I recently read a really awesome article on “Should I Bring a Hostess Gift?” on Emily Post. This article talks about six different scenarios you can encounter:
(1) Casual Dinner Party
(2) Formal Dinner Party
(3) When there’s a guest of honor
(4) When you’re the guest of honor
(6) Weekend Visit
She does a great job breaking out each scenario and explaining what’s appropriate for each occasion. My favorite tip given is for a housewarming. “If the housewarming is for a neighbor new to your town, consider putting together a welcome kit containing area maps, the town paper, restaurant menus, bookmarks from your favorite bookstore, transportation schedules, and information on local parks and recreation facilities- anything that will make it easier for her to feel welcome and at home in her new community.” Such a great idea.
Hostess gifts are something I’m trying to get into. A lot of it doesn’t even have to do with the money – it’s the remembering and the time to get to the store. I think some great places to get hostess gifts include (the usuals) West Elm, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie because they all have a collection of “stuff” and you can usually find something for any cost. And when in doubt, who’s going to turn down a bottle of wine?
For a casual dinner party that I recently went to, I thought about the hostess and what her likes and dislikes were, and my first instinct was to get her something cool that she wouldn’t usually buy herself. I ended up settling on a Wilton assortment of sprinkles, which – let’s face it, as bakers we all LOVE, but usually aren’t willing to spend the money on.
As for weekend visit gifts, this past autumn I visited two friends in the Boston area. I didn’t bring them anything during my stay (which may have been wrong of me?), but I looked around their apartments while I was there and came up with something they might need or use in life. I ended up getting one friend a cutting board (long story…) and another friend a spoon rest for her stove (which I noticed she didn’t have as we were making soup). Maybe I was supposed to bring gifts before I arrived, but hey, who doesn’t love getting gifts in the mail?
Have you ever received (or given) a fun hostess gift?