Houseguest Gifts — Entertaining
Can you suggest houseguest gifts? What would be the perfect houseguest present for my boyfriend and I to bring?
–JG, Boston, MA
For you and your boyfriend, the best houseguest gifts are to be low impact guests who bring positive attitudes.
Arriving with a present always sets the visit off with a graceful and grateful tone. If arriving from the city to a rural area, bring an item that would be harder to find outside of a metropolis.
- Great cheeses (if the host is not lactose intolerant).
- Fine wine or handcrafted beer (if they're not AA).
- Handmade chocolates (if not diabetic).
- An attractive coffee table book about their favorite subject or a racy novel.
It is not about how much you spend on a gift. It is all about the thoughtfulness of the gift.
- Taking photos of your hosts interiors, children or pets and sending them copies would show thought and time commitment on your part, but wouldn't cost much.
- Offering to cook a gourmet meal and providing the ingredients is an excellent way to contribute and show appreciation.
A houseguest who came for the weekend and remained for a week installed lighting in my garden himself adding a magical element to the space. Another planted rose bushes. And yet another friend put shelving in my garage to show appreciation for his stay!
Depending upon how long you visit, ask if you can take your host(s) out for either breakfast, lunch or dinner at a restaurant of their choosing.
Most important, be a low maintenance guest who leaves everyone feeling good about your visit.
- Being a good guest starts before you arrive when you clarify the time you are arriving and leaving. If you come early, your host may not be ready for you. Should you be arriving later than you had anticipated, he may hold dinner for you, if didn't call him about your delayed flight.
- Be cautious when you're a guest bringing along another guest. When you're planning on bringing a date or a pet, be sure to have consent beforehand from your host, because someone in the house may be allergic to dogs. If you usually fly solo, there is always the possibility that you were invited to the house party to be introduced to another guest, which would make bringing a date awkward.
- Should you have strict dietary restrictions, bring your own food and don't make a nuisance of yourself by talking about what you can't eat. Fit in with the meal plan.
- A good guest is self-sustaining in other ways too by going off on their own to explore. Ask if there is anything you can bring back back? Milk, dog food, cold beer, paper towels?
- Find out what you can do to contribute and help out with meals.
- Don't be on your phone the whole time.
- Make only positive comments about the house, the hosts and their friends.
- Ask how to leave your room at your departure. Do you fold your sheets and towels and stack them at the foot of the bed? Or do you drop off soiled linens into a laundry basket down the hall? No matter what, empty your wastebasket and don't leave the remains of food and beverages behind in your wake.