.com.
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