My husband and I were invited to his coworker’s home for a dinner with other members of his office. I did not know much about this coworker, but some internet hunting led me to his wife’s Facebook profile where I tried to find any particular interests or hobbies – I was in desperate need of inspiration for a hostess gift. I could not determine anything, so ended up gifting a lovely scented candle. I thought it was beautiful – not just a standard store purchase, but found in a lovely boutique where the owner makes the candles herself. The hostess accepted the gift and then opened it in front of me. She commented that she does not burn candles, but she knows the perfect person to pass it on to.
Lola, that just seems tacky and unkind, especially since we had never met. Can you please advise people on how to handle receiving hostess gifts when they open their homes up? I used all of my diplomacy that night and now have none left for the remainder of 2019.
Gracious Gift Giver
Dear Gracious Gift Giver,
You are in luck! Mommybeast loves to have people over to socialize so I’m well-versed in the art of hosting. While Mommybeast often claims I am not as gracious as I should be, my defense is solid and indisputable. I am a canine.
Those who don’t wear trousers are exempt from the rules of society.
Mommybeast is now shaking her head in disbelief over my last statement, convinced that humans will give up wearing trousers in an attempt to act in any way they choose. Anarchy is sure to follow. In order to prevent a complete breakdown of society, I’m going to amend my statement to include that you also must walk on four legs in order to shirk your hosting duties.
Very funny. Stop crawling on the floor like a baby and put some trousers on!
I’ve put together a guide for hosting and/or being hosted in someone’s home. Please note that these items are somewhat negotiable depending on your level of familiarity with the guests invited. Mommybeast has been known to not offer drinks to her closest friends because ‘they have legs and know where the refrigerator is.’ (While some of you may find this rude, I assure you that friends love this policy as they pilfer whatever snacks they find along the way.)
Rule #1 – Canines should be presented with a tribute before the humans.
This is non-negotiable. The canine is a fickle creature and we will remember who brought us a tribute and who did not. You do not want to find a rogue poop in your shoe because you forgot that we are the real owners of the home you have entered. Please do consult with our humans before giving us the tribute, just in case we can’t have it. And never fear, we will remember it was our human who told you the tribute was not allowed to be given. Rogue poops will be left with the appropriate recipients.
Rule #2 – Present the hostess with a small token of appreciation for the invite.
It is best to stick with generic household items if the person is unknown to you. A candle is the best option in this scenario, or even a box of assorted candies. This rule can be voided when close friends are gathering on a regular occurrence. It should be noted however, that contributing something is always appreciated – bring toilet paper and watch the hostess’s face for a range of silent responses.
Rule #3 – The gift should not be unwrapped in front of guests.
Never, ever, ever unwrap the gift. Set it aside and let the gift giver know that you’ll open it later. I know some of you are about to argue that some guests want you to open the gift. NO! If the guest wants to see the hostess react to the gift, present it unwrapped. Then prepare to put your hostess in the awkward position of faking her delight at an item she secretly loathes.
Rule #3a – Don’t put your hostess in the awkward position of faking her delight at an item she secretly loathes.
Bring your gift wrapped and let the hostess set it aside. Setting your hostess up for failure is a guest faux pas and one that will get you quickly disinvited from all future events. The only gifts that should be presented without wrapping are the ones intended to be used immediately – wine, and in select cases, toilet paper. See rule #2 for clarification of when to give the latter as a gift.
Rule #4 – Thank you notes are a requirement.
Here we go, this is where the internet comes for me. I don’t care, I stand by my statement. Thank you is the easiest part of this entire transaction and they are necessary. The hostess should jot down a quick thank you to anyone who has attended. If a gift was presented it should be referenced in the thank you, even if it is a lie and you’ve already regifted it to your neighbor. Guests should jot a quick thank you to the hostess for having them over. Yes, it may seem silly to trade a thank you, but many things about human society are silly and this one is so easily accomplished. It’s not like you have to drive the card over to the home yourself! Think of it as keeping the mailman in business – it’s good for the economy.
Now that I’ve presented the proper etiquette for hosting and guesting… wait a moment, something’s happening here…
Mommybeast just got a sick feeling of dread that she forgot to send out her thank you notes from a barbecue she hosted two weeks ago – she remembers writing them but cannot remember the walk to the mailbox.
Mommybeast has located the cards and is now frantically running around to find the stamps to affix to her envelopes.
Mommybeast just realized she doesn’t have the addresses of the attendees of the barbecue since Daddybeast was the one who handled the invites through digital means.
Mommybeast is now comforting herself with cookies while she comes to the realization that she married a monster who doesn’t know the first thing about hosting people in their home.
Mommybeast is forgiven for this first lapse in etiquette after years of hosting. If it happens again, I will avenge all of my guests’ honor with a rogue poop in her shoe.
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