“That’s what life is about. Let’s have a party. Let’s have it tonight.” – Lilly Pulitzer.
Never underestimate the importance of a social get-together! Dinner parties with friends, office colleagues or even acquaintances can help you develop your social circle and at the same time give you some fun-filled awesome time and memories.
If you are invited for a dinner party by your close friend and it’s quite frequent, of course you will not bother about dining etiquette or gifts for the host. But if you are going to somebody’s place for the first time, then there are a few things that you should bear in mind (and if you do so you’ll be happily invited again!). And presenting a gift to the host is a must in the etiquette list (now days it is comfortably being ignored). Also, it should be remembered that a wrong (or weird) gift can cause more stress than pleasure to the host. So here I am bringing out the best and forbidden gifts for the host at dinner parties.
Here is a list of gifts that people have been presenting to the host, but a slight refinement will be even more appreciated:-
1. Alcohol: Many people gift alcohol/wine to the host. One thing that you should remember is never take a chilled bottle for gifting as it will confuse the host whether you want to open the bottle right there in the party. The gift is for the host and you want him to enjoy it. Also, if you want your gift to be interesting, then gift a wine or alcohol that has a story with it. Something which is a vintage or you have a personal story to share related with the alcohol will give it a personal touch.
2. Food: If you forgot that you have been invited for a dinner party and remembered it at the last moment. Do not carry the food to the party without asking the host. You may bring something which must be a complete mismatch with the menu (and wreck a completely thought out meal). On the other hand, if the host permitted you to get the food at their place, be gracious and let the host tell everyone where the gift (food) came from rather than you announcing to the group.
3. Flowers: If your host has before hand told everybody not to get gifts and you are still insistent in giving flowers to the host, put it in a vase and then gift it. You do not want the host to hunt for a suitable vase for your gift.
4. Plants: If you know that the host likes plants and is going to be pleased to have them, then you are most welcome to gift a potted plant. Or else one should always avoid gifts that require any kind of extra work for the host (and that too when they aren’t interested in it).
5. Special Tea or Coffee flavors: If your host likes to have tea or coffee, you can go to some upscale shop and get a unique flavor for gifting them. They will love it!!
6. Assorted spices: If your host loves cooking, you can think of gifting them an assortment of carefully picked spices. An exciting pack of spices or seasonings will encourage them to plan another dinner (ta-da!!).
7. A book which is out-of-print: If the host is a ardent reader, then he will know the value of your gift. You will have to do some hunting, but you want them to know that you appreciate their efforts to cook that delicious meal for you!!
8. Chocolates : For a chocolate to be hit, you’ll have to shell out some extra pennies. You may visit a chocolatier for a tiny box of superb truffles.
9. Scented candles : They are overdone and there’s a reason for it. Everyone (at least most of us) love scented candles. Go for something well crafted and nice colour. Now a days we have an alternative to scented decorative candles, i.e Fanales. They are beautiful and people will use it unlike the decorative candles (people might think twice before lighting that beautiful rose candle).
10. Kitchen gadgets: For hosts who love to throw frequent dinner parties, this will be very thoughtful one. Gift them some unique coasters or wine glasses or cocktail skewers.
Forbidden Gifts for the host:-
1. Artwork: Unless the host has particularly requested you for an artwork, it’s best not to assume their taste. Or if you have been so considerate for your host and got something rare (and you do not want to own it, which can hardly be the case) from an art gallery, you can take a chance. But please do not gift them an art piece with cheap prints. It’s a sin!!
2. Decorative soaps:These days everybody is conscious about the well being of their skin and prefers to use specific brands suitable to their skin type. So don’t gift them some decorative soap which was gifted to you and was just collecting dust in your house. But if you know their preference, you may go ahead with this one.
3. Photo frames: This is one of the MOST common gifts that people exchange. But you know what!! Every house has at least five photo frames lying unused in their trunks. So unless you have a special message engraved on the photo frame and you have a photo of the host capturing a memorable moment, avoid this one!
4. Re-gifts: O dear God!! Don’t even think about it. You’ll be really embarrassed afterwards if the person who gifted it to you earlier came to know about it (don’t forget that this world is really small).
All things considered, one golden rule to remember is, the cost of gift doesn’t matter. You just have to know the taste of the host. It has to be a thoughtful one. You want to show your appreciation for the host; for all the efforts he has taken for you.
Don’t forget neatly wrapping your gift to add that extra touch of polite.
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