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When invited to dinner, open house, or brunch, do you take a small gift?

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Dec 12th, 2005, 11:05 AM
  #1
cd
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When invited to dinner, open house, or brunch, do you take a small gift?

Normally when invited to dinner, we take a bottle of wine. Yesterday we attended a Christmas open house and I noticed some brought small gifts, some, including us did not. We are invited to another Christmas open house and this weekend a Christmas brunch. Small gift or not? Boxed chocolates?
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Dec 12th, 2005, 11:14 AM
  #2
JJ5
 
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Yes, I always bring something. Sometimes it's a gift just for the hostess. Most times it is a bottle of wine and something that I know she would like. It's always a she in my case, it seems.

A box of chocolates would be fine. Some have brought me flowers. Don't do this if they need to be vased. It's hard to do with a lot of company coming etc. If you get flowers, get potted, IMHO- or something already arranged/vased.

There are actually 100s of small things like bath salts etc. One year I got everyone in our Open House group a picture taken on a bowling league 15 years before in a small frame. Everyone loved this and it was something everybody still keeps. But regardless if you don't have lots of old friends or memories with any open house group or brunch- a small gift is always appropriate for the host/hostess.


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Dec 12th, 2005, 11:24 AM
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I went to someone's event recently at their home and brought them a poinsetta. It added to the holiday decor.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 11:28 AM
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Around Christmas, I love to give the rosemary Christmas trees. They smell great!
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Dec 12th, 2005, 11:44 AM
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My mom always told me, "Never show up empty handed." I often bring a nice bottle of wine or their favorite liquor. I also always ask if I can bring a dish to help make their dinner preparation easier.

I agree with JJ5 that there are a ton of small, personal items that you can bring as a hostess gift. The better you know the person, the easier it is to choose something.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 11:52 AM
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Yes, always. When in doubt, a small box of really good chocolate always works (hostess can put it out for the guests if she wants, or can save it for herself). If our hosts are people I know well, it will be something more personalized (unless it's my best friend/fellow chocoholic - who gets a bigger box of chocolate).
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Dec 12th, 2005, 11:56 AM
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JJ5
 
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I too always bring a small prepared dish (dip, appetizer, salad)- because I know in almost all cases how much it is appreciated. Most of these gatherings are very large and they all get eaten.

I just didn't want to confuse the two. The hostess gift is really appropriate. And just as Statia says- you get to know what they like/need.

One very small gathering down the block, I always bring my dried spices from the garden, because she loves and uses these with great pleasure.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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JJ5, the reason I don't bring a small appetizer or food item is because the host/hostess is forced to use the item and it may not mesh with what they are serving. Also, it sometimes will offend the host/hostess if they are big foodies. There is a very long thread on Chowhound on this very thing.

Wine, a plant, or a tchotche would work.
 
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Dec 12th, 2005, 12:59 PM
  #9
GoTravel
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Or let me rephrase, I no longer bring a food item for immediate consumption to someones home because of the chowhound thread.
 
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Dec 12th, 2005, 01:04 PM
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What's the chowhound thread? Could you post a link? I admit, I love to cook and when I entertain, I want to do all the prep and cooking and would be insulted if someone brought something without asking. I am curious to read other opinions on the issue and see if I should reevaluate my attitude.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 01:12 PM
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That's why I always ask if I can bring anything, rather than just assuming. Unless, of course, I know the person well.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 01:23 PM
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cd
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Thank to all who have responded. I knew I would get good advice. Thanks again!
For the brunch, I did ask what I could bring and was told, 'Just looking forward to seeing you, we have it covered". That's why I wondered about a small gift. I think I will go with a box of good chocolates.
The open houses did confuse me as we are in a new neighborhood and do not know the host/hostesses well at all.

A very Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah to all!
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Dec 12th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Took a bottle of '82 Ch. Gruaud Larose recently to good friends - they were speachless.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 01:45 PM
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It's funny, I have some friends who always bring a gift, others who bring a bottle and still others who bring both. I think you have to see what the custom is in the new neighborhood. Chocolates or some other sweet/tidbit are always good at this time of year. I also love the idea of the rosemary tree. One couple has brought us a photo of "us" together, taken earlier in the year in a frame, always a nice memory.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 01:48 PM
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For parties in December, another good idea is a nice ornament. I have ornaments that were given to me several years ago and every year when I pull them from the box, I think of the people who gave them.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 01:57 PM
  #16
JJ5
 
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We deal in abundanza, Go Travel. I know all my people, and they ask me to bring something I make 9 times out of 10. The chowhound advice is correct if you are NOT a South side Chicagoan of my peer group. We don't take offense at having something extra that does not belong.

That's why I said it was two different things.

Kal's bottle idea is the bomb. When I bring them a bottle of Baileys or TiaMarie or some such, they always like that too. We are not a fussy nor a
foodie perfect crowd. Our guys would look at tortured arranged food and laugh. LOL!
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Dec 12th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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Unless I know the host/hostess I do not bring wine/alcohol because once I did and then realized they don't keep in the house because of a family members problem; and the host only served alcohol during brief get togethers for that reason.

While I am a chocolate nut, I must admit to giving many boxes to local volunteer centers when the holiday diet begins, so I prefer something non-edible as the hostess gift.

A holiday ornament is a keepsake reminder, also a non-scented but decorative candle, guest bath soaps, holiday cocktail napkins, a small photo frame, a small "end table' size holiday arrangement - but whatever you bring it's the thought that counts and if you were coming to my house I'd want the wine !
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Dec 12th, 2005, 02:09 PM
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I hosted a holiday cocktail party last night. Everyone brought something - some brought chocolates; some pretty hand towels; champagne; flowers; a photo album; candles; and a lovely set of votives. I appreciated them all.

Just a few ideas.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 02:23 PM
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We host a Christmas party each year and other get togethers throughout the year. I always appreciate it when someone brings us a gift. The gift of wine is popular and one of my favorites. We've also been given beautiful Christmas ornaments, snazzy cutting boards with cheese, decorative plates and serving dishes. I think a box of chocolates is a great idea... provided my better half wouldn't see it so I can have it all to myself! ;-)
Very thoughtful of you, cd.
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Dec 12th, 2005, 02:30 PM
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We always take something and a lot depends on how well we know the hosts...close friends might get a bottle of their favorite wine or champagne.
Right now I have guest soaps, chocolates and holiday tea towels ready for those folks we don't know that well.
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