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Host Gifts

Gail Nov 13, 2013 04:43 PM

I'm invited to Thanksgiving dinner at a new friend's house. What would you suggest as a gift? I can't bring any food as she has it all planned down to the last green bean.
Thanks for any suggestions...

  1. Kat Nov 18, 2013 09:13 AM

    A nice bottle of wine. If they don't drink, they can regift it, particularly as its holiday time.

    1. v
      Vidute Nov 17, 2013 09:05 PM

      How about a nice serving spoon. I always end up having to use tablespoons because I've run out of serving spoons and never thing to go out and buy some for the "next time".

      1. g
        Gail Nov 17, 2013 08:36 PM

        Oh, am I confused now...

        Hate to pay for next day delivery even if Wm Sonoma does it.
        Also feel bringing something in on T-day is ostentatious as her family would not. I'm not family
        A thank you note is lovely, but I rather do something more

        Still thinking, but thanks you guys, lots of good ideas.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Gail
          ipsedixit Nov 18, 2013 02:31 PM

          Do your hosts have young children?

          If so, perhaps a gift for one of them might be a nice pseudo-gift.

          Just a thought.

        2. w
          wayne keyser Nov 17, 2013 07:49 PM

          Nothing, as a carry-in gift. A reciprocal invitation is in order.

          1. nofunlatte Nov 17, 2013 03:31 PM

            I think the best thing my guests can give me is a handwritten note of thanks, on a fancy notecard or a sheet from an old legal pad. When I get a thank you note or card, I just smile and relive the pleasant memories of the dinner. I do not expect my friends and guests to bring me gifts, though I accept them graciously. That said, flowers after the fact (or that night, in my case--I do like to receive them!) is a fantastic idea!

            One suggestion that comes up often is food (not for the dinner, but for the next day etc.) I know a lot of people like this, but I'd probably dispose of it somehow (give it away, toss it)--I watch what I eat and those homebaked muffins are just too tempting for me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nofunlatte
              sedimental Nov 17, 2013 07:34 PM

              Me too;
              Flowers are fine, wine preferred, finishing salt/vinegar/flavored oil/ cooking consumable, etc ...all fine....thoughtful and usable in a variety of ways.

              Muffins, pastry, or someone else choosing my breakfast the next day? Not fine. I would feel bad, but I would give away if possible or more likely toss them.

            2. girloftheworld Nov 15, 2013 07:56 PM

              this is going to sound weird... but the first Thanksgiving my dad(step) came to the big family gathering he brought my grandmother a basket with realllllllly pretty heavy paperplates and gourmet pancake mix and syrups ,coffee and a note saying .... Thank you for all your hard work breakfast is on me.

              2 Replies
              1. re: girloftheworld
                coll Nov 16, 2013 06:25 AM

                It's always best to think outside the box.

                1. re: girloftheworld
                  latindancer Nov 16, 2013 10:29 AM

                  <this is going to sound weird>

                  Not at all.
                  Your dad(set) sounds like the perfect gentleman.
                  I would love receiving something like that.

                2. jw615 Nov 15, 2013 07:38 PM

                  My mom really loves caramel apples - I get them for her for pretty much every holiday, and I think that a gourmet caramel apple would make a great hostess gift.

                  She likes the ones that I order for delivery from Amy's Candy Kitchen in Wisconsin - they have several varieties. You could even have it scheduled for delivery a day after if you didn't want to 'bother' them the day of the event.

                  I will say that I cannot personally vouch for the apples, since I'm spectacularly allergic to them. But my Mom has always been happy and has ordered them for other friends.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jw615
                    Gail Nov 15, 2013 07:42 PM

                    Wow, a very original gift...

                    1. re: jw615
                      latindancer Nov 16, 2013 10:28 AM

                      Love this idea.

                      I received the ones sold at Neiman Marcus last year and they were devoured by my guests. They're apparently sold this time of year and come in all types of variations.
                      I would gladly accept them again :-).

                    2. s
                      sedimental Nov 15, 2013 05:31 PM

                      I always bring a nice wine. However, I don't hang out with people that don't drink.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sedimental
                        Gail Nov 15, 2013 06:01 PM

                        >>> I don't hang out with people that don't drink.<<<

                        ...they just can't be trusted...,

                        1. re: Gail
                          sedimental Nov 15, 2013 06:49 PM

                          I know, RIGHT???

                          Just kidding. But, I honestly don't hang out with non drinkers, not intentionally, but just "happens" ;)

                      2. c
                        ChillyDog Nov 15, 2013 03:25 PM

                        For Thanksgiving, I like to bring a poinsettia plant. It's something that can be enjoyed for the upcoming season.

                        I wouldn't do this unless I know the hosts well but then for me, Thanksgiving invitations are always from family.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: ChillyDog
                          coll Nov 15, 2013 05:41 PM

                          Except poinsettias are poisonous to cats and dogs. So if you don't know them well enough to know about their pet situation, maybe not the greatest.

                          1. re: coll
                            sr44 Nov 15, 2013 06:13 PM

                            Actually, they're not especially poisonous to dogs or cats. More irritating. http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/2011...

                            1. re: sr44
                              coll Nov 15, 2013 06:21 PM

                              Same difference to me! I won't think kindly of anyone that makes my little friends suffer.

                              1. re: sr44
                                sarahendipity Nov 15, 2013 06:21 PM

                                Lilies are quite toxic to cats.

                              2. re: coll
                                ChillyDog Nov 16, 2013 11:17 AM

                                Yes, that is why I said I wouldn't give a poinsettia to someone I didn't know well. There are other reasons too. Not everyone observes Christmas. To some people, a plant to care for might be a burden they don't want.

                                An the other hand, my auntie always enjoyed them. And the OP was looking for suggestions.

                            2. cronker Nov 14, 2013 03:21 PM

                              Coffee is a great idea.
                              Where I live, oftentimes it is a nice bottle of wine or after dinner port, usually used to accompany the dinner.

                              1. ipsedixit Nov 13, 2013 08:09 PM

                                I'm invited to Thanksgiving dinner at a new friend's house. What would you suggest as a gift?

                                Give the gift of being a good guest.

                                Be on time, be courteous, be good with tableside small talk (read: no politics or religion), be judiciously generous and polite in your praise of the food, be light-butted (read don't overstay your invite), and be thoughtful enough to write a thank-you note that you mail to the host within a week to 10 days of the event.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  PattiCakes Nov 14, 2013 12:43 PM

                                  I like the idea of flowers AFTER the event. Then every time the host sees them, they remember what a kind and thoughtful guest you were.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    512window Nov 18, 2013 11:19 AM

                                    And offer to help with the dishes!

                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      JerryMe Nov 18, 2013 12:52 PM

                                      + 15 on all of those points Ipsedixit!

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        Gail Nov 18, 2013 01:10 PM

                                        Gosh, ipsedixit, my mom told me this when I was but a child. But thanks for the reminder anyway. :)

                                      2. JoanN Nov 13, 2013 08:04 PM

                                        I know this comes up over and over on these boards, and many disagree with me. But please. Do not bring me flowers. Especially on Thanksgiving. I'm in major prep mode, practically every bit of space is covered with serving dishes, and I've already decorated my apartment the way I want it decorated. I do not want to have to stop what it is that I'm doing, even if it's just showing guests where to hang their coats, try to find an appropriate vase--which might be on a high shelf, fill the vase with water, dispose of the packaging, trim the stems, and then find a place to put them.

                                        I'm a firm believer that after a certain point in life, all gifts should be comestible, combustible, convertible, or cash. A big yes to a special olive oil or aged balsamic. I make my own (but not for Thanksgiving), and I'd be happy to put out a plate of chocolate truffles after dessert. Love the idea of something for breakfast the next morning. I'd even be happy with candles. Or, if it must be flowers, an arrangement sent earlier in the day so I don't have to deal with the vase issue and have some time to figure out where to put it.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: JoanN
                                          latindancer Nov 14, 2013 07:29 AM

                                          <Do not bring me flowers>

                                          Everyone I know, who's the least bit interested in my tastes, knows they can bring me a dozen French Tulips, any color, and I'll be more than happy.
                                          I have a very special vase for them so it's no big deal…
                                          It's sitting ready for them.

                                          1. re: JoanN
                                            pine time Nov 14, 2013 01:10 PM

                                            oops, should have read the whole thread before I replied, above.

                                            1. re: JoanN
                                              MsMaryMc Nov 17, 2013 08:00 PM

                                              I'm certainly at or past most ANY "certain point in life," and I would adore it if my Thanksgiving guests brought flowers.

                                              I will have mostly cleaned at the last possible second by throwing the clutter into closets, bedrooms, and the garage, and that has likely left some space for them.

                                              Providing a vase is a lovely idea, but if they don't bring one, I can find something (or rather, my husband can--that sort of thing is part of the division of labor at our house on holidays).

                                              To each their own...but flowers would be #1 on my list!

                                              1. re: MsMaryMc
                                                coll Nov 18, 2013 05:33 AM

                                                Me too, flowers are the best. I am happy to stop what I'm doing to admire and display them. It's a very rare occurrence for me and I am always in heaven. Plus they last another week or two, as a reminder of a fun time.

                                                1. re: coll
                                                  Karl S Nov 18, 2013 07:26 AM

                                                  I love flowers. But I do think a more considerate guest who is not very familiar with their hosts' major holiday praxis would be advised to not bring anything that requires tending or finding a place for by the host; if anything is brought, it has to be something that can be put immediately aside for the next day.

                                                  1. re: Karl S
                                                    MsMaryMc Nov 18, 2013 08:29 AM

                                                    Wow. I just never dreamed that flowers would be such a dicey choice for a gift for so many folks. Well, let it be known far and wide, MY holiday praxis (and every other day praxis) DOES have plenty of room for flowers. No matter how busy I am, I will very much appreciate the kind thought, and will be delighted to find them a vase and a spot. So bring 'em on!!

                                                    1. re: MsMaryMc
                                                      Karl S Nov 18, 2013 11:02 AM

                                                      My point is that the guest needs to know the host well on this point. I am a single host living in a small space, and I can handle flowers on less complicated occasions, but TG is one exception for me where space considerations make handling unvased flowers too much to deal with. So I understand those who say don't bring flowers, rather than treat them as ungrateful.

                                                2. re: MsMaryMc
                                                  JoanN Nov 18, 2013 05:45 AM

                                                  I guess maybe if I had both a husband and a house I'd feel differently about it.

                                              2. a
                                                ahuva Nov 13, 2013 07:49 PM

                                                obviously wine, chocolate, flowers are all really good choices. you can do fancy scented calendars or a nice coffee table book. or what about a gift to reward the hostess for all of her hard work - maybe a gift certificate to a local spa or for a mani-pedi, to help her decompress and relax after all of her cooking, preparing, setting up, clearing off, and cleaning up.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: ahuva
                                                  ChillyDog Nov 14, 2013 12:45 AM

                                                  Scented calendars?

                                                  1. re: ChillyDog
                                                    ahuva Nov 17, 2013 07:58 PM

                                                    oops. candles.

                                                    1. re: ahuva
                                                      sedimental Nov 17, 2013 08:05 PM

                                                      Oh yes! I really like the kitchen candles that remove cooking odors....the "disposable" kind, the kind you toss it out when it has served its purpose.

                                                  2. re: ahuva
                                                    travelmad478 Nov 18, 2013 11:17 AM

                                                    Ugh, a big NO on the scented candles. I was given one of those (pumpkin pie "flavor") on Saturday night, and I am racking my brain to think of how to get rid of it, short of throwing it in the trash. I find the overpowering fake chemical odor of any scented candle absolutely disgusting. (Kind of the same reaction I have to the smell of microwave popcorn.) For people who make all of their food from scratch--in large part because they want to avoid putting artificial this-and-that into their bodies--this is a terrible gift.

                                                    1. re: travelmad478
                                                      pine time Nov 18, 2013 12:13 PM

                                                      Scented candles always go directly to the Salvation Army donation box.

                                                      1. re: pine time
                                                        travelmad478 Nov 18, 2013 12:41 PM

                                                        Yup. It is about time for my semi-annual clothing cull anyway, which means Goodwill is going to get a lot of pumpkin-pie-scented t-shirts.

                                                  3. cookie monster Nov 13, 2013 05:10 PM

                                                    My current host gift of choice is a bottle of fancy olive oil or balsamic vinegar (or both). People who do any amount of cooking seem to really appreciate it, yet it's not necessarily an indulgence they would buy for themselves.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: cookie monster
                                                      Gail Nov 13, 2013 07:42 PM

                                                      Cookie, I think you've come up with it. I'll make a trip to my local Wm Sonoma.
                                                      This is particularly difficult as the hostess even makes her own chocolates. They do drink wine, but I don't know their tastes. I'm a wine person, so don't want to go cheap so I may spend and miss their tastes.
                                                      I think a nice package from Wm Sonoma will be perfect.
                                                      Thanks to all.

                                                      1. re: Gail
                                                        JerryMe Nov 18, 2013 12:49 PM

                                                        If you know your hostess drinks wine but don't know their taste, don't hesitate to offer a gift card from your favorite wine shop. I'm not a wine drinker and don't have a clue so I'll often give hosts a gift card from Total Wine or BevMo (popular where I live). I try to always bring a gift, regardless and send a thank you note after. It's a PITA throwing a party.

                                                    2. j
                                                      jeanmarieok Nov 13, 2013 04:59 PM

                                                      Cocktail Napkins with cute cocktail sayings are popular in my area. A set of nice dish towels (could be Christmas or Thanksgiving themed). A flower arrangement already in a vase or display container.

                                                      1. chowser Nov 13, 2013 04:57 PM

                                                        Something she can have for breakfast for the following morning, muffins, coffee, etc.

                                                        1. boogiebaby Nov 13, 2013 04:55 PM

                                                          Flowers. A box of good chocolates. A bottle of wine. A set of nice dish towels. A potted plant. A tray of cookies/brownies.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: boogiebaby
                                                            pine time Nov 14, 2013 01:09 PM

                                                            The flowers bit always brings up the complaints of the need to interrupt prep and deal with the flowers. So, I take flowers already in a vase, arranged, and in water--no stopping meal prep, and the hostess can put 'em whereever the heck she wants, even in the trash.

                                                            1. re: boogiebaby
                                                              Janet from Richmond Nov 18, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                              Say no to the flowers and chocolate unless you know your host loves it.

                                                            2. t
                                                              thegforceny Nov 13, 2013 04:47 PM

                                                              This comes up all the time on NAF board. Ideas here:



                                                              1. pinehurst Nov 13, 2013 04:46 PM

                                                                I would bring a pound of their favorite coffee, if they drink coffee...or a gift card to a local coffee shop in a nice card. I'm never *not* up for a hot drink during the holidays.

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