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What Can I Bring?

Heija Nunn

You’ve been invited to a party or dinner at a “friend’s” house. Let’s hope this year we won’t have to just imagine what that’s like. Either way, your first move, after twisting yourself inside and out to find out who else will be there, without actually asking the question (because, it’s rude, even though we all want to), is to politely inquire, “What can I bring?” 

If you are super lucky, your host will give you a clear assignment like, “Bring that aspic salad your mom learned to make in the fifties, or a good bottle of wine.”  But we can’t all be lucky, so instead, most of the time we hear, “Oh! Thank you for offering, but please, just bring yourself!” Which, as you know, is a cruel and dastardly trap. A test of will and wiles meant to measure your emotional intelligence and social IQ.

You can take your host at their word and show up empty-handed, in which case one of only two things will happen. One, you will regret it. Or two, you will reeeeaaaallllly regret it. Because even if your host genuinely disdains the idea of receiving a random pile of gift offerings in exchange for their sincere hospitality, your fellow guests will make you pay for trusting people. They will ignore even the most ardent pleas to “come as you are” and will instead show up way overdressed and stand uncomfortably close to you at the door waving an ostentatiously wrapped package. Sure, it might contain something awful, but no one will know until later. 

If fighting tired social mores while raging against capitalism sounds like too much work on date night, read on for some simple hostess (Host? Hosty?) ideas that will help you stand out while blending in.

The very best hostess gifts fit in nicely or disappear quickly. Your host doesn’t have time to find a vase for a plastic wrapped bouquet of flowers, and they just might be allergic to scented candles . The time has come for basic-adjacent gifts. Unexpected treats, treasures and tools that improve upon basic themes and are easy to store, immediately useful, or benign enough to regift with impunity. 

Like the five basic food groups, there are five basic hostess gift groups: bottles, candles, flowers, food, and chocolate. But as we have learned from the internet, hip hop, and brutally honest teenagers, basic is bad.  Don’t be basic. Instead rely on local gift experts and fresh resources to upgrade basic to best without having to overspend or overthink. Shop local or small online and at independent boutiques, farmers markets or even gourmet grocery for beautiful bottles filled with anything but wine, a flat of gorgeous berries, organic dog biscuits, a fuzzy bribe for the baby or a new title to keep that basic Tom Ford coffee table book company.

And if you do find yourself at a party without a gift to spare. Do not despair. Perhaps you can juggle, or have a little magic up your sleeve?  A sparkling personality, a few well-timed or  inappropriate jokes and an extra set of hands in the kitchen can shine brighter than a smelly candle. And tomorrow will be a perfect time to send a thoughtful note…and chocolate.

Impress The Boss Baby 

https://www.barefootdreams.com/products/cozychic-fox-buddie

hedge & vine

10000 Main St #102

Bellevue, Wa 98004

Dazzle The Dog

Chewbebe, Chewie’s Chicken Chips

https://www.chewbebe.com/products/chewbebe-chicken-treats 

hedge & vine

10000 Main St #102

Bellevue, Wa 98004

Alcohol Not Included

Aged and Infused Cocktail Infusion Kit

https://agedandinfused.com/collections/infusion-kits/products/navel-gazer-alcohol-infusion-kit

Oscar and Co.

702 Market St.

Kirkland, WA 98033

Empty Elegance

Antique Decanters

Oscar and Co.

702 Market St.

Kirkland, WA 98033

U Oughta Prada

Coffee Table Book 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prada-susannah-frankel/1130938375 

IVY Gift & Home

1141 Park Ln 

Kirkland, WA 98033

Honey Dooze

Mitica Honey, Orange Blossom

https://caputos.com/product/mitica-orange-blossom-honey-spanish/

Whole Foods Market

888 116th Ave NE 

Bellevue, 98004

Destination Cookie

Crumbl, Milk Chocolate Chip Cookie

https://crumblcookies.com/

16915 SE 272nd St, Suite 102

Covington, WA 98042

Stable Genius

Stemless Champagne Flutes

https://www.riedel.com/en-us/shop/o-wine-tumbler/flute-041400028

Met Market

10611 NE 68th St. 

Kirkland, WA 98033

A Big Figgin’ Deal

Potted Kadota Fig Tree

Met Market

10611 NE 68th St. 

Kirkland, WA 98033

Match. Strike. Fire 

Glassybaby Matches

https://www.glassybaby.com/glassybaby-matches

Glassybaby

10230 Main Street

Bellevue, WA 98004

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