Etiquette Tip of the Week: Time to Bring It 
By Callista Gould, Author and Certified Etiquette Instructor

You have an invitation to a Holiday party in someone’s home. You have responded affirmatively and enthusiastically to the R.S.V.P. and you can’t wait to go.

Should you bring something? Yes. But not a plus one, unless your invite says, “and guest.”

The thing to bring is a host/hostess gift. It’s a little token of thanks to your hosts for inviting you into their home for a dinner party, open house, sports watching event or any other kind of party.

It need not be expensive – somewhere in the $5-20 range. The best gifts for your hosts are found at local specialty stores or museum shops.

Here are some ideas:
* Gourmet coffee beans from a local coffee shop
* Small box of fine chocolates or mixed nuts from a candy store
* Note cards or other novelties from a museum shop
* Oddly colored or logoed golf or tennis balls from a pro shop
* Special toy, storybook or puzzle for hosts’ children from a toy store
* Pet gifts or bird seed from a pet supply store
* Fresh fruit from a market
* Spices from a spice store
* Specialty beer from a brewery or wine from a winery
* Anything related to hosts’ hobbies or interests

Whatever you bring, is meant to be enjoyed by your hosts at a later time, not served at the party. I once had a dinner party guest bring a bottle of wine and when it was not served, pick it up on the way out at the end of the evening.

The hosts need not send a thank you note for a host gift – that’s like saying, “Thank you for the thank you.”

So get your host/hostess gift and bring it. And after the party, don’t forget to write your hosts a thank you note.

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