Do not visit people empty-handed


By Agnes Tioluwanimi Oyedokun

While growing up, many of us went to birthday parties, weddings, and even sleepovers, if you were very lucky, so we know how it feels to be guests in other people’s homes. I do not remember attending birthday parties when I was younger but I can remember listening to my mum saying, “I cannot go to that ceremony without holding something to give them” but I did not understand at that time. Now that I am older, I am beginning to understand that my mother was reinforcing the old adage, “never show up empty-handed.”

Whether you are going to a dinner party, attending a get-together in a friend’s home, or staying with someone for the weekend (I feel like screaming), you need to show your gratitude by bringing something to your host.

 “You should arrive with gifts for your host,” says etiquette expert Jodi RR Smith over email. “Some typical hospitality gifts include flowers, wine, chocolates, homemade treats, and more.”

Here are some rules to follow while choosing a gift to take to your host/hostess’ house:

1. The kind of gift you want to get should be the right one for the occasion and even, gender. The kind of gift you would give to a female might be different from that of a male, same with a single person and a family of four that is hosting you for some time. If it is a dinner party, gifts like a box of chocolates, bouquet, and a bottle of wine are appropriate. It is also important to never tell your host to open whatever you bring so that you all can eat it over dinner and even if they decide to do that, do not talk about how expensive it is and do not take your portion first. For holiday events, you can take a gift basket along and if you are meeting with your future in-laws (and they are people of traditions) gifts like chocolates may be considered inappropriate, so make sure to research on something that would like and appreciate

 Coco Chanel once said, “fashions fade, but style remains eternal.” Those words still ring true today. Trendy gifts come and go, but it’s more important for you to do your homework about the hostess and give a standout gift that will set you apart from other guests. Your gift will be unique and make a lasting impression if it’s based on your personal knowledge of the recipient.

2. Respect your hosts. Even if you do not like the food, make sure you still give them the gift. (I can imagine you trying to take your gifts backs because the food was not “great.”)

3. Do not expect them to use the gift right away or unwrap it on the spot. Once the gift leaves your hands to theirs, they have the choice to unwrap or use it whenever they desire.

4. Ask the host or hostess ahead of time if there is anything you can bring to the occasion to contribute. This tip does not always apply to things like housewarming celebrations or bridal showers, where the host may not be expected to receive a gift anyway. But if you sense they are preparing something ahead of time, don’t hesitate to reach out to help.

5. Wrap the gift if it feels appropriate. Sometimes this can mean sticking a beautiful bow on it or it can be more intricate, such as wrapping it and writing a short thank you note.

6. If you forget to pick up the gift for your host, do not get too nervous or talk about it so much that your host will feel very bad or guilty.

7. Finally, make sure you send a written thank you note (or a text message) to your host immediately you get back to your house, even if you gave them a gift.

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