Ever since we moved to the country I have been embracing and been embraced by traditions of old. You’ll find me sifting flour! Collecting eggs! Cutting flowers from my garden and of course hosting to odd event here in our home. Throughout all of these lunches, dinners and weekends with friends and family, I have been lucky enough to receive the odd hostess gift.
Now don’t get me wrong. I embraced the notion of the hostess gift way back in Sydney, but now being somewhere that people come to visit for at least a night if not more, I have been on the receiving end of some cracking gifts. A hostess gift is the small something that you take to someone’s home when they are hosting a party, or a dinner, and if you are staying with them for a few days then the gift can be a little bigger. From the website wise geek:
“A small hostess gift is generally considered appropriate for dinners and parties, while guests who are staying for several days may get something larger. The ideal hostess gift is tasteful and elegant, reflecting the presumed good taste of the host or hostess, and it is also something which the recipient would not personally buy for him or herself. While the hostess gift might seem like a quaint tradition to some people, it is still alive and well, and bringing a hostess gift to an event will indicate that you are well mannered and that you have been raised in polite society.”
Whether it’s been a basket of eggs or some home made jam, a bottle of wine, or a bunch of flowers, any gift I have received has been greatly appreciated – who doesn’t love someone taking time to get something just for you? I do love some of the etiquette behind the old tradition. Some of the rules are quite funny “You should not necessarily expect to see your hostess gift displayed or used while you are present, especially if it is food or wine. Many hosts have planned very specific meals and wine pairings, and while your gift may be delightful and gratefully received, it may not be appropriate for the event in question.” You can guarantee that if you bring a bottle of wine to my house…it will be opened! How about all those times where you bring along a fancy bottle of something hoping it will be opened and it’s snaffled away never to be seen again? Hate that!
And this, “You should never pick a hostess gift which is ostentatious or gaudy. The goal is not to impress the host, but rather to please him or her with a small, thoughtful item which reflects your appreciation for the invitation”.
Some of my favourites that I have received over the years have been:
1. A pair of shoes! From Styling you of course…
2. A Bonnie & Neil Table Runner from my little sis
3. A couple of crackers from my sister in law (both from different visits): A sandwich press and some under the sink cupboard management storage things from IKEA.
4. THAT jug from my Dad and Step Mum
5. A home made bowl for hosting a birthday party for his wife from my mate Col
6. Plants, bags, books, flowers, jams, tea cups, tea towels….I could go on and on…
I was interested to see some of Martha’s ideas for hostess gifts here mentioning that if you take flowers to a dinner that the hostess can be running around trying to find a vase or cutters so it’s best to give them pre arranged in a vase….OF COURSE YOU DO MARTHA.
And my beloved Anthropologie has its own section on their website for the hostess gift. I would take one of EVERYTHING from there.
For me I like to give things for the home that seem a little over the top (NOT GAUDY, DEAR GOD NOT GAUDY) and not something that the host would buy for themselves. Some special linen napkins, potted plants, jugs, plates, fancy paper napkins, bunches of herbs and veggies, any kind of homewares, CUSHIONS and one of my better ones a soda stream for my hosts in Brisbane for having me last weekend. Because: game changer.
I’d love to know your experience with the hostess gift.
Are you a giver?
What’s the best you have received? Or given?
Ever had a good bottle of something hidden away from you?
Or does this whole notion seem outdated and ridiculous to you?