Host(ess) gifts: Little Miss Decorum Weighs In

Little Miss Decorum's Thoughts: For the most part, I'm a very casual, laid back kind of girl.   I'm far more likely to be in jeans and boots than a skirt and heels; I'd rather be at a baseball game than a ballet; I eat pizza (and green beans - much to my mother's chagrin) with my fingers and I think that function should almost always outweigh form.  There are an incredible number of "etiquette rules" that I feel are extremely outdated.  But that doesn't mean that propriety has no place in our current society.

Actions that display kindness, amenability, consideration and gratitude are ALWAYS trending. 

When someone opens their home to you for a dinner party or celebration, they are, in essence, giving you a gift.  They are spending money on food, drinks, and entertainment.  They are spending their time on preparations to make you feel comfortable and welcome.  And it's a lovely gesture to bring them a small gift as a token of thanks.

Does that mean that every time your best friend calls you up to watch the game you should come over bearing a fruit basket and a thank you card? Of course not. (Although, try to never go somewhere empty handed. Even if it's a side salad, a six pack or a bag of ice, it's always to polite to bring something).  But there are certain occasions where a host/hostess gift should be presented.

Try using the following down-to-earth guidelines to establish when to take a hostess gift. 

1. If an invitation of some sort was issued (Whether via email, evite, snail mail, or otherwise)
2. If it's the kind of event that you will probably change your clothes for, or spend more than 2 minutes determining what to wear. (A visit with business associates, a birthday party or a barbeque)
3. If it's your first time going to the home (Your in-laws house, new friends, an old friend's new home...)
4. If you'll be at the home for more than a few hours (An all day party, or a weekend visit)

If you're still not sure, err on the side of caution, and take something.  It needn't be expensive - just a small gesture that says "Hey, I appreciate you having me."

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