Easy Does It
No-Fret Hostess Gift Etiquette
The holiday season is upon us, a time of entertaining and socializing. If you’re invited to a party or gathering, you might find yourself struggling with what to bring as a gesture of thanks. No fear, we have answers here!
But first, a little context. Hostess gifts are a universal gesture of peace and respect. That’s because opening our homes to friends and families is gracious in any language. Still, hostess gift-giving traditions do vary by culture. In Japan, arriving at a house without a gift is a no-no. In China, a host may decline your gift two or three times, then accept it without opening it; this is all part of the well-established gift-giving ritual.
In North America, we have our own hostess gift traditions, such as referring to them as “hostess gifts”—even when our party giver is decidedly a host. At Thymes, we hold that anyone who lays out a spread and gathers us ’round deserves a token of our gratitude.
Here are a few tips to help you soar through this holiday hostess-gift season:
must-try Cabernet for another day.
Make accepting easy. When choosing a hostess gift, make sure to avoid items that demand immediate attention—say, finding and filling a vase, decanting a bottle or clearing space on the dining room table. Your hosts will be focused on entertaining guests and may not have time for last-minute preparations. If you’re determined to present a bouquet, bring it arranged in a vase for immediate display (and plan to leave the vase behind, unless you’re urged otherwise).
Think fuss-free. Avoid bringing a “surprise” dish to a dinner party, unless, of course, it’s a potluck. Most hosts plan their menus well in advance and have thoughtfully considered wine and other accoutrements. Special candy or a bottle of wine for your hosts to enjoy at a later date is always appropriate. That means presenting something you won’t be disappointed not tasting that night; save your must-try Cabernet for another day.
Ring in the holidays. A holiday-themed gift reflects the season of good will and cheer. From a tin of gourmet cookies to a spray of greenery for a table, a seasonal scented candle to a CD of your favorite festive music, the options are endless. Many of our customers share top-selling Thymes Frasier Fir during holiday festivities, hailing its crisp, just-cut fragrance of the tree itself as the ideal way to express gratitude to gracious hosts.
Cater to their tastes. Know a lot about your hosts’ interior style, hobbies or interests? Then it should be fun and easy to think of a gift they’ll enjoy. Are they avid gardeners? Enthusiastic cooks? Artistic? A gift related to any of those pursuits is a can’t-miss.
Play it safe. If your hosts are new friends, consider any of these wonderful, time-honored gifts: bottle of wine, nice box of chocolates, stationery set, specialty gourmet food item, candles, or soap or scented lotions.
Finally, hostess gift sets from Thymes are always top of the hostess gift-giving list. Share them with your hosts and let us know how they’re received!
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