What to Bring to Holiday Gatherings

Happy almost Thanksgiving! The laziness kicked in big time this week which is why this post is a few days late. Monday was productive but it all started to go downhill yesterday when I realized that the week was halfway over. I’m ready for overindulgence (again), Gilmore Girls marathons and the Broadway performances in the Macy’s parade tomorrow. Anyone else? On another note, do you ever notice that many of the people that host holidays are often the hardest to shop for? Unless your family goes potluck style with their holidays, it can be tricky to figure out what to bring to contribute or at least to thank the host. I have a tendency to overthink gift giving which is the worst thing to do so please do not follow in my footsteps. Instead, stay practical! What does your family as a whole love? Or, if you’re meeting up with your friend family, what would make sense for the entire group?

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Wine
Wine is never a bad idea. Unless, of course, your host doesn’t drink or has an allergy. In that case, skip the wine. Ok, easy enough...wine...but what kind? For starters, don’t blow your monthly salary to buy an impressive bottle. There are plenty of decent affordable bottles. For whites, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are generally safe bets. For reds, I like to grab a Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, or Grenache as they tend to be a little more palate friendly. If you know the menu ahead of time, do a little research to see what might be a good pairing option so that the host can offer it with dinner if they want to. Rose is traditionally a summer wine but if you know it’s going to be a crowd pleaser, bring your favorite bottle. A good note to remember is to stay away from anything bone dry or super sweet. You want a wine that will be a bit more universal so that the host can either keep it for themselves to enjoy or serve at the holiday. If you have a favorite wine and aren’t comfortable guessing which other bottles might be good, pick up one or two of your favorite. It’s still a thoughtful gesture.

Food
This one is tricky and completely dependent on the holiday gathering you will be attending. If it’s potluck style, the answer is whatever you're assigned or volunteered for. If the host is providing everything, check in with them. Don’t just assume they need something and bring it. God forbid there are two green bean casseroles on the table! If you do bring something to pass, make sure there is no work necessary. If you need to do something small and insignificant after arrival, like re-assembly so it’s pretty, ask the host to direct you to where it should go and take care of it. Whatever you bring should not cause the host any extra work. A few suggestions you can ask to bring include: charcuterie boards, cheese platters, fruit salad, vegetable trays, easy appetizers, sides, or desserts. Nothing will make me happier than someone offering to bring a dessert since baking is my least favorite thing to do.

Host/ess Gifts
On the chance everything is taken care of or your host simply does not want or need you to bring a thing, go with a simple but thoughtful hostess gift. Again, this does not need to blow your regular budget but it should be considerate. What does your host or hostess love? Do they need something? I love the little foodie gift sets you can find at places like Williams-Sonoma or Crate & Barrel. Edible gifts are never a bad idea. It’s always good to get personal if you can too. Does your hostess have a coffee addiction? Get her a new mug with a bag of your favorite blend. Does she enjoy pampering with spa at home days? Pick up a DIY spa kit so she can relax the next day. Is your host a traveler with an incurable sense of wanderlust? Books about a destination they’ve always wanted to visit or travel-sized packages are a great idea. The point is, know your host or hostess and put some thought into the gift that is essentially thanking them for putting together the wonderful party.