Hostess Gift — To Bring or Not To Bring A Gift
My question is about the hostess gift.
I’m joining my girlfriend at her family’s summer home in Maine this week. This is my first visit up there and I wondered whether I should bring a hostess gift for her Mom.
I’m the only non-family member attending. The roster of attendees includes her Mom, her sister and brother-in-law and their kids, and her brother and sister-in-law and their son.
I’ve known the family for decades, but haven’t ever joined them on a family trip (and certainly not in this capacity, my girlfriend and I haven’t been seeing one another for that long).
Should I bring a hostess gift? I’d be grateful to hear your thoughts.
The best hostess gift would be either a beautiful box of fresh chocolates -- handmade and packaged tastefully -- that you present upon your arrival, or send flowers. Casa Blanca white lilies are a summer celebrity in many houses. A bottle of fine wine always goes down well, but would be difficult to pack, especially if you'll be taking a plane.
House Guest Don'ts
You would not send or bring a hostess gift that would be a lingering reminder of your visit, because that would seem presumptuous so early in your relationship. For instance you wouldn't bring a nicknack, a mug, vase or coasters that they would be stuck with forever as a permanent reminder that you accidentally spilled red wine on the carpet or mistakenly knocked over a favorite vase.
- Whether you're sure -- or not -- about your intentions of establishing a committed relationship, do send a thank- you note on your correspondence card or a thank-you card.
When choosing a hostess gift, take into consideration the length of your visit. If you'll be with the family for more than a night or two,plan on making yourself useful by being not only a self-sustaining guest, but a considerate one.
- To help your hostess with the meal planning be sure to let her know exactly when you're departing.
- If you've made plans to have a meal outside the house at any point during your stay, make your plans known to her so she's not expecting you and your girlfriend for that meal.
- Learn the time-frame for meals so that you're present to sit down on time.
More Dos for Fitting In As A Guest
- Before making a trip into town ask your hostess if there is anything you can pick up at the store for them: milk, butter, eggs, bread, dog food, paper towels.
- Offer to help with meal preparations and jump in and help with the clearing and cleaning up. My guess is that you're not there to be waited on, but to see how you fit in.
- It goes without saying that you would leave your phone in your room while dining with the family.
- Offer to take out the garbage, clean the grill, walk the dog.
- In this situation where there are children, play ball with them. Take them for a hike, bike ride, or a swim. Join in with impromptu board and card games.
- The last morning of your stay ask your girlriend if you should strip your bed and take your sheets and towels to the laundry basket. Empty your wastebasket, take any glasses or bottles to the kitchen. In other words tidy up your room.
- If you've been a guest for a period of time, during your visit seek out a local florist to have flowers sent to the house after your departure.
- Lastly, no matter how long your visit, simply asking, "What can I do to help?" is a terrifically considerate gift, whether you've brought a material present with you or not.