HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Discussion

Host Gifts; What Is The Etiquette?

My parents held a party last night for 20+ people. I offered my cooking services for it, and as 'payment' I jokingly told them that I was to receive any and all gifts of wine that the guests would bring.

Perhaps it is because I live with my SO of European descent, and frequently attend parties with his European friends; if we are invited to someone's house for a gathering, a gift will be offered to the hosts for their hospitality.

My family is Canadian, as were all the guests at last night's party, and nobody brought a thing.

Contrary to my earlier comment, I frankly didn't expect anything, and was not offended at all when no offerings were made - the bringing of a gift was not something I observed growing up, however seeing it done at the SO's gatherings made me wonder why I hadn't thought to do it before - but it got me thinking about cultural differences in party etiquette.

What are everyone's thoughts on this?

..................I suppose I must digress; one woman -did- bring something: Two pieces of half-eaten cake and an open wine bottle from a wedding she had attended the day before.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
    1. re: Karl S

      Thank you, Karl. Glad I've got some time on my hands this evening to read over that one.. :)

    2. Yikes ... I always bring at least a bottle of wine. Attended a dinner party tonite ( just 2 couples) and brought a Volnay and a Chablis plus a unique little serving bowl ( handmade from funny little shoppe ) for hostess. I have never had anyone come to our home without a little something in hand and whatever is brought is appreciated ( I remember one gift of a package of funny cocktail napkins) Don't think on host part it should be expected but as attendee I would never think NOT to bring a thank you remembrance

      4 Replies
      1. re: capeanne

        "Don't think on host part it should be expected but as attendee I would never think NOT to bring a thank you remembrance"

        Exactly my thoughts. ...By the way, you're invited to my next party ;)

        1. re: NovoCuisine

          I have to agree. I was taught to always bring something (hell, I even bring something to my Mom's when we go home to visit). I don't know if it's expected or not, but I'm always shocked when someone doesn't bring something.

          1. re: gini

            I, too, "even bring something to my mom's", gini. It's just good manners to do so. It doesn't need to be extravagant. Heck, there's decent wines out there for less than $10! Just a token for the hospitality is always appreciated and remembered.

            1. re: diablo

              Count me in as another who was raised to take a little "sursie" whenever you are invited to a friend/family member's home. The dollar value isn't what's important, but the remembrance.

      2. when i go to a dinner or cocktail party I typically bring a hostess gift (close friends i call ahead to see if they need anything, really close friends i call just before leaving for their party to see if they REALLY need anything) otherwise I bring something small and non food or drink .. when i forget i send them a handwritten thank you note (sometime do this anyway, it's a lost art)& if it was a lavish or particularly lovely party i'll send a tiny gift. it seems bad form to bring food or wine to a party if you intend either to be consummed that evening .. when i give a party i spend a fair amount of time considering how things work with each other i am guessing i'm not alone.

        1. I wouldn't consider going to someone's house for a party and NOT bringing a gift... It would be rude not to bring something!

          1. I always bring something just to show my appreciation.

            That said, maybe it's a matter of how close the friends are, or the type of dinner party. If they know your parents well, there might be an unspoken rule thing. I've observed a few unspoken rules among my parents none of which made sense. One thing from that generation (born during the depression era) that I gathered was not wanting to show anyone up, which was just ae impolite then not bringing something.