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Old 09-07-2006, 07:04 PM   #51
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I think it depends entirely on what is being celebrated, where, it may be a picnic, the guest mix and quite a few other factors. It is almost an instinctive thing. But seldom can one not find the perfect thing. I would have a heart attack if anyone turned up with a casserole, if it were not prearranged. Though I really can't imagine anyone doing that.
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:04 PM   #52
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I usually hang out in a tight circle of family and friends , so if I'm invited to a dinner or party, if the host asks me to make something, I'll honor the request, otherwise I'll bring beer or wine or both to the event.
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:53 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckytom
dad is first gen irish american, mom is second - norwegian american.
we were taught 2 basic rules.

1. never show up empty handed, anywhere, no matter what.
we normally bring wine AND italian or polish baked goods (since there's so many good bakeries of each around me), AND/or flowers.

every time i go to my parents, we bring veggies and herbs from the garden, as well as a few frozen meals i've prepared, so my mom can get a break from dinner for a coupla nights. same goes when we visit my siblings. it may seem weird, but they love my cooking. or so they say...lol?

even when i go to my buddy's house for monday night football, i bring a 12 pack and a pizza or two. neither goes to waste with my friends, and is always appreciated.
i remember we were having our monday night get together at one of the guys' house, who's wife was a bit iffy about what we might do to her place since she didn't know everyone. some of the guys are very large, very scary looking people.
i showed up early, with flowers and wine for her (i left the beer and pizza in the truck), and she seemed to relax a bit. especially after a glass or two of the wine. not to mention how she kept trying to set me up with all of her friends. i was semi-single at the time.
anyway, it was a case that proved the theory. never show up empty handed.



2. everyone is always invited. period. all get togethers, from the biggest party to the simplest meal, no one is ever excluded. even strangers.
if it should so happen that you think you don't like someone, you'll be surprised at the friends you make, rather than the enemies you'll make by not including them. a little friendship and hospitality goes a long way.
my mom says that this is a norwegian practice from years ago. if you were having a get together, you'd place a lit candle or pot of oil in the front of the house as sort of an "open house" sign. anyone who passes by is invited in to the party, and to eat.
I like your Mom, Bucky...can I borrow her for a while?
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:54 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by licia
I suppose it depends on how well you know your hosts. I always take something, not food if I'm invited to dinner. Sometimes chocolates, or a nice candle, or if I know what they collect, perhaps something to go with that. I have a friend who brings current magazines that she knows I like, but to which I don't subscribe. I think it is just a nice thing to do for someone who probably went to quite a bit of work to entertain you. Perhaps a cd of their favorite group, a picture frame, or even in some cases, I've taken a picture that I had taken of us together, etc. Lots of things other than food and wine. Flowers are always nice. Alix, I think the friend should have been told first off if the flowers were for another person at the party, but even better why bring flowers for one person to another person's party. That seems a bit unthoughtful to me. But it seems everyone lives by different rules these days, or perhaps the lack of them!
Those are all wonderful ideas, Licia!
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:59 PM   #55
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That seems to be the way these days JohnL. So much entertaining is informal. We very seldom go to formal events. The thing to bear in mind always I think, is that good manners are for other peoples comfort. Not a side show of warmed fish knives etc. to be trotted out in a viperish show of snobbery and one upmanship.
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:21 PM   #56
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I suspect we are also thinking on different levels here. As for me, we are not "elites" in the social circle. If we recieve invitation, we recieved it because our company is genuinely desired. We always show our appreciation by providing the host with a small gift. Usually this gift is wine or flowers, but it may differ from time to time. The actual gift is not important, the thought is.

Some comments here are based on dinner invitations that would not neccessarily fit in my atmosphere, thus there will always be differences of perspective.

The people we recieve invitations from are people anyone would be honored to have as friends. There is no way in h--- I'd show up without a gift of some kind. No way! Ms. Manners or not!

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Old 09-07-2006, 09:38 PM   #57
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I think perhaps the term 'house gift' is not fully understood by Miss Manners.
It also sounds like Miss Manners is only seeing black or white. I believe people know what they are being invited for: informal bbq, formal sit-down dinner, cocktails, pool party, sunday brunch, etc.

Would I bring Aunt Mae's corn pudding to a formal sit down dinner? No, nor do I believe it would be appropriate. Would I bring the hostess a box of scented soaps or a small bag of potpouri? Sure, why not? Do I expect her to run to the loo and place them about? Um...no

Perhaps the fact that someone may not know when it's appropriate to bring an additional dinner item or when to expect the item should be something that can be enjoyed later is more of the same point...people (some people) just don't know what is the right thing to do.

It's like bringing wine to a dinner party. I bring it as a gift for the hostess, never dreaming she'd serve it that night. I assume she has already planned her wine to accompany the meal. I would also say something like : I love this wine, I think you'll find you enjoy it as well. Let me know what you thought when you do try it. That way the hostess knows I don't expect her to serve it.

A gift for the hostess is not meant to disrupt the planned events, but rather, its supposed to let your host(ess) know you appreciate their effort. It's simply supposed to be a kind gesture.

Conversely, there is also a difference between a noted 'byo - something' before the event. That isn't actually a hostess gift. That's a request.


Here's something else I was taught....If a neighbour sent over a dish of christmas cookies, or a basket of tomatoes from their garden, or whatever...never send the plate or basket back empty. We always send it back with something on it.
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Old 09-07-2006, 10:21 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lulu
I should get you talking to my friend who I shall call "Adam" Bucky. I love him dearly, but have had to stop inviting him because he comes (occasionally bringing with him a bottle of wine from the off licence in my road) for dinner on a friday, and after all the other guests have gone and I have to tell him bluntly I am tired he just looks blank and says, oh right, yes, well, I'll saty the night and we can keep talking in the morning!!!

Once he stayed 10 days!!! Husband and I went to work every morning, he slept and watched tv! He is an actor, and during this time he even went to auditions THEN RETURNED TO OUR PLACE! I can't for the life of me get it, he has his own flat - much nicer than ours! So, now we only try to only go to restaurants nearer his place than ours, lol.
When this gent, "Adam", stayed for 10 days, it's speculative, but I suggest he was utilizing your residence as a "retreat" from something unwanted, that may have shown up at his residence. Once the "danger" pasted, he went home.

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Old 09-08-2006, 01:18 AM   #59
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I've had several occasions when people brought desserts bought from bakeshops to my dinners -- after specifically telling them not to bring anything. My initial reaction is appreciation for their thoughtfulness but on the other hand I secretly feel dismayed because I had dessert planned and painstakingly home-made already. I guess people expect me to serve what they brought, so rather than hurt anyone's feelings, at dessert time, I just serve ALL the desserts, mine and theirs. (It looks strange on the table -- this mish mash of little designer cake slices and pastries among my profiteroles or tiramisu or panna cotta.)

One time, somebody brought a beautiful cake she baked herself. The thought actually crossed my mind that time that maybe I should just not serve my dessert anymore. But thinking about the awful waste of my efforts, I just served both.

I do appreciate it when people bring food but I would prefer that they bring a non-food item especially when people know I always plan my dinners well. If guests don't bring anything, it's perfectly alright by me too. I've never minded it. We normally bring wine -- it's a safe gift, if unimaginative. Next time I'll try the great non-food gift ideas posted here.
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Old 09-08-2006, 02:10 AM   #60
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I was chatting about this with a friend and she reminded me of an occasion where we had an informal supper at her place - there were twelve os us in all. I bought a cake for their cupboard or freezer (it was wrapped and I say as I give something like that, "thank you for inviting us to night, here is something for tea later this week, or breakfast depending how wicked you feel") but a mutual girlfriend, brought a cake traditional for her country. The whole way through the meal our friend kept saying she was "saving room" for her cake. It was a nice gesture to bring something but the guest made her gesture into something we all had to share. At pudding there was an awkwardness as the guest invited us to critique/praise her cake and our friends brownies/icecream combo was somewhat sidelined, despite being better and more appropriate to the relaxed meal.

The hostess was very gracious but said she felt quite hurt that her guest had upstaged her but felt that it was done as primarily to let all of the other guest know she had brought a gift...they were the last to arrive and did not know that the other guest had supplied some wine and some flowers. So it confirms my view that something for the table, unless asked for, is not appropraite, but something for the hosts to enjoy later or flowers are appreciated generally.
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