hostess gift question

Jul 19th, 2008, 06:28 AM
Original Poster
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hostess gift question

I will be staying with a friend in France for 10 days, we will be invited for a variety of dinners and lunches at her in-laws and nieghbors. Can I bring something easy to transport from the US that would be appreciated as a hostess gift?
Thank you!
Terri5 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 07:15 AM
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If there is something small that represents where you live, that you can easily pack a number of, I think that is nice (tiny boxes of maple sugar candy from Vermont, hazelnuts from Oregon, etc.)

Other than that I think it's fine to simply take wine or flowers in the European tradition.
suze is online now  
Jul 19th, 2008, 01:28 PM
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If your chum is french then you if you take flowers or chocolates whe may receive the suggestion that she is unable to buy her own flowers or chocs (if dining out it is more normal to deliver flowers the day after) so go with suze's idea and take something uniquely american.
bilboburgler is online now  
Jul 19th, 2008, 01:44 PM
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I often give Trapp candles as hostess gifts - they come in a nice box, smell great and are reasonably priced at around $20. Other ideas are stationery or nice linen cocktail napkins. These should all be easy to pack and transport, and may be different from what they usually receive.

In any event, follow up with a nice thank you note and you should be good to go!
Attnymom is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 01:49 PM
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I don't think your French hostesses will expect you to come bearing gifts, knowing that you crossed the Atlantic, anymore than you would imagine someone briefly in American from France would come bearing gifts for you.

Given the limits of what you can carry with you -- nothing fragile, nothing heavy, nothing perishable -- for multiple people, it's a stumper.

Think they might like Obama buttons?

If you really feel in debt after a do, why not send flowers the next day?

zeppole is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 06:59 PM
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For small gifts I usually buy Lang products made in the USA. They have a large variety of calendars, note pads, cards etc. When I have guests from other countries I love it if they bring small calendars with pictures of their country for my desk. I look for those to buy when I travel.

One trip I took Sacajawea gold dollar coins and the kids loved those.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 08:49 PM
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Think of what French tourists buy as a asouvenir when they come to your hometown... then bring that.

If that's not feasible, come with flowers or ask your friend to bring you to a really good local chocalte shop - try not to show up empty-handed.

kevin_widrow is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 08:56 PM
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If I understand the OP correctly, the issue is about bringing ONE gift for the friend but for MANY different hostesses (friend himself/herself, in-laws, neighbors)?
If so, no one sane in his mind will expect you to carry gifts for all those people across the Atlantic.

Your friend will be able to give you more proper guidance what would be suitable (or not) for those other hostesses (and you can buy that while in France.. probably wine, flowers, or similar), while for the friend himself/herself you can stick to whatever you know he/she likes.

There have been dozens of threads on this topic so far, and usually the importance of hostess gifts gets a bit blown out of proportion.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 09:05 PM
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Sorry, started my first sentence with a mistake... correct version would read:

If I understand the OP correctly, the issue is not only about bringing ONE gift for the friend (...)
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2008, 09:07 PM
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Here's is a link to website called "Professsional Protocols" which advises business professionals abroad about local customs. This is from the entry for observing proper protocol France:

"Gift Giving

"Never give wine in France. However, a man may give alcohol such as a fine cognac. Unlike the American custom, hostess gifts are not necessary as it is assumed that a guest will reciprocate with an invitation in the future. The exception would be the weekend or overnight guest in a French home in the city or country. In this case, candy would be appropriate from a woman, alcohol from a man. The candy should be fine European chocolate.


"Never give mums or carnations. Mixed bouquets are best. They may contain white flowers but should not be exclusively white. White flowers would be appropriate for weddings and funerals. Flowers should be sent to the home either the day of the luncheon or dinner party, or the immediate day after, but they are never brought to the home with you. The French don't like scrambling for a vase at the last minute."

(Neither do I.)

zeppole is offline  
Jul 20th, 2008, 05:55 AM
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Zeppole: Is that from Polly Platt's book??

She is such a ninny. Every French family I have ever known has very much appreciated flowers (agree about the mums and carnations, though) or a bottle of wine. And PLENTY of French people who have come to visit me in my French house have brought flowers and wine.

That said, when I bring gifts from the USA to hosts in Europe or elsewhere, I like to bring a book with a bit of history and photos about the area I live in.
StCirq is online now  
Jul 20th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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Most of the French people I know bring bottles of wine or champagne to dinner parties. Flowers are brought as well if it is a birthday or anniversary, but this can get ridiculous if there are a lot of guests, so bottles are a safer bet.

"Personal" gifts are never given to people that you don't know, so you can forget the knicknacks from home.
kerouac is online now  
Jul 20th, 2008, 09:16 AM
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I gave a link to the quote. Polly Platt doesn't seem to be associated with the organization.
zeppole is offline  

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