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Urgent -- Do we need to bring a host gift in this situation?

Hi. Sorry for posting one of these silly etiquette things but DH and I are having a disagreement about host gifts. We're going to a business party tonight that is hosted by one of the partners (company is not picking up the tab on this one). This is purely a business function. It will be held at this guy's house and will be catered. DH (who is also a partner) doesn't think we should bring a host gift as this is not a social event. I think we should bring one as the guy is shelling out the funds and making use of his house. As this party is tonight, I'd appreciate any last minute input. Thanks!

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  1. I agree with you. Better to be the only one with a gift than the only one without.

    1. Yes, at least a token of your appreciation. Perhaps a bottle of wine, some holiday baked goods, even a poinsetta.

      1. Thanks ola and janeh for your speedy replies! Yes, I've convinced DH we should bring something -- most likely a bottle of Italian wine, as the host loves it.

        1. It is never improper to bring a host gift. Ever.

          How is it purely a business function if the company is not paying for it? This guy is hosting it, (presumably for the other partners and/or employees) and paying for it himself. It is (presumably) just an exclusive guest list.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Cathy

            The company is relatively new so there are insufficient funds (and with the way the economy is going lately, it will probably be like this for a bit longer -- sigh!). So every thing the company does comes from the pockets of all the partners -- including every single business trip (let me tell you, last minute air fares are REALLY expensive), business dinners, etc. And the guest list includes all of the partners, employees and investors.

            1. re: Miss Needle

              If you're thinking of bringing wine, consider bringing a bottle each of red and white. Just in case the host and/hostess decide to crack open your wines, you'll have brought something to please everyone who drinks wine. Extra bonus: you cover the hostess as well if she's not a red wine drinker.

              When invited to a party at a friend's place, I bought her two bottles of wine (both red, as she doesn't "do" whites) and one of those neoprene wine totes that preserves the temperature of the bottles encased within. I know you're getting down to the wire, but if you know of a place that sells those, you might have time to pop out and buy one. If you don't have time, then I'd suggest picking a couple of your better than average bottles from your collection.

              1. re: 1sweetpea

                >If you're thinking of bringing wine, consider bringing a bottle each
                >of red and white.
                i dont agree with this. you're giving a gift, not helping throw the party.
                to be slightly crass, i think it would be better to bring a "nicer bottle"
                [as the OP did] than the red/white/champagne/aperatif/digestif hedge ...
                gifts arent about convex preferences or hedging.

                re: OP's debriefing below ... the "Car Strategy" was hilarious.

                1. re: psb

                  I agree with your take on it psb. Its not necessary to cover everyone's possible likes/dislikes with a host/hostess gift. Just bring something you yourself enjoy and believe that the host/hostess will enjoy, too.

                  1. re: ccbweb

                    Especially since the host gift is not for the party unless it's a potluck.

                  2. re: psb

                    I got a kick out of the car strategy too. I got talked into having a new year's eve party once on behalf of my best friend and her sister in law. They both left beer in their cars just in case I ran out. :)

            2. I think it is most definitly in good form to bring a gift. (I know you've already decided it, and are probably there already, as I type).

              To me, this is not purely a business function. Unless it is a working dinner and there are ONLY employees and investors there and you will be actively working during the evening..., but i'm assuming that the SO's and what not are on the guest list and this is a party.... unless you are a partner or employee in the business as well (not just by marriage I mean). Even if the business was coughing up for this, the host is still opening his home to people. That alone should warrant a gesture IMHO.

              Plus, it's really no different than offernig to pick up a cheque at a business/working lunch. It all makes for good relations in the business world.

              1. Its in his home and he's throwing the party which will clearly have some social element even if its ostensibly about business. You should absolutely bring a host/hostess gift.

                1. If time is running short, a follow up gift and note tomorrow is equally curteous.

                  1. Agree with all the wonderful posts. Hope you have fun and let us know what you brought. Out of curiosity I would also love to know what others brought if you happen to notice. I'm always looking for good ideas.

                    1. Thanks everybody! As we were rushing around, we just had to take whatever was in our wine fridge. So we didn't have any whites. And the Italian red that DH thought he had was gone. So it was between the choice of a French red, champagne or a 1990 Chateau d'Yquem. We decided on the champagne and gave it to them at the door and said it was for them to enjoy (so there would be no question that they may have felt that they needed to serve it at the party).

                      Funny thing was I think several people played it safe with the gifts. They weren't so sure so they brought something and left it in the car. When they came in and saw that some people brought gifts, they would tell the host, "Oh, I left something for you in the car." Most gifts were either wine or a small box (which I assume is probably chocolates). But I don't think every single person brought a host gift.

                      Thanks again for all of your help!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        What a lovely gift! And you handled it exactly the right way by giving to to them at the door for them to enjoy later. It makes it sound so much more personal.

                      2. A host gift is always permissible unless rejected in advance. But it is not required. The thank you note is required (the gift does not relieve that obligation).

                        The nature of this quasi-business function does, however, relieve you of the strict social obligation of reciprocity (that said, as a business matter, it may make sense eventually to reciprocate in some way for business reasons).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Karl S

                          Great, great, great point Karl S. Lots of threads about gifts, very few about thank you notes.

                        2. I've been in the same situation in the past, but on the host/hostess end. My husband started a company and for several years we had a holiday party at our house. I love to entertain and it was a pleasure for me. Some years the company had funds to reimburse us, some years it was on us. I always appreciate a hostess gift but never feel put out when someone comes in empty-handed. In your case, I would have brought something (although, frankly, it's in my genetic code to never show up at someone's house without a gift). Hope the party was fun.

                          1. I'm too late but am chiming in on the side of giving a hostess gift.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Janet from Richmond

                              I forgot to add that another way to handle this is to send a "thank you" gift afterwards -- specifically a plant or flowers, depending on your assessment of the recipient. Receiving flowers the next day or the day after that, along with a note, always makes my day.