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empty handed

you've been told in no uncertain terms that you're not to bring anything to easter dinner. no food. no flowers. no wine. no nothing. she means it. it goes against every fiber of your moral being to show up empty handed. what do you do? and if you bring something.....what is it?

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  1. I do not bring anything, then send a thank you note after the fact. If the hostess is really, truly serious about not wanting anything, it is inconsiderate to disregard her wishes.

    34 Replies
    1. re: mpjmph

      thanks. i think i'm just looking for permission to honor her wishes.

      1. re: eLizard

        It was the "no uncertain terms" that convinced me.

        1. re: eLizard

          "no uncertain terms" means
          "no uncertain terms"

          imho, you not only have permission to honor her wishes, you have the OBLIGATION to honor her wishes.

        2. re: mpjmph

          Yep, if the hostess is explicit that she wants nothing, you must honor her wishes.

          Totally agree about a thank-you note afterwards. Depending upon how close of a friend and how elaborate of a dinner she prepared, I might be include a gift card for something I knew she would enjoy at a time she could choose to enjoy it.

          ETA: I think one of the problems of bringing a small gift to be opened later is that it can cause other guests who honor the "absolutely nothing" request to feel awkward, which can make the hostess uncomfortable.

          1. re: jlhinwa

            I love receiving a hand written thank you note from a guest. If you want to do more, perhaps have some flowers delivered (after the event). Personally I wouldn't do a gift card because to me it seems like you're paying someone back for dinner (like insisting on helping cover the check at a restaurant when you've been invited out as a guest).

            1. re: Chatsworth

              Good point, though I was not thinking restaurant gift card, rather something that I know would be used and appreciated based on the recipient's interests. For example, a gift card to a local nursery for a friend who is a gardening enthusiast, or a gift to a craft store for someone who loves to scrapbook, etc.

              I am the odd hostess who does not want flowers at any time because of the allergic fits I get when they are in my house. Such a bummer!

              1. re: jlhinwa

                it's not that rare an allergy.
                lots of people are allergic to flowers.
                i've even had a dog that was allergic to flowers.
                the problem is that once the guest waltzes the flowers into your house, the kind of thorough cleaning that needs to be done that night or the next day is truly burdensome.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  but if you're good enough friends to be invited over for Easter dinner, you've probably already heard about allergies and sensitivities in prior conversations.

                  This is not a business dinner, nor a dinner to which you invite people you don't know very well.

                  All of my friends bring flowers/chocolates/wine/lovely little cookies, as I do to their house.

                  Really, I am never, ever going to upbraid someone for having a little politesse.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    when i'm invited to easter dinner, it means that there will be guests there that i DON'T know very well.
                    i don't make easter dinners because i prefer smaller undertakings.
                    when i am invited to easter dinners i always bring whatever the hostess specifies that i should bring.

                    (one time i was even given her elderly mother's broccoli salad recipe because the mother was getting too old to make it. of course, i followed the recipe EXACTLY)

                    being polite is being willing to do what the hostess needs/asks you to do, and refraining from doing whatever the heck YOU feel like doing instead.
                    it's simply a matter of saying to yourself that you can get through this event with having the hostess' needs being met instead of your own.

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      if you have that enormous an allergy problem, then you need to tell people upfront that you have an allergy problem -- just like you need to enquire about allergies so you don't serve up something that will trigger a reaction in your guests.

                      It takes an incredible lack of politesse to manage to get pissed off for others' display of politesse.

                      You write this as though you would actually bitch someone out -- in front of other guests -- for having DARED to follow the norms of society and bring something to express their appreciation.

                      Even if it's something as off-the-wall as a hand-knitted angora nose warmer -- be gracious to your guests. They're your guests.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        it should NOT be necessary for ANYONE to divulge anybody's medical problems in order to justify a simple request.

                        YOUR ACTION would be the impolite one.
                        you were given all the information you needed to be a polite, agreeable, guest.

                        you are not invited as a medical consultant.

                        why is your desire more important that respecting the simple desire of your hostess that has been COMMUNICATED to you?

                        i certainly don't see your actions as being "polite"
                        call it what you want, but "polite?"
                        not in my book.
                        completely dismissing the clearly communicated, simple request of your hostess, not too polite.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          I'd bring you a big ol' bouquet of flowers AND a bottle of wine just to watch the apoplectic fit that ensued.
                          Pass the popcorn.
                          Uncork the wine.

                            1. re: monavano

                              Finally, *someone* admits what really goes on in the mind of the aggressive gifter.

                              Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mona Vano.

                              1. re: Jay F

                                Oh, if it will make your head explode, I'm bringing it.

                              2. re: monavano

                                there would be no fit.
                                the stuff would be put by the mailbox near my house.
                                i would post about it in the FREE section of craigslist.
                                both items would disappear in an hour or two.
                                you'd be surprised at how many people monitor that section day and night.
                                many are willing to spend more in gas to get something for free than the item is worth.

                        2. re: sunshine842

                          <but if you're good enough friends to be invited over for Easter dinner, you've probably already heard about allergies and sensitivities in prior conversations.>

                          Not necessarily so, unfortunately. And that doesn't mean if a person knows it that they remember. I don't know how many years it took Mr. jlh to remember that flowers on my birthday was not a kindness.

                          ETA: Reply to sunshine above.

                          1. re: jlhinwa

                            I have allergies in my household that leave one or more of us miserable if those allergens are brought into our house.

                            It's my house and I have to live there, and the allergens remain long after the event -- therefore everyone who is invited to share my space for a while is told what is off-limits.

                            I'm not sharing medical history -- I am simply stating that we are allergic to x, and cannot have it in the house. None of my friends would willingly cause me discomfort, so the allergens stay outside.

                            (funny you say stargazer lilies below -- that's one of the worst for me. I love how beautiful they are, so the only ones in my house are silk)

                            It's no different than telling someone you're allergic to nuts of seafood.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              <funny you say stargazer lilies>

                              I'm not allergic to flowers, thankfully, because gardening is one of my passions.
                              When someone, inevitably, brings them to my home I, sadly, have to put them outdoors, I ignore them & they die quickly.
                              I don't have the heart to throw them immediately in the trash when someone has been thoughtful enough to bring them to me.
                              They're beautiful but deadly.

                            2. re: jlhinwa

                              Easter night update: we had my brother-in-law, my nephews, my BIL's live-in girlfriend and son (my future ex-SIL #4, I'm afraid...he picks great ladies, marries them, and then they wise up....sigh), plus another family for Easter dinner.

                              BIL asked what they could bring and I told him we had everything covered, but if they would like, they could pick up an extra bottle of wine. They showed up with a lovely bottle of wine which was consumed with dinner and...da da da...a potted Easter lily. BIL has known me for 33 years. Oh well. I put it in a prominent place in the living room and then took it outside when they left. I am sure it was his GF's idea as she has lovely manners and was very appreciative that I was cooking for everyone (plus doing an egg hunt and egg dying activity for the kids). No way was I going to make her feel badly for bringing something that she didn't know I am allergic to.

                              Other couple asked what they could bring and I told them we had everything covered, but thanks for the offer. She made a large batch of krumkakke, a Norwegian cookie that is very laborious to make. It was lovely and I served it along with the other dessert we had.

                              Even though both unexpected items were not necessary and in the case of the lily, problematic for me, I very much appreciated the kindness shown.

                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                it would have killed me to make her feel bad, but I'd have had to put the lily outside as I thanked her profusely -- I adore them, but they reciprocate by making me sneeze and cough violently until they're gone.

                                Then I'd have smacked my brother upside the head because he knew better and let her walk into a potentially embarrassing situation and didn't say anything.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  It is actually my BIL (husband's brother and a royal PITA--thus the reason for 3 lovely ex-wives and he is only 45). The new lady in his life is very lovely and this was the first big family holiday dinner we've done since they moved in together. I am sure she was a bit nervous--she knows we are still very close to each of his ex-wives. Talk about awkward. Of course, he is the one who should feel awkward but he is such an a-hole that he doesn't get it.

                                  Anyway, there is just no way I would do anything other than to make her feel 150% welcome, even though that meant doubling up on antihistamines and sucking it up for me. Thankfully, today is the day our housecleaners come and I've asked them to do extra dusting/vaccuming. (Yeah, what kind of moron host has guests over the day *before* the housecleaner comes?!?!)

                                  1. re: jlhinwa

                                    Smart ones, that's who! I tidy up before people come but AWAYS wait for after to do a deep clean.

                                    1. re: Gloriaa

                                      Yeah, that's it. I am smart! I tidy up before hand but don't waste time deep-cleaning anything except kitchen counter/cooking surfaces and bathrooms. I don't even vacuum before guests come over.

                                      I can't wait to get home tonight to a perfectly clean and tidy house!

                                2. re: jlhinwa

                                  <No way was I going to make her feel badly for bringing something that she didn't know I am allergic to>

                                  This is what I've been attempting to visualize. Someone is invited to my home, they ask me what they can bring. I say, "just bring yourself", they thoughtfully bringing me something to show their appreciation, I open the door and there's those damn lilies that make my eyes water like crazy.
                                  I thank my guests for them and put them somewhere where I'm not going to be touching them. After they leave they go outdoors, sadly. I had a dinner party recently and, like your dinner, one of the guests brought a dessert she'd made. I had asked her not to bring anything but she did. My dessert had taken half the day to complete but I served hers along with mine and made it a point to show how much we enjoyed it.
                                  Why would anyone make someone feel bad for doing something that's nothing but a polite, thoughtful act of kindness?
                                  I'm glad your Easter dinner went well. You sound like a wonderful host.

                                  1. re: latindancer

                                    That's gracious! Just keep smiling.

                                    1. re: latindancer

                                      Awww, thanks latindancer. I had the most lovely afternoon and evening with my guests. It was a ton of work but also a lot of fun. Everyone got along well (not always easy or guaranteed with my BIL in the mix), and all the food turned out well. The krumkakke was a lovely treat and my friend who brought it what we didn't eat behind, which we have been snacking on since. :-)

                                      And yes, while I would have preferred not to have the lilies especially, I would never want either lady to feel that I didn't appreciate their kindness, because I know they were truly gestures of kindness and appreciation.

                                      1. re: jlhinwa

                                        Krumkake!! I grew up eating those things. Those "krums" go every which way when you take a bite! Got to get me some and maybe some Fattigmann!

                                        1. re: jlhinwa

                                          <truly gestures of kindness and appreciation>

                                          Exactly. That's the message.

                                          You simply put your ego aside and allowed your guests to bring things they thought you'd like. You understood they weren't going out of their way to disrespect you when you said 'I've got it covered'.
                                          Your graciousness in allowing another person to show a bit of kindness and appreciation is a mitzvah. A simple act of kindness and it's not difficult to do, as you've demonstrated.

                                          1. re: latindancer

                                            :-) Thanks latindancer. I love having people over and for the most part, I care deeply about the people I entertain, so their feelings are going to come before my preferences. (Before anyone goes crazy, within reason of course. Blatantly rude, intentionally disrespectful, hurtful or other behavior is different.)

                                            I am still smiling, thinking of what a lovely day it was. I live in the Pacific NW and our weather has been crummy for months...Sunday was a glorious, warm (almost 70 degrees) day. Perfect!

                                3. re: westsidegal

                                  So true, and even worse is the fact that if they are really bad ones for me (like stargazer lillies), I will be miserable for the rest of the evening and won't enjoy my guests. Wish it weren't so.

                                  ETA: This was a reply to Westsidegal above.

                                  1. re: jlhinwa

                                    "stargazer lillies"

                                    you're right ~
                                    they stink

                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                      I actually love the fragrance of them, but they are pure evil.

                                      1. re: jlhinwa

                                        I think the smell of them is highly unpleasant-but I'd bet others hate the smell of (say) fresh carnations which I adore-matter of opinion I suppose

                        3. I abide by the request of my host(s) and bring only myself.

                          1. Yup - just send a nice note thanking her after Easter is over. Maybe you can treat her to a movie or a drink/dinner at another time.

                            1. I will sometimes bring a small wrapped gift, making it clear that it is to be opened after the guests have gone. It just doesn't seem right to come empty handed, even if I planned on sending a thank you note.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: janniecooks

                                That's very nice, but in the case of the OP, you wouldn't. Right?

                                1. re: janniecooks

                                  I always stipulate to bring absolutely nothing except "a hearty appetite and sparkling conversation" on all my invites. When someone brings something it makes me uncomfortable. Even if it is "to be opened after the guests have gone." I do not invite people over in order to score gifts. I think bringing something when a host stipulates to absolutely not bring anything is more about the giver making himself feel better than actually giving the gift. If you truly respect your host, you will do as asked.

                                    1. re: ttoommyy

                                      Even if the gift does not need to be opened or put in water, it's still something that needs to be handled and addressed by the host(ess).
                                      For Pete's sake! do as you're asked and control your impulses! It's NOT ABOUT YOU!!

                                    2. re: janniecooks

                                      So you bring a gift instead of a thank you note? How are those two things equal?

                                      Unless I'm told otherwise (such as in the OP's case) I bring something AND send a thank you note.

                                      It always irks me when I ask someone to not bring anything more than themselves and a smile and they bring something anyway. (like my mom--always brings something even when I say "please, please, please don't bring anything")

                                      1. re: gourmanda

                                        I bring a small gift and send a thank-you note the next day. I never said "gift instead of thank you note", you are reading between the lines something that isn't there. The gift is just a token of appreciation. I have never been offended when a guest in my home brings such a token, even if I have made it clear I want them to bring nothing. And it is not done out of obligation. It is never disrespectful to give a person a gift. Never.

                                    3. Flowers are always nice. If it's a party on Saturday night I like to take a box of nice breakfast pastry clearly labeled "not for the party---this is for your Sunday breakfast". All the effort of the household goes into the party and it's nice for them to have something special for breakfast while they sit around and re-hash the party.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Querencia

                                        That's very nice, but in the case of the OP, you wouldn't. Right?

                                        1. re: Querencia

                                          beg to disagree.
                                          <<flowers are always nice>>
                                          not when one of the other guests has asthma
                                          or if a member of the hostess' family is allergic to pollen
                                          or if you bring those lilys that have the pollen-like stuff that stains everything it touches forever.

                                          re: pastry for the next day's breakfast.
                                          i don't buy/eat day-old pastry from the bakery, why would i want to eat day old pastry that a guest brings the night before? for that matter, i wouldn't serve day old pastry to my dinner guests either.
                                          nothing about it is "special" to me.
                                          it may have been "special" when it came out of the oven, but certainly is not "special" by the next day.
                                          i've tasted cookies that were very special when they came out of the oven, but 5 hours later were nothing with nothing.
                                          there's a reason that a good bakery will mark down whatever pastry is left over at the end of the day for sale the next morning.

                                        2. Arrive with nothing, on Monday mail a thank you note along with a small hostess gift.
                                          Take a look at the guest powder room (lavatory), note the color scheme, stop at Bed, Bath and Beyond or a Party City (or other of the type) and get a couple of packages of paper guest towels that go with the colors. Stick them in a Priority mail envelope with your thank you..................

                                          From experience, I NEVER want guests to bring food, wine or flowers on a holiday. It screws up my plans or timing. I may be making the sauce and don't want to get out a vase, cut flower stalks, etc.

                                          For years, I always had a stock answer, stop on your way and get a bag of Ice, we never have enough. We stashed the ice bags in the master bedroom bathtub, some got used. No guest ever knew if 'their' ice was used or not. No guest felt slighted.

                                          45 Replies
                                          1. re: bagelman01


                                            What a great hostess gift idea! And the ice thing is clever.

                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              Love the ice idea.
                                              Perfect for when we have non Jewish guests.

                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                "Love the ice idea.
                                                Perfect for when we have non Jewish guests."

                                                Please excuse this old goyboy, but what does this mean?

                                                1. re: grampart

                                                  Our home is kosher, so we don't have any food that's not marked kosher. No non kosher wine either.
                                                  Whenever we have non Jewish or non observant guests (non kosher keeping) they always ask "what can I bring?"
                                                  The ice is a nice answer.

                                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                                      had 6 bags brought the night of the first seder and 4 the next night. Used about half and was glad we had it.

                                                2. re: bagelman01

                                                  <I never want guests to bring food, wine or flowers>

                                                  I completely agree.

                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                    No wine. I hate when people bring wine. Drives me crazy. Please no wine.

                                                    Everyone shows up with a bottle and offers to open theirs. So we have 6 bottles open and one idiot always walks into the BEIGE CARPETED living room with a glass.

                                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                                      Wait--are people not allowed to drink red wine in your living room?

                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                        No colored drinks in the living room. There's enough space to relax in the dining room with your wine/coke/iced tea/coffee

                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                          then why have a living room at all?

                                                          How do your guests feel about being restricted to the dining room, like 6-year-olds who can't be trusted?

                                                          Get dark-colored carpet and enjoy your friends -- the friends matter, the carpet is just stuff.

                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                              I can't shake the image of someone in their last days in this existence, reflecting on their life....somehow "I kept the goddamn BEIGE carpet clean" rings hollow aside of "my home was full of people laughing and talking and enjoying one another's company"

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                they are not mutually exclusive visions.
                                                                i've seen MANY MANY MANY parties of people filling homes iwth laughter and talking and enjoying one another's company in which all this wonderful activity took place in rooms that did not have red wine being consumed on beige carpet.

                                                                why in the world would you think that folks couldn't enjoy themselves just because red wine isn't allowed on the beige carpet?

                                                                first hand, i can say it makes no sense.

                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                  because it treats guests like clumsy children, blatantly says that you're not to be trusted to not spill your drink, and that your beige carpet is more important than your guests.

                                                                  Banning guests over a pile of spun polyester is wrong *TO ME* at the cellular level.

                                                                  I put my heirlooms on a shelf or in another room if I'm that worried. The grandmothers who left me those heirlooms would smack me silly if they saw me treating their stuff as more important than people.

                                                                  But then I bring out Waterford crystal on New Years eve with no particular concern if they get broken...because why have boxes of lovely crystal only to have them taking up space on a shelf when they could be used and enjoyed.?

                                                                  Fat lot of good they'll do me when I'm old and by myself.

                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                              Some of them act like 6 year olds, and some actually bring their 6 year olds.

                                                              We actually really do have a great time. Our dining room table is large enough to accommodate all of our guests to sit comfortably. We usually serve dessert on the dining room table (buffet style) and move into the living room. But, like I said, we aren't really wine drinkers...so if someone is bringing a glass of red wine into the living room they're doing it to be obnoxious

                                                              1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                If you don't allow colored drinks in the living room and they eat dessert in there, do you not offer coffee or tea or anything but water with dessert? Just curious, I have never been to anyone's home that had this kind of rule.
                                                                Do you tell them ahead of time? Ask them to leave the coffee on the dining room table?

                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                  Im the only coffee/tea drinker of our group of friends, so we typically don't offer it.

                                                                  If a relative stops by for a cup of coffee and a visit, I have no issues serving them a cup of coffee in the living room. Well, provided that they rest it on a high surface. My toddler likes to "smell" coffee and has a tendency to knock things over.

                                                                  I don't want anyone to think I'm some kind of crazy person--- but we do have friends who are obnoxiously irresponsible and just don't care.

                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                    Ha. I wasn't asking because I thought you were crazy ;)
                                                                    I have the same light carpet in my family room, dining room and living room. I also have almost priceless oriental carpets throughout the house that are hundreds of years old. I have no restrictions for adults. Shoes and wine are welcome.

                                                                    We serve a lot of coffee and wines. A few people have spilled throughout the years, but I think I could count those times on one hand. It all cleans up.

                                                                    I was just curious, because I have had people ask if they should take off their shoes. I tell them that the sweat and oil from their stocking feet is more damaging than dirt from a well wiped shoe. I have never heard of anyone restricting beverages for adults though. Just kids ...and restricting kids is very smart!

                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                      Sadly, some of the adults "we" (read: husband) hang out with are more like children themselves. As in, bringing the ketchup into the living room to show someone how easily it squirts.

                                                                    2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                      Yes, toddlers like to touch things, explore, smell things, jump on things, etc.

                                                                      From the moment my children were born they were exposed to my collectibles, the objects I am a steward to. I take that stewardship very seriously.
                                                                      I also know those 'things' are mere objects, not something I should compromise my life for. They should, ultimately, be enjoyed and not worshipped.
                                                                      My children learned, or sensed, that there are certain things they should be careful around. They were *never* told not to touch, feel or stay away from them. Same went for their friends. They learned how to pick things up, turn them, look at them and admire them. If something was so rare it shouldn't be put on the floor to be walked on or spilled on then it belonged on the wall or in a museum or rolled up for the next collector.
                                                                      If/when something was spilled on rugs (inevitably it happens with kids and adults in the house) off it went to the specialized cleaners for that type of thing.
                                                                      I will not be held captive in a home where things are mere 'things' and life is to be lived and enjoyed.

                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                        Trust me, life is lived an enjoyed in my house!

                                                                        I'm looking forward to spring, when we can have outdoor parties. Any mess can be hosed away!

                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                          even though the "rules" in my house are practically the exact opposite of yours (we have 3 dogs, everyone is allowed everywhere with any kind of food or drink, etc),
                                                                          i find is very surprising how adamantly negative people are about your simple house rule.

                                                                          i've spent time in the houses of people that didn't even allow shoes to be worn in the house not to mention food being served in carpeted areas. every guest STILL had a TERRIFIC time.

                                                                          where is it written that everyone whose rules differ from your own must be wrong? it is not illegal, immoral, nor unethical to ask guests not to bring red wine into certain parts of the house.
                                                                          also, it is not illegal, immoral, nor unethical for me to allow everyone to consume whatever food they want wherever they want in my house (with the exception of items containing xylitol because it is extremely poisonous to dogs).

                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                            Thank you for understanding.

                                                                            At one point I was tempted to get a velvet rope to put at the foot of my staircase. I don't want guests upstairs, especially when my kid is sleeping.

                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                              i don't understand why guests would want to go upstairs in any case.
                                                                              if the party is downstairs, and the food/drink is downstairs, and a bathroom is downstairs,
                                                                              why would anyone take it upon themselves to hike upstairs?

                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                we have a second bathroom at the top of the stairs that gets used during the course of the evening...

                                                                                ...that one I'll agree with -- we close the doors of the bedrooms, and have yet to have anyone open one (they creak loudly, so we'd know)

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  sunshine - and pack the medicine cabinets with marbles.

                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                    heh - I figure if somebody wants to look at my toothpaste, hey, whatever. if I have something that shouldn't be seen, I'll put it somewhere it won't be seen....

                                                                                2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                  We moved into our house pretty recently, and everyone wants to look around.

                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                    but they can't ask for a cook's tour?

                                                                                    Sorry, venturing into people's bedroom uninvited is just rude. Even though the host is opening their home, a closed door is closed for a reason.

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      If you ask for a tour, I'll be happy to give you one. Just not when the toys are shoved in the closet, the kid is sleeping, the hamper is overflowing, and the spare bedroom has plastic monkeys all over the floor! :)

                                                                                      1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                        that's my point...that helping yourself to an unguided tour crosses the line between curious and nosy (and rude).

                                                                                  2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                    I had guests refuse to use the downstairs bathroom in my old home.

                                                                                    1. re: melpy

                                                                                      that's odd -- did they say why? (assuming it was reasonably clean and didn't smell....)

                                                                          2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                            Honestly I would also request that the food and beverages stay in the dining area if I had a light colored carpet in my home. I had an adult guest spill a full glass of fruit punch (glass dropped and liquid sprayed everywhere) on the darker beige dining room carpet and there are still stains even after Chem Dry cleaned it.I also had an 11 year old child who was an unexpected guest @ a Thanksgiving feast who somehow managed to *on accident* lay some napkins right next to my centerpiece that had lit candles...caught the napkins on fire ...he then grabbed the burning napkins and ran towards the kitchen...dropped the burning mess onto the carpet and it was a large sized mass then he started stomping on it and the carpet at the entryway to the kitchen was damaged.All of this before I even served our dinner.Evil rotten feral brat.

                                                                            1. re: Lillipop

                                                                              the worst part of that story is that that kind of behavior could end up being OUR behavior if we live long enough.

                                                                              when my parents got older and they went to live in an "independent living" facility, those sorts of burning/spilling accidents were commonplace among the elderly set as well.
                                                                              it seemed like the fire alarms were set off and the fire department arrived at least a couple of times a month. folks forgot that they had food on the stove, in the oven, in the toaster oven, etc.

                                                                              when i start beng the one doing those things it will be VERY depressing.

                                                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                Omg omg that's crazy. Happy everyone made it out ok!

                                                                              2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                It is your home and you have the right to limit access to areas and things within your home. If any of your guests can not respect your wishes then maybe cross them off of your next few guest lists. You work hard to host a gathering and keep a nice home so be selective about who you allow in.You are far from a crazy person cheesecake.You sound like you want your home to be neat and clean for you to enjoy. I did write a post about the permanent staining on my dining room carpet from a glass of fruit punch spilled by a guest and then there was the fire caused by a visiting "demon-child" from napkins near a lit candle.

                                                                          3. re: sunshine842

                                                                            <the friends matter, the carpet is just stuff>

                                                                            So true.
                                                                            The beige carpet, for me, would be gone. Up it would go, hardwood would go down, red wine would flow and people could relax.

                                                                        2. re: cheesecake17

                                                                          cheesecake17 completely agree with you and would like to add:
                                                                          another problem with the wine gift is that:
                                                                          1) if it's a really good bottle of fine wine, the people that just happen to be at THAT party may or may not know the difference between that and swill. (i've actually seen a party guest mix 2 wines in the same glass one of which was a really fine wine and one of which was just a little better than rotgut and then put an ice cube in the glass)

                                                                          2) if it's a poor to fair wine and the people at the party are used to drinking much better, there are a lot of ways that the situation can get awkward.

                                                                          1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                            I agree.

                                                                            I've read posts where people bring wine to their host's home because they assume the wine being served isn't up to their standard.
                                                                            They bring it, insist it's opened, so they can drink it and turn their noses up at the host's wine.
                                                                            Now *that* is rude.

                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                              that be me.
                                                                              i have a particular girlfriend that serves two buck chuck.
                                                                              i won't spend calories on that.
                                                                              if i want to imbibe at her home i bring a bottle with me.
                                                                              for the last 20 years or so my rudeness hasn't bothered her.
                                                                              i still get invited all the time.
                                                                              maybe the moral of the story is that if the person is truly a friend, and you have stuck with each other through really profound life setbacks, "bad" behavior such as bringing and opening a better bottle of wine can be overlooked.

                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                It's totally not about good or bad wine. We're not a particularly choosy group when it comes to wine. It's the idea that if I opened one persons bottle, everyone else wants to open theirs too.

                                                                                Last time we had a party (10 couples) and someone asked to bring something, I said, YES dessert.

                                                                              2. re: latindancer

                                                                                You're right - -that is rude.

                                                                                The commonly-accepted rules of etiquette (even in France, where nearly everyone shows up with a bottle in hand) is that it's nice to bring a bottle, but there is absolutely no obligation for the host to open it -- they can, of course, but there's every chance that they have already chosen the wines for the meal.

                                                                                It's a gift to be used, or not, at the host's discretion.

                                                                        3. It's her party and she'll deny if she wants to...

                                                                          1. Bring yourself, a good appetite, a good sense of humor and good conversation.

                                                                            1. <you've been told in no uncertain terms that you're not to bring anything to easter dinner>

                                                                              When I invite anyone to my home everyone who's invited always asks what they can bring. I always, in turn, say 'absolutely nothing, please just bring yourself'. Every single one of my guests always brings something, whether it be wine or flowers (already cut in a vase), chocolates etc...with a thank you note. I find it lovely and generous and thoughtful. I've always assumed, when they've asked, they're talking about food, which I've never wanted anyone to bring. They're guests in my home and I'll do the cooking.
                                                                              Nobody's going to ask, "what can I bring? Would you appreciate flowers or chocolates or wine?"

                                                                              35 Replies
                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                on the other hand, i DON'T find it "lovely and generous" when people ask me what my desires are and then only act on THEIR desires.

                                                                                if you have no intention of actually accepting my answer to a question, please don't waste my time asking it and cerainly don't get upset when i dump the stuff you insist on bringing into the trash. after all, you only brought it for your own psychological reasons. my desires clearly don't matter at all to you.

                                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                  <my desires clearly don't matter to all to you>


                                                                                  A lovely gentleman, unknowingly, brings you flowers to your dinner party.
                                                                                  You, upon receiving them and of course boiling mad because he's not 'thinking of your desires', promptly take them to the trash and toss them.
                                                                                  Gotcha loud and clear.

                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                    I wouldn't throw them in the trash but the gesture would cetainly seem like he was doing it more for himself than for me.

                                                                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                      I'm getting the picture.
                                                                                      A very polite man...

                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                        Sorry, I thought you were asking this question in the context of the original discussion.

                                                                                    2. re: latindancer

                                                                                      This isn't about unknowingly bringing a gift, and it isn't about what you as a hostess appreciate. This is about a hostess who has apparently been very clear about her desire not to receive anything, and bringing an unwanted gift after being told clearly and plainly that it isn't wanted. If you bring a gift when the hostess explicitly, clearly, and firmly asks that you not, you are being rude.

                                                                                      1. re: mpjmph

                                                                                        I was specifically asking about a gentleman, unknowingly and politely, bringing flowers to a woman's home.
                                                                                        I got my answer and it begins to answer many questions I've had, all along, about certain contemporary nuances in the world of men and women. I'm hoping some of the message I'm reading is an anomaly.
                                                                                        It's great discussion, though, especially with my foreign friends who bring flowers, chocolates and anything else they think I might love.
                                                                                        This politeness is endearing and I would never, in my wildest dreams, think of it as offensive.

                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                          "unknowingly and politely bringing flowers" is quite different than this discussion, which is "do you expressly ignore a host who says not to bring anything".

                                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                            I think there is a huge difference between :

                                                                                            "Can I bring anything" when asked for dinner...clearly referring to food.

                                                                                            Opposed to politeness when bringing a small gift to the home of the host.
                                                                                            They're two entirely different things.

                                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                              Oh, dear god in heaven, don't anyone bring flowers to my house, ever.

                                                                                              1. I'm allergic to them

                                                                                              2. They're a pesticide delivery system, and

                                                                                              3. Flowers belong outside.

                                                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                  And the Pollen Police will arrest you!

                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                there is nothing "unkowing" about the set up described in the original post.

                                                                                                of course, i would see the situation differently if there was an "unknowing" part of it.

                                                                                                what was posted was far from "unknowing."
                                                                                                what was posted was <<you've been told in no uncertain terms that you're not to bring anything to easter dinner. no food. no flowers. no wine. no nothing. she means it>>

                                                                                                just give me a clue. are we discussing "unknowing" or are we discussing <<you've been told in no uncertain terms that you're not to bring anything to easter dinner. no food. no flowers. no wine. no nothing. she means it>>

                                                                                                my views about one situation would be different than my views about the other.

                                                                                            2. re: latindancer

                                                                                              if the "lovely gentleman" was lovely enough to be in contact with me beforehand, and asked me what he should bring, and he was
                                                                                              <<told in no uncertain terms that {he shoud} not to bring anything to easter dinner. no food. no flowers. no wine. no nothing>>

                                                                                              and then he turned around and brought flowers, i would NOT have seen him as being very lovely.
                                                                                              i would have seen him
                                                                                              as a person who make a request for information and then doesn't respect the answer.

                                                                                              this would demonstrate poor communication skills on his part at the very least.
                                                                                              i would question why he wasted my time by asking and why he got me involved in a strange mental dance based on lying (first, he presumed that my answer was a lie, and secondly, it demonstrated that his desire for information/question was a lie) that he wanted to do for reasons i don't understand.

                                                                                              it would also demonstrate that he was unwilling to respond to a clear, simple, request.

                                                                                              why would it be ok for him to presume that my response was an out and out lie?
                                                                                              remember the "no uncertain terms" part of the OP.

                                                                                              not so lovely to me.

                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                "A strange mental dance based on lying"? I can sort of understand being annoyed, but at what point did you get lied to?

                                                                                                1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                  ok, it was an implied lie.
                                                                                                  the hypothetical gentleman asked a question which would imply that he wanted an honest answer and that the answer to the question would have a consequence.

                                                                                                2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                  <not so lovely to me>
                                                                                                  <strange mental dance>

                                                                                                  Not so lovely to them either, I'm afraid.
                                                                                                  Based on the men in my life, there've been a few, and their desires and needs to show affection toward the ones they're attracted to, I have no doubt they'd look at this behavior as militant rigidity...a complete turnoff.
                                                                                                  I watched a young woman, with great pleasure, publicly humiliate and embarrass an older, lovely gentleman because he opened the door for her at a hotel I was staying at.
                                                                                                  He had no agenda other than to show her respect because *she* was a woman...it's what men do, it was his pleasure.
                                                                                                  Her act was disgusting as she hailed words at him that would make anyone with any decency cringe. She, obviously, had an agenda. How dare he open the door for her, she didn't ask for it, he was outdated, he was a fool. She was in charge, his need & desire to respect a woman was denigrated and made to look like a bad thing.
                                                                                                  Why would there be a need to *not* allow someone to show a little politeness? That is the question.

                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                    Amen. I hope the gentleman, and I do mean gentleman, understand that HE was definitely not the problem.
                                                                                                    Chip meet shoulder.

                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                      The young woman was out the door, she'd made her point , and went on her merry way. She didn't like the idea that a man had insinuated she wasn't capable of opening her own door along with a myriad of other agendas she had.
                                                                                                      *She* was in command and she was going to let him know, under no uncertain terms, that he had better listen to her.
                                                                                                      She chose to throw a fit to show everyone around her she meant business.
                                                                                                      He was simply an unknowing participant.

                                                                                                    2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                      Hmmm. I don't much care for this yelling. It sounds extreme and a bit unhinged if you ask me.

                                                                                                      That said, I don't understand why one can't see politeness as holding the door for the person behind you-- regardless of gender. To make it a gesture of 'respecting' one's perceived genital possession, and to gain a sense of one's own value through it-- I suppose I don't think much for this kind of motivation. It seems based less on etiquette than a grand performance of a value system that overlaps with, but does not match up entirely with the 'hold the door for the person behind you' ethos.

                                                                                                      Indeed, sometimes the gesture is so grand that the door holder loses sight of key issues, such as:

                                                                                                      1. Holding a toilet door wide open at a restaurant may not be desirable for the larger number of people present. (And while such things are natural, I think it best for people to assume that grand gestures around the loo are best avoided.)

                                                                                                      2. That the arm holding the door has provided an effective bar to entry or egress, forcing someone to limbo under an armpit.

                                                                                                      In effect, when the gesture is done for the gesture's sake and the edification of the person doing so, rather than with thought to the recipient, the kindness and politesse are minimised-- and can become suspect to boot.

                                                                                                      But again, no cause for yelling (although I really must ask: yelling and swearing? for real?).

                                                                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                        There didn't seem to be anything 'unhinged' about the woman other than her choice of words and actions that made her appear more like an exhausted, frustrated, long-haul truckdriver.
                                                                                                        She was on travel with business (I learned this from the concierge who also witnessed the episode) and took the opportunity to put the man in his place.
                                                                                                        There was nothing more complicated than that.

                                                                                                      2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                        The young woman you observed was out of line, but this example bears little resemblance to the OP's case. The equivalent situation would have been: the older gentleman asks the woman ahead of time if he can open the door for her, she answers "no, thank you, please don't open the door for me", and he proceeds to do it anyway. There's really no need to know *why* she said no to understand that the man in this hypothetical example is the one being weirdly rigid and anything but polite.

                                                                                                        1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                          Obviously, there are two different opinions with this scenario;
                                                                                                          I see nothing 'impolite' with what the man did....you do.

                                                                                                          The man simply opened the door for her and she verbally assaulted him. Regardless, if my story bares any resemblance to the OP's situation or not...the woman was a rigid ideologue and she made him pay for his brief, attempted display of politeness.

                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                            Call me a trouble maker, but I would go out of my way to open a door for this woman.

                                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                :). In this case you would have had the entire lobby standing at their feet applauding. It was absurdity at its finest. To top it off, upon further conversation with the concierge, he was a prolific Holocaust survivor scheduled to give a speech later that evening. His motives for opening the door were simple....his was an act of kindness to another human being.

                                                                                                                It's what made the Marx Brothers so incredibly famous. Their comic satire, in cases like this were brilliant.

                                                                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                                                                              What would be the harm, in this case, for the woman to allow the man to open the door for her and politely say "Thank you"?

                                                                                                              The fact that she not only didn't allow him to do it, but publicly and purposely humiliated him for doing so, speaks volumes for the young woman.

                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                But, in fact, she humiliated herself. If I were that man, my only reaction would have been a very wide smile. I can assure you, I would have suffered no humilation.

                                                                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                  <I would have suffered no humilation>

                                                                                                                  He didn't. I can assure you, his human awareness and enlightenment was far above and beyond this young woman's.
                                                                                                                  He smiled.

                                                                                                            2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                              to me, the comparison you're making here is a false equivalency.

                                                                                                              a man UNKNOWINGLY opening the door for a girl he never met before at a public place is not even nearly the same as a guest in someone's house who was, in advance, << told in no uncertain terms that you're not to bring anything to easter dinner. no food. no flowers. no wine. no nothing. she means it>>

                                                                                                              a would agree with you about the girl's response to the older man
                                                                                                              but would disagree that this is even a remotely equivalent situation to the one described in the original post.

                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                There was never an attempt, on my part, to make a comparison to the OP's dilemma. It was purely an observation, bringing up a reflection of how some people don't know how to allow another person to be polite...they're just too strident in their beliefs, their own agendas, and unwilling to bend for anyone, no matter what the scenario.

                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                  Bingo- just extrapolating on rigid-ass ideologues.

                                                                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                    And others don't get to extrapolate on your rigid-assity?

                                                                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                      Extrapolate away!
                                                                                                                      ps... my ass is unfortunately not as rigid as it used to be '-(

                                                                                                    3. Honor her request. I have several hostess in My circle that truly don't want a guest to bring anything so I have been conditioned that no means no.

                                                                                                      I agree on a thank you note and a thoughtful gift after the event such as nice soaps, candle or a flower arrangement, always something consumable or with limited life.

                                                                                                      Because of me upbringing, it was very hard for me to show up without a flower arrangement, bottle of wine or small hostess gift but some people don't want "extra" at their party or in their life.

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                        <thoughtful gift after the event>

                                                                                                        See, this is what I don't get. If you're going to send something *after* the event then why not just bring if *with* the event?
                                                                                                        This makes no sense to me.
                                                                                                        With my guests, who always bring something, I don't even know they've brought it until after they've all gone home.

                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                          Because the hostess will be busy and may not have the time to stop and say thanks. If it were me, I could just smile, say thanks and set it aside. the hostesses I mentioned above would feel they needed to drop what they were doing to find a place for the flowers, open the gift, etc.

                                                                                                          1. re: cleobeach

                                                                                                            Who says I have the time to 'stop and say thanks'?

                                                                                                            As I stated in my earlier post I don't recognize the gift until the next day. I don't even see the gift(s) until the next day.

                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                              Where do your guests place these gifts to be found the next day?

                                                                                                              That might be fun, sort of an adult searching for it like an Easter basket.

                                                                                                          2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                            Because it is rude to the people who have honored the host's request by not bringing anything and who fought about it in the car the whole way over, and who have a lovely wrapped hostess gift sitting in the back seat 'just in case.'

                                                                                                            I remember growing up the lady next door calling one of the local charities once or twice a year to come pick up the gifts people had given her. Or as she referred to them ". . . things I don't need, don't want, and won't use."

                                                                                                            Of course we all want to let our host know how much we appreciate all the work they have done - even if it was just picking up the phone and ordering pizza. And no, not all of our hosts are allergic diabetics who will be leaving for a year long round the world cruise as soon as the guests are out the door and are the reason why they can't deal with dying flowers, melting chocolates, etc.

                                                                                                            But if a host is as explicit as the specific one described by the OP, who was clearly referring to hostess gifts as well as food or beverages for the meal, then surely it can't be too difficult to swallow our pride, subvert our best intentions, and show up with only our friendship and sparkling conversation.

                                                                                                            If you really want to show your appreciation then invite them over or take them out AFTER the holidays are over and life has returned to some sense of normalcy. Or if you must, then bring or send them a thank you gift when they get back from Gstaad or Burbank or wherever they are off to the minute the party ends.

                                                                                                        2. I would say a Thank You card after... when I tell people not to bring anything I also "mean it".. But, sure, a thank you after would be much appreciated :)

                                                                                                          1. I would still bring something.

                                                                                                            Not food and certainly nothing specifically mentioned by the host.

                                                                                                            But perhaps something like a coffee table book? Or something that the hosts likes, such as something for a hobby or something? Does the host have children? A small gift for the child works well also.

                                                                                                            Cuz, let's face it, in my opinion unless it is a potluck kind of deal, no host is really going to feel comfortable asking you to bring something (at least I wouldn't).

                                                                                                            And which self-respecting host is going say, "Yeah, sure, bring a bouquet of roses, a bottle or two of Château Lafite, and how about a nice table setting while you're at it. Thanks!"

                                                                                                            34 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                              So the host's request means nothing to you and you're going to do it anyway? I just don't get it.

                                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                Let's put it this way.

                                                                                                                If I'm going to err on the side of being rude -- either showing up empty handed or showing up with an unrequested gift -- I err on the latter every single time.

                                                                                                                It's just the way I was reared.

                                                                                                                And like I said up above, no self-respecting host is ever going to ask you to bring something (short of a potluck). So the host is being polite. Reciprocate and bring something.

                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                  Totally disagree, but whatever floats your boat........

                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                    << no self-respecting host is ever going to ask you to bring something>>

                                                                                                                    ipse, you've just met the self-respecting host that regularly asks guest to bring SPECIFIC things, such as:
                                                                                                                    "i'm not going to have time the day of the party to pick up a loaf of whole wheat bread, could you grab one for me?"
                                                                                                                    "the grocery store near your house carries the Three Twins brand of ice cream, could you save me a drive and bring a pint of that with you? It will go with the cookies that i will be getting from XYZ bakery?

                                                                                                                    i promise you, i am NOT the only self-respecting host(ess) that does this, not by a long shot.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                      So... I'm confused. When you are the host and a guest says may I bring something and you "no".... you don't really mean it? Why would you not just say how about a bottle of wine, or whatever? So you would say "no" because that's what hosts do and you don't really mean it and as a guest you would bring something because the host is just saying no as a formality?

                                                                                                                      You live in a different world than I do. I only invite over my friends and I can actually tell them how I feel.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ellaf

                                                                                                                        If someone says "no, just yourselves" I will still bring a hostess gift, especially if it is my first time there.

                                                                                                                        I will say no also and while not expect a hostess gift will also not be surprised.

                                                                                                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                    <which self-respecting host is going to say, "Yeah, sure, bring a...>

                                                                                                                    Exactly. I totally agree.
                                                                                                                    How about the host attempting to understand the guest who feels uncomfortable *not* bringing something as a gift of 'thanks'.
                                                                                                                    It's why 'hostess gifts' were invented.

                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                      I never assume bringing something *just* for the host is anything but obligatory on the part of the guest.

                                                                                                                      Of course, if the host requests that we bring something (say, a bottle of wine or an app or dessert), then I bring whatever is requested *and* something just for the host, or host-family member.

                                                                                                                      It just doesn't matter.

                                                                                                                      Even if I get every single meal from a soup line and Carlos Slim Helú invited me over for dinner and said, "Oh, no, please don't bring anything," I would still maybe find some public park with a nice flowerbed and bring some flowers.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                        I've always been surprised there is a conversation, and oftentimes a debate, about this particular subject. Perhaps things have changed, certain mannerisms are outdated, I don't know. It's strange when I read someone say 'it makes them uncomfortable'...as if to say the guest is showing off'...not even remotely accurate.
                                                                                                                        As you say, the small gift could be flowers from a park, a thoughtful gift for a child, a treat for their dog. My mother would bring a jar of homemade jam, some apples from her tree, a box of tea, just anything that reflects a gentle, thankful gesture.

                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                          Part (or a majority?) of it maybe cultural.

                                                                                                                          Like I said up above, it was just the way I was reared by my parents.

                                                                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                          I'd rather a guest bring nothing than to be so selfish as to steal flowers from a public park. Flowers that are meant for everyone to enjoy, it's not a personal nursery.

                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                            in answer to your question: me.
                                                                                                                            i'm the self respecting host(ess) that says exactly such things on a regular basis.

                                                                                                                            also, when someone is talking about bringing a gift, why shouldn't the RECIPIENT'S desires take precedence?
                                                                                                                            why is it all about the donor's desires (or sometimes the desires of the donor's long-deceased parents) and not at all about the recipients desires?

                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                              Perhaps the hostess wants to avoid throwing out yet another coffee table book/scented candle/insert-generic-trinket here?

                                                                                                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                I had a girlfriend once who was incapable of not bringing my mother a gift every time we went to her house. Eventually, my parents dedicated a shelf in a cabinet in the dining room to Presents from Jennifer.

                                                                                                                                My father thought she was trying to impress them (J was from a higher socioeconomic stratum). My mother was sad because she thought J never felt welcome in our home, that J thought of herself as "not enough."

                                                                                                                                I went with my mother's POV. A thank-you card is enough already. You don't have to prove anything.

                                                                                                                                I have a couple of coffee table books I've looked at once that were host gifts. While they're not particularly interesting, I feel I can't get rid of them because some givers will look on the bookshelves to find "their" book.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                  <You don't have to prove anything>

                                                                                                                                  Nobody's 'trying to prove anything' when they bring a small hostess gift, Jay F.

                                                                                                                                  A short, quiet and polite gesture is now perceived and turned into someone 'showing off'?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                    Quite frankly, Latin Dancer, you don't know any of the people involved, so knowledge of their motivations and reactions isn't nearly as available to you as it was to me.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                      You're right.

                                                                                                                                      I don't know any of the people involved.
                                                                                                                                      It's okay :).

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                    i've ended up being the unwilling recipient of a collection of cut crystal candy bowls. they probably would go well with your coffee table books.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                      I'll gladly add my collection of cocktail pitchers.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                        They would go great on that shelf, WSG.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                          i'm glad they'd fit on your shelf because my shelf is taken up by flower vases that never get used because of the "no flowers in the house" rule.
                                                                                                                                          maybe i can send the vases over to you along with the crystal candy bowls?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                            Off topic but elderly housing units, assisted living places and even some hospitals take empty vases for patients who need them. Often flowers are brought or sent to patients with out them. You local middle and high school art departments might take them too.

                                                                                                                                            Last time I moved I finally got rid of all those cheap vases that come with FTD type flowers. It was a good feeling!!!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                              thank you!
                                                                                                                                              i could add the little glass spheres that came from the carnival with little live goldfish in them to the collection.
                                                                                                                                              (i immediately took the poor goldfish out and placed them in a real tank, poor things)

                                                                                                                                            2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                              Why would you hang onto all that 'stuff' you've hated from the minute it came in the house?
                                                                                                                                              It, obviously, takes up space and reminds you of one of your obvious pet peeves.
                                                                                                                                              I'd put it in the alley and within seconds it'd be gone. Or take it, or have it picked up, to a place where someone would love everything you've described?
                                                                                                                                              It makes little sense.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                a few reasons
                                                                                                                                                1)some of the stuff was given to me by people in the "unknowing" category.
                                                                                                                                                because of the circumstances, at the time of giving the gift, they honestly didn't know that i would not want a gift (i.e. friend of a friend situation or a new-friend situation.
                                                                                                                                                if i have any thought that the unknowing person might return to my house i will make an attempt to keep the stuff for a while.
                                                                                                                                                if the new-friend becomes and old friend, s/he will learn not to bring any more stuff, but i will keep the first item as a remembrance of the beginning of our friendship (i have a couple of pieces of jewelry that fall into this category)

                                                                                                                                                2) for most of the stuff, i know i will eventually find homes for it with people who have less financially than i. (every christmas, my housekeeper takes a load of such stuff and gives it as gifts to a lot of the people on her list. in this case, my trash is her treasue. many of the cut crystal candy bowls and vases have found their way onto the coffee tables of her family members already and are seen by them as being treasures. also, now her nieces are old enough to see some of this stuff as precious. for the vases, she'll fill them up with christmas candy and tie a bow around them and gift them to her friends). my handyman and gardener also take loads of this stuff around christmastime.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                  My reasons are less altruistic than yours! I hold onto those cheap vases because I always have the intention of doing something creative! I have friends that create these wonderful centerpieces and table settings with them. Or I'll watch one of those home and garden shows and I imagine having a cutting garden and having gorgeous flowers all around my house.

                                                                                                                                                  Ha!! It never happens but in my mind I just know someday I will....

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                    You made it sound like you had a room full of it.

                                                                                                                                                    Gardeners, housekeepers, maids, handymen, the alley, my favorite mission downtown LA where the recipients would think they'd died and gone to heaven to receive one of your crystal candy dishes, let alone a used blanket....they're all good for things like that.
                                                                                                                                                    I never keep it around. For me it's 'first come first served' and it all gets taken in one fell swoop. Everybody wins.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                  I'd gladly take the vases, coffee table books and cocktail pitchers, if anyone needs to get rid of any :)

                                                                                                                                                  Many charities do silent auction baskets with a lot of cute odds and ends and would happily take these gifts, if the items are nice quality. If the items are a little less valuable, many Salvation Armys use the money made from their stores to fund their free breakfast to the homeless programs, so you can feel doubly good about donating items there.

                                                                                                                                                  There's no need to keep your cabinets cluttered!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                    Consider it done, cocktail pitchers be gone.

                                                                                                                                                3. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                  I have a pair of hideous chrome candlesticks that look more like . . . self entertainment devices. I'd be happy to let you keep them for me. And they were from people who's taste I have always admired. Maybe they were regifted.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                    <hideous chrome candlesticks>

                                                                                                                                                    Give them away!!

                                                                                                                                                    Ever hear the term "One man's junk is another man's treasure"?
                                                                                                                                                    You, and a few others, are hanging on to things you all hate, partly because people have given them to you when you didn't want them in the first place.
                                                                                                                                                    The question is....why?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                      Because they are dear dear friends and are always so happy to see the candlesticks on the table when I invite them to dinner. The moment those friends are out the door the candlesticks move back to the depths of the hall closet.

                                                                                                                                                      It's about feelings and relationships. Its worth 6 inches of space in the back of a closet.

                                                                                                                                      2. A good book for the hostess to read and relax after dinner.

                                                                                                                                        1. you respect the hostess's wishes.
                                                                                                                                          you just bring yourself.
                                                                                                                                          it's not about "every fiber in YOUR body."
                                                                                                                                          it IS about respecting someone else who has been nice enough to invite you to their home.

                                                                                                                                          what you bring is yourself and any other invited guests.

                                                                                                                                          1. I adhere to those wishes. It has nothing to do with my "upbringing" and everything to do with me respecting people and realizing it's not always About Me.

                                                                                                                                            Also: there's a big difference between "oh no, I don't need you to bring anything" and "Really, do NOT bring anything, okay?"

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                              I know a very lovely young woman in Japan. While living in the US for a number of months she befriended me. I reminded her of her mother living in Japan. Her mother asked her daughter what types of things I liked. I told her to tell her mother everything I did for her daughter was my pleasure, my honor and I wanted nothing in return. All I wanted to do was meet her mother.
                                                                                                                                              When the gifts came, even though I made it very clear I wanted nothing, I thanked her profusely. I honored her gesture and her gifts because it was important for *her* to show *her* gratitude. It was her way of showing me how what I did for her daughter was deeply appreciated. Why, on earth, would anyone be offended by that?

                                                                                                                                            2. I respect the hosts wishes, and come without bringing anything.

                                                                                                                                              1. When I ask a host/ess "what can I bring," I am usually referring specifically to the meal requirements. If the host's response is "nothing" I will assume s/he means that no contribution is required from me for the meal. I would still bring a hostess gift. Something consumable that I know the host/ess would appreciate. I am rarely invited to the home of a stranger.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                                                                                  <I am usually referring specifically to the meal requirements>

                                                                                                                                                  Exactly, this is the point.
                                                                                                                                                  Why would a guest ask about anything else?
                                                                                                                                                  When I do ask, IF I do (which I rarely do unless it's a close friend), it's about the food and that's only to be considerate just in case they're feeling too awkward to ask me for assistance.

                                                                                                                                                2. Empty tupperware containers. Duh. You're not bringing anything, but you're sure taking something home! :o)

                                                                                                                                                  1. respect her wishes but if u wana crack her up tie a red bow around your neck and pose as a present!

                                                                                                                                                    1. Nope, nothing. But absolutely a hand written thank you note the next day. Easter dinner isn't a casual meal, it's a big enough undertaking that it deserves a note. Pizza and movies at my best friends house? Nah. But a holiday meal- definitely!

                                                                                                                                                      1. I do not bring anything. Nor would I expect anyone to bring anything. Ever.

                                                                                                                                                        When people are guests in my home, they are guests. I would consider it the height of inhospitality to expect guests to bring anything.

                                                                                                                                                        It would be different if a host said something along the lines of "I know you don't drink alcohol, Harters, so if you want to bring along a soft drink, please do so." Then I might take something - although I'd be more likely to drink whatever non-alcoholic drink the hosts had available.

                                                                                                                                                        1. This whole argument seems crazy to me. I entertain often and never expect my guests to bring anything, I will tell them to just bring themselves. Sometimes they bring something and I always cherish what they bring, a homemade jam or beautiful bar of soap. I would never resent them for bringing a little something, way more important things to worry about!
                                                                                                                                                          What does drive me crazy are birthday parties where no gifts are requested and half the guests bring gifts making the other half feel cheap....

                                                                                                                                                          1. Send a lovely thank you note after the fact. Maybe something small and special the hostess loves too.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                              This! So appreciated. If someone says don't bring anything, believe them.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Don't bring anything. There actually are people who don't want their guests to bring gifts every time they come for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                              1. There are people, like myself, who WILL feel guilty or embarrassed if people bring things when I said/asked not to.

                                                                                                                                                                For me, being able to provide hospitality to my family and friends is such a privilege that I hate feeling like anyone would feel there is a "cost of admission."

                                                                                                                                                                A little off topic, but I think it's appropriate: a few years ago, my sister grilled me on how I did my hair. What hair dryer I used, what products. I was so pleased and flattered that she would ask me for this advice. Turned out she was grilling me so she could give me a Christmas present I would enjoy. I have to admit that, while I loved the present, I honestly felt that her asking me for the advice had already been a gift and it was spoiled a little bit for me.

                                                                                                                                                                That's how I feel about people bringing me stuff. I'm not sure why, but for me, it spoils my joy in being able to provide unconditional hospitality. Unconditional!

                                                                                                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Violatp



                                                                                                                                                                  I give a dinner party, my guests all bring a small gift, and I'm perceived on this board as loving the 'cost of admission'?
                                                                                                                                                                  Conversely, when I go to someone's home, bring a small gift, I'm thinking my role is to bring something as a 'cost of admission'?
                                                                                                                                                                  Are you serious?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                    latindancer, if bringing a gift for a host or if you host is very comfortable and appreciated by you and yours, then who would disagree. Knowing how your own family & friends will react or respond is key to how we'd conduct gifting.

                                                                                                                                                                    But the OP is asking for help because every fiber of her being wants to bring "something" even though the host has specifically said don't.

                                                                                                                                                                    So, when presented with very specific instructions, do you follow these requests or ignore them?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                      I don't ask my host if there's 'something I can bring' because I'm fully aware that they're talking about food and I expect they're like I am. They want to host *me*.
                                                                                                                                                                      If someone asks me, when I'm hosting, if there's *something they can bring" I always always always answer with 'no thank you'.
                                                                                                                                                                      It's my pleasure to cook, clean, wait on and I knock myself out making sure there's nothing missing where I would need their help.
                                                                                                                                                                      When they say 'bring nothing' I can't imagine a guest thinking this also means a small gift of thanks; a hostess gift. This is where the line has been drawn in my opinion.
                                                                                                                                                                      Now, of course in contemporary thinking or as Ipsedixit mentioned it may be cultural(?) maybe this *is* the way people are thinking. I have no idea and it's not been my experience. This is the way I roll and the people I'm accustomed to, friends and acquaintances and family and colleagues, do the same.
                                                                                                                                                                      It doesn't have to be much, just a small and thoughtful token.
                                                                                                                                                                      If someone is offended by that? I can only say, it's on them...my intention was NEVER to offend, it's quite the opposite There's more to their story, in my opinion, than my little gift of appreciation.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                        Not so much offended but annoyed. If I *expressly tell people not to bring anything*, don't expect me to get excited about the generic soap/candle/plant whatever that I'll just have to get rid of....

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                            if YOU were being gracious, you would have actually given what the hostess ASKED you to give: NOTHING.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                              OMG, a thoughtful little gesture of gratitude should never be shunned. I think it comes from a kind place and to spit upon it is beyond rude.
                                                                                                                                                                              So they didn't do as you commanded?
                                                                                                                                                                              OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!

                                                                                                                                                                              (this thread is so damn entertaining!)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                Well said!!! If you think your 'friend' is not being thoughtful for bringing you a gift that person is clearly not a friend. I choose my friends wisely and know that their hearts are in the right place. Why on earth would ANYBODY waste a minute of their life being offended. Lighten up!!!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                            Like another poster stated...

                                                                                                                                                                            I think I'd make a pile the size of your house filled with cheap soap, candles, plants, flowers, cheap chocolates....

                                                                                                                                                                            I'd leave it at the doorstep and walk away.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                            Okay, well your comment clarifies it for me. Not a food gift that contributes to the actual party menu but a hostess gift as your way of saying thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                          Calm down. That's how *I* see it and how *I* feel. For myself. And yes, when it comes to how I feel about something about myself, then I"m serious.


                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                            Let's not call it "cost of admission," but...

                                                                                                                                                                            I never try to get in touch with the ex-girlfriend who was always bringing gifts to my mother because, yes, I think of her as someone who expects a gift every time someone comes to her house.

                                                                                                                                                                            Why? When someone is as wedded to the idea of *giving* hostess gifts as she is, it stands to reason that she is just as wedded to the idea of *receiving* them.

                                                                                                                                                                            It's simple logic.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                              It's a flawed logic, in my case.

                                                                                                                                                                              I don't expect anything from anyone who comes to my home.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                Then why do you feel the need to bring something?

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Violatp

                                                                                                                                                                            sort of obliquely related to Violetp's post:
                                                                                                                                                                            my next door neighbor and i have been "dieting buddies" for years.
                                                                                                                                                                            it means a lot more to me when she calls me out of the blue to say "i think i've perfected our recipe for practically-no-calorie vegetable soup. i'm bringing a bowl of it over to your house now to see what you think" than if she were to bring a bowl of the soup over as a gift connected to something i've done for her or something i've given her.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. I do not bring anything because I was specifically told not to. I show up empty handed.

                                                                                                                                                                            If you're finding it hard to comply, then I agree with the idea that following up on your thank you for the invite with a special something say a week later is a nice idea. But, honoring the wishes of your host should be priority one.

                                                                                                                                                                            Regarding tit for tat giving or feeling you should/must bring a gift every time you get together is a bit odd to me. Save gifting for really special moments and they'll have more meaning. After all the party planning, a friend who recently hosted a party might really love just getting together, your treat, for coffee & a chat.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. This does not bother me in the slightest. I will be there on time and leave at the end of the evening giving thanks to the hostess and/or host. I may ask how I should dress. Florida is noted for flip flops and tropical shirt weddings to black tie charity wine tastings.

                                                                                                                                                                              I learned a long time ago to graciously accept somebody elses largess without feeling belittled or loaded down with a guilt trip. Thanks Mom.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                                                                                when we first moved to Florida back in the 80s, someone told me that in Florida, formal means you have to wear socks.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                  I have two pair. Formal black and athletic white. Well, closer to gray.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Bring her a thank you card for hosting Easter Dinner for everyone. Find a nice little poem or quote about the celebration or about the meaning of graciousness and hospitality.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Old joke: In a bar in Edinburgh, a Scotsman and an Englishman got to talking. To the surprise of both, they got along quite well. "Ach' said the Scotsman, 'I've never liked an Englishman before, but you're all right. Why don't you come over to house tomorrow and I'll give you a bite to eat. You can't miss it, it's the house up the high street with the red door. Come about six and push the doorbell with your nose.' "With my nose?" 'Well, you're not coming empty handed, are you?'

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                                                                                                    Doncha just lurve ethnic stereotype jokes.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Laugh; I nearly pissed myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I, too, don't like showing up empty handed, but "you've been told... and she means it...."

                                                                                                                                                                                    Therefore, I would respect the wishes of the hostess.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Do not bring anything. Learn to grow beyond what you learned was proper. What's really proper is following the reasonable direction of the host.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Be a sociable guest, write a thank you note afterwards, and reciprocate hospitality according to your means within a year. That's all that's required of guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                        <Learn to grow beyond what you learned was proper>

                                                                                                                                                                                        No thanks.
                                                                                                                                                                                        What I learned has served me very, very well.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                          The old "it's how I was raised" line never fails to amuse me. It's as if you have no say in the matter and how it might conflict with a situation, your parents are the authority on Good Manners and anyone who feels differently was raised in a barn.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                                                                                                            I have never insinuated or claimed that my parents and their mannerisms and what I was taught were/are the end-all for me.
                                                                                                                                                                                            I pick and choose everything that I do, including my mannerisms.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Those mannerisms have served me well.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                              "Those mannerisms have served me well."
                                                                                                                                                                                              I think that is what people are saying..... your manners are serving you.
                                                                                                                                                                                              It does seem that you imply that if people don't agree with your view of "manners," then, they must have indeed been raised in a barn. That's how it sounds.
                                                                                                                                                                                              The OP stated that the hostess was quite adamant about bringing "nothing." In this case, manners should serve the hostess, not you.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                <your manners are serving you>

                                                                                                                                                                                                Is there just the slightest possibility you're reading something into this that just isn't there?

                                                                                                                                                                                                <they must have indeed been raised in a barn>

                                                                                                                                                                                                Once again, there's been nothing posted, on my part, that would draw a conclusion like that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                I go out of my way to make sure my motives are not seen as such.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                  No, just reading your posts. You seem to think that your manners should server you. As you have stated.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  In spite of being told to not bring a gift or anything of any kind, and yet you would still bring something, against the hostess' wishes, that indeed says something. You keep saying and defending that your manners were taught to you, they served you well.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  It seems that manners are being held as a bit of a chip on the shoulder.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's my impression after reading the posts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Manners don't serve oneself, they serve others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                    When an invitation reads 'no gift' I absolutely will NOT bring a gift. It's not right.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are others on this board who have successfully demonstrated what bringing a hostess gift reveals, from the standpoint of the giver *and the receiver.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've stated, in my defense, a reasonable explanation of what/how I bring a small gift of appreciation. It simply has 'nothing' to do with me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    If it doesn't resonate with you, and you don't accept my explanations, then so be it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    My manners are based on what *I think* is right not what others tell me what is 'right'.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                            Karl S...................... ^^^yep^^^

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                              Eleven recommendations on that post?

                                                                                                                                                                                              BOOM! ^^^That^^^.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Accept her wishes. Make sure that you are able to be an excellent guest and good conversationalist.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Perhaps bring your camera and offer to take some pictures of the party to share afterwards.

                                                                                                                                                                                              And, as others have suggested, a thank you note and small gift after the party.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                                                Your idea of bringing a camera and taking pics is the best one I have heard. If I were hosting I would love someone to photograph all stages of the food prep....party goers..... the set table....booze@the bar......the perfectly prepared meal etc.etc. To me that would be as they say *priceless*!:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Clearly there's no crossover from CH to Instagram.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Why oppose her wishes? If you feel that awkward and anxious about not arriving with a gift then maybe you need to slam down a few shots of booze out of a little silver flask while waiting for her door to be answered.Something medicinal to calm your nerves. The real point is to relax and enjoy yourself....have fun.Your hostess has it all organized...planned out and managed.If the person was a close friend then I would volunteer my services to assist if she needed me and leave it at that.I would send a personal thank you note that week with an invitation to dine with me.....to be decided where and when by her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                  <then maybe you need to slam down a few shots of booze>

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I could say the same thing about some of these uptight hosts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                    They would need more than a few shots to loosen their rigid butts up:) I am amazed that anyone would want to dine at the home of a host who is so uptight and rigid that they would flip out if you brought them a tiny box of 4 caramels......or a pair of movie tickets just as a gesture of good will.Go figure:) Out of respect for that person I would not *break her rules* and bring her anything at the actual dinner but yes later a token of thanks and good will.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Oh my God, if I was conflicted before about not bringing a hostess gift before, I'm terrified now, between the people that say "No gifts please' but mean they expect one or else, to the people that get infuriated by the very sight of another damn hostess gift they have to get rid of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I may just dig a basement and stay in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I feel your pain. In my younger days, it was so much simpler. Just slip a joint in the host's hand and say, "for later". Never was a problem and, a time or two, I was the one who got the thank-you note (actually, a phone call).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: grampart


                                                                                                                                                                                                        No kidding.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        When an invitation comes with...
                                                                                                                                                                                                        "No flowers, no wine, no chocolates, no joints".
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd say 'no thanks'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In all but a few situations that likely also would have applied in your younger days, I think that's generally still appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just read your entire post with a mental image of a Roz Chast cartoon (frazzled woman with hair in all directions and a freaked out look on her face) in my head. Thanks for the laugh!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. This may be a cultural thing. Or your hostess could be concerned that people will bring a dish that will clash horribly with whatever she's serving/contain a deadly allergen/offend a guest of another religion. Who knows? I'd just show up empty handed as requested, then send a gracious thank you note via snail mail after the dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sometimes it really is good to be literal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I would bring a gift certificate for a place I know she loves, or some books.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It seems very strange that if someone says don't bring anything, to bring, of all things, books. Almost a passive aggressive type of move.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: olyolyy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Passive-aggressive? oh for heaven's sakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think it's passive aggressive but it is unusual to bring something as valuable and personal as a book. I bring more of a token gift (flowers, a candle, candies, that kind of thing) but a book is an actual present. And the gift certificate would be annoying to me, at least. Almost the same as cash and that's just obnoxious. Your heart is in the right place though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Is your "more of a token" candle scented, Hobbert?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What difference would it make?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            *Nothing* makes me think less of a gift than when it smells when I open the box and it isn't food. Scented candles literally go outside and then into the trash. I'm not going to pretend they don't make me sick (migraines).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Who put anyone in the position of deciding how other people's houses ought to smell?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can't think of anything more arrogant or (non-passive) aggressive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yowza. Ok, no candles for you. Also, I'm assuming you're male by your name so, no, I wouldn't give a guy a scented candle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Dagney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Seriously, these people are on hair triggers looking for a reason to be annoyed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          To infer that a host(ess) gift is passive aggressive is just so sad. The giver's intentions are good and kind hearted and if you can't appreciate that, you shouldn't invite any ne'er-do-well to darken your doors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Seriously, these people are on hair triggers looking for a reason to be annoyed."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agreed, but doesn't that seem to be the case in so many of the discussions on the Not About Food board? However, considering the situation as laid out in the OP's post, can there be any other answer than, "DON'T BRING ANYTHING!!"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So something was given to the hostess. Big deal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Comport yourself!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Handle it with aplomb!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Make sure your guests are comfortable and welcome!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Seriously! He didn't shit on her floor after all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. If your hostess has made it specifically clear that you are NOT to bring anything, DONT bring anything. Why is this even a question?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Cheflambo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ya maybe someone that showed up couldnt afford to contribute. Whatever the host probably had a good reason so don't bring anything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. If it's a family dinner, I might bring a dish or a dessert (since I bake) that I know my family appreciates...most of the time when this happens, family might say, bring nothing or bring whatever you want. I always inquire about the menu prior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BUT if it's an invitation of someone outside of the family, I bring nothing..no candy, no flowers, no movie tickets, no books, etc. The hostess may not be able to eat candy, may be allergic to flowers, may not be into the movie for which you have given tickets or may not like to read.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thank them later...they'll know you appreciate them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. holy mackerel! i've got some reading to do!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: eLizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'll save you the time, whatever you do, you're wrong ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                just click your heels 3x's, eLizard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 8 billion reasons to comply with this request and none for not complying. I can absolutely see why someone would make this request.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Some people have food restrictions (I have a friend who eschews corn, lactose and gluten due to massive digestive issues). Some people have tiny houses where anything extra adds clutter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              For myself, entertaining is an indulgence. I try to minimize leftovers so I don't eat them myself (and no one ever takes ALL of the leftovers) and continue to tank my diet. Throwing it all out just makes me feel upset because I hate waste. If I planned a party with something for everything (because I am well-acquainted with my guests' tastes), I wouldn't want another item being brought, and good lord, I have everything that I need beyond food. If I invite people over, their presence at my event is all that it will take to make me feel rewarded or appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've never actually said "don't you dare bring anything!" but I rarely ask for people to bring stuff unless it's a potluck. And generally, I prefer that they don't. It's not being a control freak or anything like that - I'm just trying to minimize my own stress post-party.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                but would you have a hissy fit and upbraid them in front of other guests?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well of course not. But I'd sigh internally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Over the years I've received a myriad of different types of hostess gifts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Alot of the little things I probably would never have gone out and purchased on my own and lots of them I really didn't like.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have my favorite chocolates, my favorite wines, my favorite flowers etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    However. What harm does it do to take the little gifts given to you, out of appreciation, and graciously accept them as such? Show the person you're accepting their gift with sincere appreciation?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The next day you can throw them in the garbage, across the street with vengence, into a hole with pleasure, break them into a thousand pieces or whatever it takes to get that strident, "I TOLD THEM NOT TO BRING ANYTHING DAMNIT!" attitude out of your system?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's just that easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You really seem to want to justify the hostess gifts you've given.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think the idea that someone would be offended by a simple gesture of bringing a hostess gift is mind boggling to me. I just can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that people think of such things. Stop sweating the small stuff folks!!! Thk god my friends do not get offended so easily!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gourmanda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah, reverse psychology. Or Shakesperian?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          At any rate, I forgive you on behalf of all the hostesses you have offended by bringing a thoughtful gift, and absolve you of your sins.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Say 2 Hail Marys and 2 Our Fathers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think that gift receiving can be more stressful for certain people, and that while the gesture may be appreciated, there may be a strong desire to not be left with the item.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know that my mother worked really hard to set boundaries with her mother - and so meals where my grandmother was present came with the instruction of "NO ONE BRING ANYTHING AT ALL PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE". Because, no matter how kind/thoughtful/appropriate another guests gift might have been - it would result in my grandmother being very aggressive at my mother for why she wasn't allowed to bring stuff, etc. etc. Ultimately, the reason to have nothing brought had nothing to do with most of the guests - but did have a lot to do with making sure that the evening was pleasant for all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In many cases, host gifts are lovely. In others it can be far more involved and so the "no means yes" attitude may not be just as easy as throwing a gift away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            <there may be a strong desire to not be left with the item>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I understand. The scenario you're describing absolutely requires that the simple request be supported.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            However, I don't think I've *ever* been so off the mark when it comes to a simple gestures of appreciation.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In my case, I'm just very thankful my circle of friends and family are flexible, generous, kind and thoughtful people. I cannot imagine any of them thinking and saying:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "When I say no, I mean NO".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "It's my party and I'm the boss...do what I say".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I hate anything that clutters my already cluttered home"...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "I'll just throw your crap out if you bring anything".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm not used to people carrying around that kind of inflexibility. I cringed at some of the things people have stated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I get that - but also as the host (speaking from my mother's experience) it made her terribly uncomfortable to have to tell people "your presence is all that is desired, you do not have to bring anything" - and then see her stress that they'd bring items anyways. Or the far more awkward invite of trying to find a polite way of saying "when I say no, I mean no".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ultimately, I grew up watching someone desperately trying to find the best way to deal with that sometimes more or less successfully. Because in general people don't want to be or appear to be ungracious. We would all love to be in situations where all gifts were truly gifts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In general, I don't think the notion of a host gift is problematic. But I read the OP and think of my mom and wish she'd been able to find a less stressful way to deal with the meals where her mother was also a guest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Did *anyone* suggest having a hissy fit, or upbraiding the gift-bearers, either privately or in front of the other guests? If so, I missed that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't believe so, but why do that when you can deride them behind their backs once they leave? It sooooo much more fun and satisfying to elevate yourself by putting others ("friends" even) down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i'm reminded of a line by kathy griffin. "i talk about people behind their backs. it's called manners."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We are not talking about putting down friends. This is a conversation about stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Stuff given by people who think/say/feel "it goes against every fiber of (my) moral being to show up empty handed," and the struggle such a person goes through to not give a gift when gifts have been specifically, emphatically, and completely ruled out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's not about "I'm gonna give you a gift anyway, and you better effing deal with it." Such aggressive "all about ME" behavior when it comes to gift giving is NOT the topic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Go start your own topic. Call it "Je Ne Givashit Pas about your 'No Gifts' request," and post it on your blog, itsallaboutme.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              it's pretty clearly suggested downthread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. ok, i showed up empty handed and plan on popping a note in the mail today. somehow the world is still spinning on its axis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: eLizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Snail mail thank you notes are so lovely and need to be continued, lest the younguns think a tweet will suffice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: eLizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Honestly, as a hostess, I would prefer this. Thank-you notes when you host something are utterly heartwarming and provide a boost after the excitement of a gathering has passed. Handwritten notes are wonderful things in our digital age.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Take Photos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Print the BEST one at most 3 as 5x7s (More than 3 will have a diminishing return on appreciation. Make sure one of the pics is of your host. People appreciate it when you take their picture.) Everyone posts photos on Facebook who prints anymore?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Send it to your host. Hand write a thank you note and write your favorite moment during dinner. You don't need to formally send it via snail mail or buy a fancy card. It's really the thought that counts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was using Postagram on my iphone http://postagramapp.com/ the not so tech savvy think it's incredible (my parents) & it saves a whole lot of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  oh yeah, I still enjoy that on occasion, but have no idea how to safely score it. it would be appreciated. (offered in a subtle manner).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Be a good 'hound and..... grow your own?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tried, I did get some seeds from a friend, planted them in several different soil/sun/moisture conditions on various parts of the land 5 or 6 in each spot so as not to be infrared conspicuous - nuthin'. oh well, I don't really need to be doing that anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        funny as while we're not like Humboldt County or anything, in this part of this state it's one of the highest grossing cash crops. heck I'm no farmer, I was an art/architecture major.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Indoor & hydroponic are important terms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But as someone who has two black thumbs, I leave the growing part to more talented folk. From the sounds of it, you'd have no trouble finding such talented farmers in your neck of the woods, either :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            true, but as newcomers (we've only been around these parts for 45 years) and didn't go to school here, or are related to half the place, we're 'tolerated' with a smile, but that's about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I think eLizard handled the situation perfectly, but this is my perspective having read through much of the thread:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    First of all I don't condone anything but gracious acceptance of a gift that someone gives you. That said, I think a person who feels compelled to give a gift despite requests that there be no gifts should consider certain things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A host who says "no gifts, please" is establishing a boundary about what they are comfortable with that basically just requires that you not give them a gift - if you care about someone even a little, why wouldn't you respect this most simple of requests?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And while you may not be comfortable with that request, please consider that their request requires NOTHING of you except acceptance, but actual gift-giving, by most standards of etiquette, requires action on the part of the recipient. From a personal perspective, I am not very organized. Just having a friend over for dinner will stress me out, even if it is also fun. But I will fret over thank-you notes for weeks - and when I don't get to them, I feel awful. Yeah, sure, the obvious solution is to write them right away, but I have pretty severe ADD, and a lot of times just keeping my day together is the most I can manage. Stuff liek this slips through the cracks. Plus, I tend to accumulate clutter anyway, and I have a hard time getting rid of things. This is also stressful for me. I would generally just prefer not to receive gifts when hostessing. I'm sure this isn't the reason a lot of people say "no gifts" but trust me, when I say it - it has nothing to do with being a control freak. It's because I struggle with a lot of things that come normally to most people and I'd like a little help from my friends in the most basic way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If someone requests no gifts and means it, it just requires a little bit of kindness on your part to bend your personal rules and respect that request.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "if you care about someone even a little, why wouldn't you respect this most simple of requests?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just felt that was worth repeating.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I actively try to minimize the amount of stuff in my home. I also try not to buy stuff for the sake of buying it. I can appreciated the thought that goes into giving a host(ess) gift. If a guest brings a gift, I accept it graciously, but most items end up being donated or regifted. If I plainly and clearly ask a guest to not bring anything, I expect them to respect my request and desire to keep the stuff in my home to a minimum. If you absolutely must give *something* then make a charitable donation in my honor. A $20 donation to the food bank does a hell of a lot more good than the $20 vase when it eventually makes it from my closet to Goodwill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <A host who says, "no gifts please".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There's a difference between a birthday party where "no gifts please" is definitely respected. I would never, ever think of bringing anything with that request.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When it's someone's home and I ask, 'is there something I can bring' and the person says, 'no thanks I've got it covered'...?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I bring something. I have yet to find anyone, whether it be family, friends or acquaintance who doesn't thank *me* the next day when I've called to thank *them* for the wonderful evening or day or whatever it was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1) there is a big difference between
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            <<no thanks I've got it covered>>
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            << no uncertain terms that you're not to bring anything to easter dinner. no food. no flowers. no wine. no nothing. she means it>>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2) thanking you for a gift that may have been unwanted or even burdensome, could well have been just the recipient's attempt to be polite.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            it certainly wouldn't qualify as solid evidence that they secretly were 'really' were happy that you didn't comply with their stated wishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nobody has ever used the words, in my lifetime....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Don't bring a hostess gift".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That would be one of the weirdest things I've ever heard.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              However, thanks for the heads-up when it comes to my beloved friends and family.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I never, once, ever thought their 'thank-you's' for a small token of my appreciation (just last week I brought a friend a shell I'd picked up on a journey I'd been on and she loves shells) could have been looked at with disgust when I'd asked her before I came to her home if there was anything I could to do help and she said 'just bring yourself'.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              She almost did a back flip when I gave her the shell from a place she's only dreamed about visiting. Maybe she was lying?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Maybe she was lying?" Perhaps not the shell recipient in this instance but no doubt other recipients, at one time or another, gave you thanks which was not heartfelt but was polite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i'm completely with you on the clutter problem.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              on a regular basis i have to hire people to come in and help me with this problem or i'll be buried.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              it is a burden to have more stuff foist on me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (after my parents died i had to hire someone to come in to help me purge my files of all their old pharmacy receipts, insurance premium receipts, bank statements, some of their personal effects, etc. it felt like i was throwing THEM out when i tried to throw out the paperwork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              it's the same story with tschotkes. if i really like the person who gave these horrible clutter things to me, i have difficulty getting rid of them at least until christmastime when i know that my housekeeper can actually use them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              irrationally, it feels to me like i'm throwing part of the donor out. so i'm stuck with the stuff in the meantime unless i hire someone to 'be the enforcer' and take it away with them)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              being the unwilling recipient of tschotkes is very very burdensome. also, knowing that your guests so easily discount your explicit requests, is not a good feeling either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Clearly this is your issue and not the giver's. I have to giggle at the idea of someone paying a housekeeper to get rid of all the hostess gifts one receives. Too funny. You make it sound as though you have rooms filled with junk. Would you really never enjoy a jar of delicious jam or an expensive bar of soap?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  no, i wouldn't enjoy a jar of delicious jam or an expensive bar of soap.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  however, my housekeeper or my handyman's wife might enjoy both.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  insofar as <<Clearly this is your issue and not the giver's>> it is the giver's issue when they feel that their desires/compulsions are more important than complying with and respecting a simple, clearly stated request from the hostess.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the hostess should not have to justify the request in order to increase the probability that the guest will respect the request (i.e. disclosing medical conditions, psychological leanings, etc).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it's a simple issue of respect.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  when i am the guest i completely listen and follow what the hostess explicitly says as a matter of common courtesy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i don't try to project my preferences on my hostess.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i don't try to discount the hostess' preferences.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i don't try to dismiss the hostess' preferences.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i don't assume that the hostess is lying to me about what s/he really wants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  my friends are capable of and willing to directly ask for what they really want.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  if the hostess says "please make my mother's recipe for broccoli salad" i make the recipe exactly like her mother did. i don't assume that she meant for me to make my own version or that she meant for me to bring dessert or that she meant for me to bring nothing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  she TOLD ME exactly what she wanted, and i will always RESPECT that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  whatever SHE wants is what i'll do.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  simple respect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    To each their own. I like to give and receive hostess gifts as does everyone I know. I did a poll at an Easter party and Everyone agreed that receiving a thoughtful token was appreciated even if they adamently stated that they did not want anything.I love to share my food finds, a jar of homemade jam and a recipe(homemade pop tarts) that the hostess had at my house and raved about. Would you really find that offensive? I also find it very hard to believe that you would not enjoy anything??? Your vast staff must be very spoiled, lucky them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When no actually means yes-then it's helpful to know your friends and/or family well enough to realize they mean yes even if they are saying no. Say what you mean however is much easier to follow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Example, when an invitation to a recent bridal shower said, "the presence of your company is all I need-no gift, necessary" and half the guests arrived empty-handed and there were hostess gifts, the chitchat at the bar wound up not being about the bride to be but about the lousy mixed message her bridesmaid made in confusing the heck out of half the guests. Naturally, a good deal of wine was consumed and by the end of the party there was such a strange undertone to a celebration that could have been more relaxed instead of awkward. Some of the women were really put off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So I stand by, say what you mean and then everyone is crystal clear. Helpful communication really does matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      eta: and fwiw, every gift guide or Miss Manners column I've ever read states that when the invite actually mentions gifting (which is considered bad form, btw) and states no gift--you should not bring one. But a handwritten note or personal phone call to say what a lovely time you had is appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A hostess gift is a little extra, I appreciate them but really do not expect them or need them. I can take them or leave them. Never in a million years would I tell someone to bring me a hostess gift...they do it because they want to, feel obliged to etc... I love being surrounded by things my friends have brought me, they remind me of why I cherish them all so much and all the good times we've shared.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gloriaa, what resonates about your comment for me is that you asked your guests--at Easter how they felt. That's communication.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I always seem to get myself into trouble when I over think things and do what I 'think'the other person wants me to do and not what I want to do. I think this is what is stressing me out about this thread, never in a million years would I ever assume someone would see my hostess gift as rude. People are so very complicated....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not if you communicate to your family & friends the best you can it's not. This thread is eye opening but only confirms that NO is the new YES...and that's the latest trend....not much we can do but take each situation as it comes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I say NO because I really do not want anything, I do not mean yes! But that being said, I DO appreciate a gift but I equally do not care if someone brings nothing. I really try not to sweat the small stuff. everyone is just trying to do their best!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Exactly, gift givers have the same dilemma. We're just trying to do our best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <and states no gift-you should not bring one.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Absolutely. I totally agree and that is the correct form, otherwise people end up feeling the way they did at the bridal shower you attended.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That being said....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A simple dinner, as the OP is referring to, is different than a bridal shower, a birthday party.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've received an invitation to one of these in the near future.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          NO GIFTS is the request. I will not be bringing a gift. To do otherwise would be insulting and offensive.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When I'm invited to dinner at someone's home and the person inviting me, after me asking what I can bring, says 'just bring yourself' then I'm free to bring a hostess gift.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Miss Manners" is correct *and* she's not referring to a dinner party where there is no clear "no gift" request given.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No, I think the gifting idea; to be or not to be...carries over into all aspects of unclear gifting these days. This type of confusing misdirection is unfortunately bound to happen at celebrations, dinner parties, work gatherings. And speaking for myself, it has.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So, whether we're discussing the dilemma posed by eLizard or the subthreads I've really enjoyed reading here, the idea that NO or YES can be misunderstood it's a part of friendships and family celebrations that does get handled very differently situation to situation and if the ability to say something straight forward is dismissed by a different sensibility about gifting-well, what can you do but say, thanks for the gift.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              <No, I think the gifting idea: to be or not to be...carries over into all aspects of unclear gifting these days>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, let's just agree that this is your opinion and I have mine.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I can, without one ounce of doubt, honestly say that when I tell my guests,( who ask "what can I bring"), to bring *only* themselves...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Each and every one of them brings a hostess gift. I don't ask for them, expect them, want them or necessarily like them. I pour over them with gratitude for thinking of me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It is what it is. I love my friends, with or without their hostess gifts, and I'm pretty sure they feel the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                good for you. all any of us contributing to this thread are doing is sharing our own opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Gloriaa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      except so often it's not a jar of delicious jam or an expensive bar of soap, too often it's a plastic flower that dances to sound, or a plant that is being sentenced to death, or pointless kitchen gadgets, never to be used. I beg relatives when asked: give my parents nothing! make a donation to their charities or a just a gift card.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Heatherb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have a dear friend who absolutely abhors clutter of any kind and it puts her into panic to have stuff laying around. Her house is the most sterile family home I visit. I think this is in some way a response to being brought up with parents who verged on hoarding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would never, ever bring her a gift just to not show up empty handed because I know it would make her crazy. Not that she would be ungracious--she wouldn't--but she would drive herself nuts trying to decide what to do with it or risk being rude by regifting or pitching it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If I bring her a gift, it is something I absolutely know she will use and love, like a tin of Cougar Gold cheese, or a specific bottle of wine or six-pack of a favorite micro-brew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I recognize her panic over stuff is a little irrational but it isn't my place to judge or try to change her...it is just to be her friend. She is an awesome person and this is just a quirk...we all have 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. wowie kazowie, i never expected this question to get so many thoughtful and spirited responses. thank you for giving me a lot to think about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i guess i would prefer to not receive hostess gifts. i'm a reverse hoarder, and hostess gifts can fall into the clutter camp quite easily. my favorite hostess gift was a photo of all of us with our kids at a tailgate party that the guest had framed. i also never take wedding or shower favors (except if it's a wine cork)....but i always accept hostess gifts when given.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the ONLY time i've told someone to bring something was when i asked about dietary restrictions, and the couple didn't do dairy, gluten, or beef (and other stuff that i'm sure i'm forgetting). they offered to bring gluten free bread, and i took them up on it. i made mussels with garlic rubbed grilled toast and stuffed baked apples for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i also never ask what i can bring. i just bring something. and if it's flowers, then they're cut and in a vase. and if it's food, it's nothing that needs heating so as to not take up oven/stove real estate. and if it's wine, i don't expect it to be served. and if it's dessert or an appetizer, i bring my own serving dish.... and sometimes, depending on the host/ess, i call on my way, too, and ask if s/he needs me to pick up anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I went to a party a few nights ago with the explicit instructions NOT to bring a gift.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I did NOT.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      At the front door, upon entering, there was a huge pile of gifts for the birthday person and a few people walking in with gifts in hand. These people handed them their gifts in front of everyone to see.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought of this thread while I walked in empty handed, feeling awkwardly confused.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That was rude of the other guests, as well as the host that displayed the gifts.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My sister did this one year.... told all of us that we should not give gifts at Christmas. So we followed her instructions/suggestions. Then, while visiting my parents, I saw several items, mom saying, "Oh, Patty gave us that for Christmas."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I felt awful, but not because of what I didn't do, but because of what my sister did do.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Kinda passive/aggressive if you ask me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So I stand by, say what you mean and then everyone is crystal clear. Helpful communication really does matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I was just invited to a wedding reception, within the last hour. The invite states that those showing up with gifts will not be allowed to enter!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "people with gifts will NOT be admitted!!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's great! I love those attendance-optional events.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not even a few bars of scented soap?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  just sneak the jam in and put it on the buffet table, they will never know it was you ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. to whomever suggested the postagram app, THANK YOU! it's awesome.