When invited to someone’s home for a meal, a party, a cocktail, an event, even if the host/hostess tells you that you don’t need to bring anything, do you arrive empty-handed?
As a rule, I always bring something. If I am not required to contribute a dish in a pot-luck setting, and am not asked to bring my own wine, I still bring an extra bottle for the hosts, something I have baked, flowers, a kitchen gadget, some artfully arranged and colorful dishcloths, a book, a toy for the family pet, something!
When I receive guests, I am surprised to see that I usually get nothing, except from one or two close friends who always bring something nice. I don’t entertain very often. My house is small and it’s difficult to find a date when my husband is at home and not out riding his motorcycle and our potential guests are available to come over. I also cherish my privacy and quiet time. But when I do, I can plan, prepare and serve a kickass brunch for 10, supper for 8 and the food will be good, the table will be beautiful, everyone will eat at the same time, their meal will be hot and there will be plenty for everyone.
And yet I usually receive no hostess gift to thank me for my hospitality, my food, and the effort I put into making it an overall great experience.
Is the host/hostess gift a dying tradition? Has etiquette changed? Or do most of my guests simply not care?