My mom raised me to be a good guest. Whether we are going to a friend’s house for and impromptu BBQ, or a holiday cocktail party, I am bringing something.
Whether it is a small homemade affair or a catered event I think that guests should appreciate the effort made by the host by a. offering to bring something for the evening and b. bringing a gift for the host.
Texas Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Favorite recipes to bring: for a lunch Fresh Salsa and your favorite chips, Texas Pecan Shortbread Cookies, for a brunch some fresh fruit muffins or healthy banana bread, for a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres party some savory cookies, or for just about any time the Berry Harvest Cake. Of course you also can’t go wrong with bringing a crowd favorite beverage.
For events where you can bring something to be shared, here are some tips:
- if you’re bringing a food item, be sure to ask what the host is serving so as to not repeat a dish or clash with her menu
- be aware of the host’s, and other guests’, dietary needs and restrictions
- if you’re bringing a dish that requires platters or special serving utensils, bring them with you
- if you’re bringing a salad, prevent it from getting wilted by keeping the salad greens, toppings and dressings in separate bags or containers
- bring items that don’t require additional appliances; if the party is a BBQ – sure, bring items for the grill, but don’t expect to bake that pie in someone’s oven
Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to bring something to be enjoyed during the occasion. Those examples include: anything professionally catered, unless otherwise requested, or if the host declines the offer.
So, what to bring as a gift for the host? This is tricky, as sometimes the hostess if your best friend, and sometimes it is the spouse of your boyfriend’s boss, who you have never met.
Try to do as much reconnaissance as possible, you want to gift something that they’ll appreciate. If they are a oenophile, and you’re a connoisseur of Two Buck Chuck, don’t bother to get a Merlot on the drive over.
Here are some favorite no fail gifts:
The Candle collection from Michael Aram is one part luxurious gift and another part art for the home. The Lotus candle is great for your yogi-hostess, I am partial to the black orchid collection.
Michael Aram Lotus Candle
If your host is a foodie at heart treat them to a special series of oils or vinegars. It is a thoughtful gift that most people wouldn’t pick up for themselves. New, highly curated, food site Gilt Taste has a beautiful sampling of pantry items to use as gifts. That is where I found these, the Sparrow Lane California Fruit Vinegar Collection.
Sparrow Lane Vinegar Collection, via Gilt Taste
Make your attendance a sweet memory with a gorgeous assortment of handcrafted truffles, like the Exotic Truffle Collection from Vosges.
Exotic Truffles Collection from Vosges
Another idea, for a host you know well, is to give them a fresh start in the morning. If the host and hostess had a wild Saturday night party, make their Sunday morning easier with artisan coffees, a basket of fresh pastry/scones/bagels. It will make waking up that much easier. I love this gift from Zabar’s – mmm, bagels and lox!
Zabar's Morning Basics Basket
Other favorites for breakfast baskets include: Gourmet Gift Baskets, Wolferman’s, Stonewall Kitchen, and Zabar’s
Other easy gifts include a beautiful bouquet of blooms, an artfully wrapped bottle of wine, or the local favorite baked treat.
Red Velvet Cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake
Give a gift of relaxation with a beautiful bottle of bath bubbles like the Lollia Calm Bubble Bath from Anthropologie. This is a perfect gift for the hostess, that you know well, and know that she’ll need to unwind when the party ends.
Lollia Calm Bubble Bath via Anthropologie
Of course the most important present you can give is your presence, and a thank you note!