My Top 5 Christmas Party Hostess Gifts

Hi, everyone! Happy December 13th. Quick note: The Twelve Days of Christmas start on December 25th, not today! 😉

Today I wanted to give you a few hints for Christmas party hostess gifts. Here are my top 5 gifts!

Josh Cabernet Sauvignon. I love the flavor, and it’s moderately priced at around $13 a bottle. The label, however, is very clean looking, and I feel like it tastes comparable to higher priced bottles. Don’t forget, though, that when you give a bottle of wine, you’re giving it for your hosts to consume at a later date.Kind of along those lines are these adorable and very functional glass markers.

These Wine Glass Markers with Colorful and Stylish Design – Set of 6 (Pineapple) are perfect because they can be used on stemless glasses, too.

I also LOVE these cute cocktail napkins. I always have several sets, usually Southern themed, in my hostess basket at home. If the person(s) you’re visiting enjoy cooking, I always recommend theseGrand’aroma Bruschetta,garlic, Basil, Truffle Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 8.5-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 4). Garlic is my favorite one for everyday cooking, but they’re all delicious and add a new level of flavor to your meals.

Honestly, my last favorite pick is a giftcard to a local coffee shop. I know giftcards are very debateable, but I have noticed that the majority of people enjoy coffee. If they don’t, they enjoy tea or soda or the sweets coffee shops have.

I hope you have enjoyed this list, and I’d love to hear what your top picks are, too! Thank you for reading!

{The links in this post contain affiliate links, and we will be compensated for purchases made through the links.}

Hostess Gifts (And When To Use Them)

Confession: I have a bag FULL of hostess gifts at all times, ready to go. Blame it on my Southern roots. It just feels wrong to show up to someone’s house empty handed. Some exceptions apply with very close friends and family, but even then I like to usually bring something small – a token of appreciation, if you will. After all, that is exactly what a hostess gift is. A visible thank you of the hostess’s time and efforts. However, this is also an area that has become grayed over time. What is an acceptable hostess gift? Is the corn dip you bring for an appetizer a hostess gift? When should the host and hostess use the gift?

To begin, anything to be used during the event being hosted is not  a hostess gift. The gift is something the host and/or hostess could use on their own. So, we’ve eliminated the possibility of the appetizer you brought being used as a hostess gift. That being said, is a hostess gift required? Not at all. Here is a list of the only times etiquette “recommends” a hostess gift is given (for the record, I do, too): an actual dinner party – not to be confused with a few friends getting together at the last minute, a shower at which you are the guest of honor (bridal, baby, etc.), an overnight stay, holiday party, going to someone’s home for the first time, meeting someone significant (future in-laws) for the first time. Aside from these occasions, it is never considered wrong  to give a gift. It just wouldn’t be considered bad manners to not do so.

To extend onto the last point and cover a common mistake: wine or any drink brought as a hostess gift is not to be consumed at the dinner party or event. The hosts will have already provided a drink they intend to serve with the meal. This wine is meant to be enjoyed by the hosts later.

Some common hostess gifts include: wine, cocktail napkins, cookies, a candle, flowers, specialty foods, possibly an ornament, if it is a holiday party.

hostess gifts2

The next time someone bring you a bottle of wine as a hostess gift, feel free to tuck it away to save for another day!

What are your favorite gifts to give?

Napkin Placement

I’ve had a few comments asking about napkin placement when setting the table. Does it go on the right, left or center? Unlike the game, there are no dice to roll to tell us the answer. It ultimately depends on the formality of the meal, so allow me to guide you through it.

For the most formal eating occasions, the napkin is in the center, either on the plate or charger. Although the only silverware on the table during each course is what is to be used during said course, the table is fully set until the first course is served. At that time, everything is removed other than what is needed for that course. This is when having help comes in handy. Alas, most of us do not. From this stems what most Americans consider formal…the “working in” method, with the utensils to be used first generally on the outside. Even in this instance, I would recommend that you place the napkin on the plate. One extra benefit of this is it encourages people to immediately put their napkin on their lap, which is in accordance to etiquette.

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For less formal occasions (even those still involving china), you can place the flatware directly on top of the napkin or place the napkin directly to the left of the fork(s).

 

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For a typical place setting, you have one fork (two at most, as shown in photo), a knife and a spoon. I would recommend placing the napkin to the side of the fork(s), unless space is an issue. This biggest concern with placing the napkin under the fork(s) is the potential fumbling when people pick the fork(s) up and try to replace them.

If you are uncertain, err on the side of caution, and place the napkin on the plate. No one will notice that you don’t have servers; they’ll be too impressed with your napkin-placing skills. 😉

Please let me know any questions you have! Thank you for reading!

Napkin Folding (and Unfolding)

To begin this segment, I want to elaborate on a point I made in the previous napkin post. I said that as soon as you sit down, you should place your napkin in your lap. This is because everyone should sit down at the same time. On the occasion the host has not sat down at the same time you have, it’s best to wait until they have sat down. They lead the dinner. But I digress.

When you sit down to dinner, your napkin may look like a crown foldrectangle or a swan. If you’re hosting, get as “flourishy” as you want. I’ve even attached a link at the bottom of the post for a good napkin-folding website, which has a fold I attempted for the first time tonight, the crown fold. How royal.

A couple of things to keep in mind. The most formal (think: dinners we’ll likely never attend, unless you plan to meet the queen) would never have the napkin on the table; it is placed on the plate or charger. Fun fact: these formalest of formal (yes, I know it’s not a real word) dinners also do not have bread plates. The bread is placed on the tablecloth or runner to the left of the plate. Yum…the practical reason behind placing your napkin in your lap when you sit down can be seen in this scenario. If you don’t remove it, how will you eat?

fold 1

Even black tie affairs (white tail being the most formal) may have napkins on the plate, if that’s the host’s preference. Otherwise, it’s to the left of the plate, underneath the silverware. If the napkin is monogrammed, regardless of the fold, the monogram is in the bottom left in the case of a rectangle fold or the center in case of a diamond fold. When there is no monogram, the fold is closest to the plate. To be 100% honest, this is an area of etiquette that is not commonly practiced much any longer. The primary goal should be to have all of the napkins facing the same direction.

To remove your napkin, simply pick up the silverware with one hand, remove the napkin to your lap, then replace the silverware. Once it is under the table, open it to cover your lap (or leg).

I, unfortunately, do not have napkin rings. However, fold 2if you set your table with them and don’t want to roll the napkin, the pointed side is towards the diner. Just place the napkin ring to the top left of the place setting. Once the meal is finished, return the napkin to the ring with the pointed side toward the table.

 

If you have any other napkin questions, please ask away! Who knew there would be so much to learn about a piece of cloth (or paper)?

Fun Folds: http://bumblebeelinens.com/napkinFolding.php