I've always been taught not to show up to a party, dinner party, luncheon — you name it — empty handed. It seems like a pretty easy thing to do, just bring flowers, a box of candy, a bottle of wine, or some other treat along with you. It also always seemed to me, the right thing to do, since wherever I was headed, I was being entertained, someone was making dinner for me, or providing apps and drinks. Still, when you're cash-strapped, it's a lot easier said than done.
As holiday costs add up, even every little thing matters. It may seem like a much bigger deal to grab a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers now than it does in the Spring or Summer when there are fewer functions and a whole lot fewer expenses. Still, when I'm on hostess duty, I always appreciate the thoughtful friends who bring something along. Even if it's just a simple dessert, muffins they've baked themselves, candy — it doesn't have to be fancy, but it definitely makes a big difference. I wouldn't say I've come to expect a gift when entertaining, but I definitely notice the ones who do make an extra effort. How about you, when you've planned and prepped for guests to come over, do you expect them to bring a little something for you? Especially around the holidays, are hostess gifts important?