3 Perfect Gift Ideas for Your First Visit to a New Home

First impressions can be nerve-wracking, especially when you're visiting someone's home for the first time. To make a great first impression, you need to bring a proper gift that says something about your personality and shows your gratitude for the invitation. Modern Manners Guy has 3 great ideas.


Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #274

With the holidays right around the corner, many of us will be attending dinner parties with friends and families. And many of us will be visiting homes for the very first time.  

Whether you’re in a new relationship - and meeting your new love’s family - or visiting a new friend’s home for holiday dinner, being a first time guest can be nerve-wracking. What do you wear? What's the best time arrive and leave? How should you address the host? And the one question that causes the most stress: What gift do you bring for someone who’s home you’ve never been to before?.

Wracking your brain about the perfect gift can cause you enough stress to make you want to call out sick to the party. But fear not, my mannerly friends! I have the top 3 quick and dirty tips for a proper host/hostess gift as a first-time guest:

Tip #1: Bring on the Bubbly

There are only a few gifts that are guaranteed smile-makers. And wine is at the top of that short list. Arriving with a great bottle of wine is a lot like rolling up to a hot nightclub in a slick sports car – it’s a shiny accessory that always makes a good impression. 

But before you splurge on a bottle, you must find out if the host/hostess likes wine or at least if the other guests do. The last thing you want to do is show up to the home of a recovering alcoholic with a bottle of cabernet.  

Once you learn that wine is something the host or hostess typically indulges in or serves for dinner, you now have to think of the perfect bottle for the occasion. This is the time to step up to the plate and really wow the hosts…and I don’t mean with sticker shock. That’s going a little too far. This first impression gift is about showing your personality.  It isn’t like buying Manischewitz for Passover, folks.

As a first-time guest, your gift should make it clear that you took the time to really think about making a good impression (rather than just grabbing the first bottle you saw when you walked in). Maybe it’s a bottle from a local winemaker, a special limited edition vintage, or even a wine with a funky name that will make for a good conversation piece.  I once brought a bottle of wine called “Mommy’s Time Out” to a new friend who had recently become a first-time mom. It was a big hit!  

If you want more tips on selecting the perfect bottle for any occasion, check out the 5 Secrets to Great Food and Wine Pairing and How to Choose Wines for Your Next Dinner Party. And if you're still stumped, remember: You can never go wrong with a good Champagne. Bubbly is always in style.