God Might Not Judge, But We Do is an ongoing series that aims not only to complain, but to explain why some behaviors go beyond cultural differences and cross over into being completely and totally judge worthy. Learn more about GMNJ, But We Do here, and remember we’re Just Not That Way.
Chapter Two: The Gift of Giving
Presenting a hostess gift is not only polite but should be considered mandatory.
Gifting is the silent action of showing that you have considered your host and are acknowledging the efforts they have gone through to invite you ionto their home or occassion. This is not, nor should it be, something of your parents generation, anyone over the age of 18 should be able to handle this, the most basic of manners.
In today’s culture when we often meet friends or acquaintances at restaurants and bars one may easily forget when it is appropriate. Let me help you.
Whenever a formal invitation is issued or you are spending any length of time in someone’s home a gift is essential. This of course depends on your relationship with the person. You may not bring anything when you stop by to see a close friend for a coffee but when invited to anyone’s home for dinner you need to stop to reconsider.
The most obvious but surprisingly forgotten occasion is when you are guest for an extended period of time – this could be anything from one night to one week. You are encroaching into this person’s life and a tea selection from duty-free is the least you can do to show you gratitude.
Your host will always be delighted to know you’ve thought of them and you are more likely to secure a second invitation. A win all round.
A little thought to circumstance and your host will go a long way. It is never harmful to ask if there is anything you could bring that would be helpful.
Your gift does not need to be grand or over the top, it really is the thought that counts. For someone you’re not well acquainted with keep it generic. There is nothing wrong with arriving with a nice bottle of wine, artisanal chocolates or home baked goods. Be careful with scented candles, your host may not share your love of amber or citrus.
When staying with someone abroad think of something special from your place of living. Every place has there own specialities. There is nothing lovelier than caviar from your Russian friend or organic Manuka honey from a guest from New Zealand. Of course you can go all out but price is not the point here, your gesture is.
I would never arrive at someone’s home empty handed, I’m Just Not That Way. If you choose to don’t be surprised if you don’t get a return invitation – you have now been warned.
We’re not the only ones judging.