I will be attending mucho holiday parties thrown by many of my work colleagues. When is it appropriate to bring a hostess gift, and what do you suggest. Most of these parties are like wine and cheese, or a small gift exchange. I don’t want to show up empty handed if I should be bringing a gift. Please help!! Amanda
Dearest very popular girl,
While never obligatory, I feel that any time you are invited into someone's home for a party, dinner or any type of festive gathering it is appropriate to bring a hostess gift. It doesn't have to be expensive or spectacular (that would cause embarrassment to your host) but should convey your appreciation for being included.
If you choose to go the flower route, they should either be sent a day in advance (so the hostess can find a vase and display them or use them as a centerpiece) or the day after the party (everyone loves to see the florist's van!) Also, think elegant and excellent; it is better to give a small box of exotic chocolates than a ten pound box of drugstore candy. A beautiful candle, lovely picture frame or crystal candy dish also make great hostess gifts. Anything handmade, such as a jar of homemade preserves, a festive bag of spiced nuts or a hand painted ceramic plate always rate highly with your hosts and let them know that you were thinking of them and how special they are.