If Paperless Post and Evite emails are currently filling up your inbox with holiday invitations galore, you've got plenty of company. 'Tis the season to eat, drink, be merry — and go to parties.
Americans who celebrate the season plan to attend an average of 11 festive events this winter. That involves buying a lot of swag for your hosts. But is a gift really required if you RSVP "yes" to a friend's holiday soiree?
"Gifts aren't mandatory," says Lizzie Post, a president at The Emily Post Institute and co-host of The Awesome Etiquette podcast. Unless, of course, if it's a gift sharing party, "then yes, you’re bringing a gift," she says.
The most important thing about giving a gift to a party host is knowing your recipient, Post says. If you're going to bring any type of food, be cognizant of food allergies and dietary restrictions. If you aren't sure, go with something that doesn't involve peanuts or gluten. The same goes for alcohol.
“There's nothing wrong with bringing that proverbial bottle of wine, but alcohol isn’t always the best choice," Post says. It’s important to know that your host is ok with booze.
Another point to keep in mind: gifts are never required to be useful during the same evening, unless the invitation explicitly says so, Post says. If you see your host put your gift in the cabinet instead of on the coffee table, don't ask why he or she isn't using it right away.
Ultimately, no matter what kind of present you decide to bring, selecting a good holiday gift for your host comes down to knowing your friends, no matter the price point.
Here are some of the best holiday gifts for your hosts under $20:
You can never go wrong with a snack board, a tried and true holiday gift for a host. This one makes a great offering because it comes with five separate items that can be used individually or together. A snack board can come in handy the night of the party, or your hosts can use it any regular day for themselves. Let's be real — it doesn't matter what time of year it is: everyone loves snacks.
Holiday toothpicks are an inexpensive way to add some charm to any party platter. They’re a fun little gift that can make a big statement spearing olives, cheese, chocolate-covered strawberries, or any other delicacies.
If you’re going to a more casual event or a party with children, money soap gives the gift of practical entertainment: it encourages people to wash their hands while also serving as a party trick guests can be amused by throughout the night.
It's no secret that millennials in particular love succulents, but these cute little plants are a great gift for a host of any age. As always, know your recipient: while succulents are low maintenance, steer clear of any kind of plant life if your friend doesn't have a green thumb.
Time off from work during the holidays can be its own type of gift, but boredom and cabin fever can also set in. These classic games will come in handy during vacation time, especially if the weather is bad or there are young children in the house. Plus, at these prices, you can get more than one if you wish to.
Did your party even happen if it’s not being shared on Instagram? Along with all of this season’s invites come the inevitable social media posts that follow. These fun glasses will eliminate the chance that you and your party won’t be seen this holiday season. It’s also easy to set up your own faux photo booth if you want to go all out.
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