What is the Proper Hostess Gift?

Keep yourself on the “Yes” list rather than the “Don’t Invite” list by making sure you bring the proper hostess gift, to the party.

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #134

Modern Manners Guy Richie Frieman on Party Etiquette

Aside from winning the lottery or discovering you own stock in Google, nothing can brighten up your day more than seeing an invitation to a party in the mail (unless it was from Google, inviting you to a party in your honor as the new CEO… but don’t bank on it). When going to a party, it’s key to show proper manners towards the lovely host or hostess who kept you on the “Yes” list, rather than the “Don’t Invite” list. So what is the proper gift to bring? It’s a conundrum many people face when wanting to show the proper gratitude, so that’s why in today’s article I will answer this question once and for all.

Bringing a proper gift to a party will not only show you have a fine hold on etiquette, but it will also make sure you are invited back. So here are my top 3 tips for a proper hostess gift:

Tip #1: It’s Not YOUR Party

Before you walk out of your house--gift in hand--look at the gift and ask yourself whether you really considered what the hostess likes and not just what you like. Always remember, it’s not your party… but you can cry if you want to, since you will feel like doing just that when the hostess looks at your tray of fried pork sausage bites and nearly vomits. Why? Oh, that’s right, she’s a vegetarian! How long have you known her for? What, the ten fan pages on Facebook about freeing caged chickens and PETA wasn’t hint enough?

Proper etiquette always points to knowing you are catering to your hostess and their audience--not your own. If you decide to bring food, which is often a good choice--keep in mind what they would want to serve. Even if you don’t like vegan veggie dip, it shows that you were thinking of them and that you care. You don’t even have to like what you brought as long as your hostess does.

Plus, once you get back home you can dive into your twice-fried beef jerky snacks.

What is the Proper Hostess Gift?

Tip #2: Remember It’s a Gift

I know, you went out of your way to find the rarest wine in the city and you can’t wait to taste it. But nothing says rude like walking into the room, handing over a gift, and then quickly opening it yourself. All of your good manners in giving such a nice gift will be completely ruined once you start drinking like you were Tom Hanks in “Castaway” after seeing ice water for the first time.

Let the hostess present your gift to the party. Allow your hostess to open the gift and serve it. You can by all means partake in the gift, but just don’t be first. It’s proper etiquette to let others enjoy your generosity.

Tip #3: Keep It Appropriate

The quickest way to make your name live permanently on the “Do Not Invite List” is to bring something so inappropriate it invites gasps or stares. Case in point, a couple years back my friend and his girlfriend were throwing a party. Another friend, who was not exactly a big fan of said girlfriend, thought it would be so funny and slick to show up with the book, “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Needless to say he did not receive any laughs from his friend or his friend’s girlfriend when the gift was opened.