Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hostess Gifts or BYOB?

A few months after my husband and I got married, we decided it was time to host a party. Invites were sent out, and approximately fifteen people responded they would be coming. Just before the guests began to arrive I mentioned to my husband that I was curious to see if anyone would bring a hostess gift. Surely, out of fifteen guests, one of them would bring a bottle of wine! Surprisingly, every guest arrived empty handed.
Over the years I have noticed a significant decline of hostess gifts, and a significant increase of invitations requesting guests to “Please bring a dish or drink to share” or “BYOB” etc. The obvious conclusion is when guests are no longer willingly bringing the host/hostess a bottle of wine or treat, that would most likely be opened and shared with the guests, all of the expenses to throw a party are placed solely on the host/hostess.  Therefore, guests are now being asked to bring things that should be given automatically.

Presenting a host/hostess with a gift is a nice way of thanking them for hosting the event, and for inviting you to join them. A good friend of mine recently told me a story of a dinner party that she hosted for another couple. When they arrived the male guest gave her a bouquet of flowers. Her reaction was that of confusion, embarrassment, and slight annoyance. The only men who have ever given her flowers were her father, and her husband. To her, a bouquet of flowers was a very personal gift…one that signified love, and devotion. Having never been taught about, or received a hostess gift, she had no idea that a bouquet of flowers from an invited guest was traditional etiquette. Why has this age old custom slowly disappeared?

As the Christmas season begins, and your days begin to fill with holiday celebrations, remember to be a courteous guest, and bring a gift for your host/hostess. This simple gesture will be much appreciated, and possibly reciprocated in the future.

How do you feel about host/hostess gifts? Do you make a point to always give your host/hostess gift?

6 comments:

  1. Hostess gifts are not mandatory, they are thoughtful and show good manners. And its a way to show the hostess our appreciation of they work and effort.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hostess gifts are definitely not mandatory, but when people stop giving them, then bringing a "dish or drink to share" becomes expected in it's place. Besides, getting a gift is so much nicer than having to ask guests to bring something!

      Delete
    2. Agree! And its so annoying asking people to bring stuff...

      Delete
  2. Once I went to a dinner party where one of the guests brought dessert as a gift. The hostess felt compelled to serve it after dinner (who wouldn't?) and it completely clashed with the dessert she had prepared for everyone! I felt so bad for her!

    Question: What are you suppose to do with a hostess gift? Should you save the wine for yourself later or serve it at dinner? Should the flowers be placed immediately in a vase on the table in front of everyone or placed gently aside for more attention once the guests have departed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the dessert, I would have offered both...the one planned, and the one brought. There is nothing wrong with a little variety when it comes to dessert! As for the flowers, they should be placed in a vase immediately, but where to display them is entirely up to the hostess. If the arrangement works well with your dining table, then great! If not, finding a suitable place for them in your home is perfectly fine too. A hostess gift is still a GIFT. It is up to the hostess to decide what is the best way to enjoy her gift.

      Delete
  3. This is a timely post ... Holidays and parties, they just go together. So should being conscious of the host/hostess that has taken the time to have this gathering.

    ReplyDelete