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Hostess gifts [Dec. 10th, 2008|09:08 am]
On the way into work this morning I heard an ad proposing a Safeway gift card as the perfect Hostess gift.



I'm not a huge fan of gift cards anyway -- except in two major cases. The giver is over 70, because at a certain point, enough already, they deserve a damn break and they should use their possibly limited mobility to do something for themselves. Or, the recipient is 13-29, when really, cash is what they really need, but cash might seem crass and you worry that they'll just pay the electric bill or blow it on lunch, metro tickets and other mundane purchases. To me, the gift is not really the point in a lot of cases. Really, this holiday isn't about gifts - it's about showing people that you care enough about them to expend some small amount of time thinking about that person as an individual. But that could just be me. Hell, I will choose wrapping paper based on who the gift is for, so...

But back to the lovely Safeway gift card. Someone's put all sorts of thought and effort into throwing a party or dinner event and you're going to stop off at Safeway and get a gift card so that the Host/Hostess can...buy groceries? Why not just reimburse them for your meal? Gee, thanks, Bob and Sally, here's a twenty, thanks for the grub!

Most people have forgotten the art of hostess gifts anyway. It's supposed to be a little something to thank someone for having you over. A little baked goods, a little gift bag (in the olden days basket) with maybe candles, cute cocktail napkins, a small floral arrangment (not cut flowers that your hostess now has go to get a vase for. She's got enough things on her plate right now, and you want her to have a Martha moment with flowers?), some little candy or other treat, something you made, or found, or a bottle of wine or interesting liquor.

These are NOT things that are meant to become part of the meal. Don't get me wrong, I've given up on the whole wine thing. Anymore, people bring it as their contribution to the table. And really, with the way my friends and I drink that's just fine. Plus, it's one less trip down to the wine closet in the basement which is always four doors and two flights of stairs fraught with danger for me personally. But I have learned, when bringing wine as a hostess gift to hand it to someone and say "This is NOT for tonight with all of your drunken friends. This is a NICE bottle of wine you two should just enjoy some time later on your own." Because sometimes I'd forget and it would break my heart to see it being poured around later, a very expensive, nice vintage wine being poured into half-filled glasses of Yellow Tail Merlot.


And really, this is NOT me wishing for hostess gifts. For starters, I haven't thrown a dinner party since Easter and at the rate it's going...it'll be Easter again. It is one of the little gracious moment things whose extinction I will mourn. But really, I'd rather let it die than turn into some meaningless ritual that feels more like buying a meal ticket than actually showing some gracious appreciation.


From: kudrasslipper
2008-12-10 02:46 pm (UTC)

No excuses!

This falls in line with one of my age-old rants about men who don't, as a general rule, give flowers. Whether it's a hostess, or a date, or a girlfriend, or wife... whatever... flowers are always appropriate. I won't bother to get up on my soap box here, but let me just state for the record that while I understand the etiquette and reasons behind a flower arrangement as opposed to cut flowers....

CUT FLOWERS WILL DO JUST FINE! No excuses, gentlemen. It doesn't matter if they're going to die in a few days and you think it's just a waste of money... they're NOT FOR YOU. But I mean... if you DON'T want to get laid, that's your business, I suppose......

Ok, that *was* me on my soap box. But I'm off now, and putting it away. See?
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2008-12-10 03:29 pm (UTC)

Re: No excuses!

Oh, cut flowers are fine -- and I agree, they WIll get you laid -- but not at a dinner or other party where it's more than another couple or two invited and I'm supposed to be greeting guests, getting food ready, taking coats, pouring drinks -- anything but looking for a clean vase that's appropriate for the flowers, cutting them open, trimming the stems...because I'm a Yankee and I can't just plop them in water.

Unless it's not a party, in which case all of that preparation is foreplay.
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[User Picture]From: im_geva
2008-12-10 02:51 pm (UTC)

Amen sister

Hostess gifts are just another lost bit of civility and courtesy in our over crowded 21st century.

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[User Picture]From: sestree
2008-12-10 02:54 pm (UTC)

Re: Amen sister

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[User Picture]From: sestree
2008-12-10 02:53 pm (UTC)
I miss those quaint traditions.

I remember Grandma never thought you could go wrong if you brought booze and candy - enough for then and a special token for the hostess for later.

Flowers never were quite 'in' where I was raised. It's a nice idea though.
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[User Picture]From: kitteblue
2008-12-10 03:05 pm (UTC)

2 bottles of wine

One for the host/ess, and one for the table.

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From: hyadesophelia
2008-12-10 04:06 pm (UTC)
What really has amazed me in recent years, is when (being brought up and trained by a good ole PA Dutch woman)I appear with a proper "Hostess Gift" and the recipient isn't remotely aware that this is a long lost custom and goes thru the making excuses of why they have nothing for me in return. I am shocked at how many people were just never taught this tradition.

and yes, I agree with the "one for the hostess and one for the table" theory
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[User Picture]From: queenmaggie
2008-12-10 11:52 pm (UTC)
so so true. every word of it.
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