Gifts Ideas for Weekend Hosts

What do you give as a gift when you're a weekend guest? --skinimini99

Question:

Dear skinimini:

Think about how you can contribute to the smooth running of the household while you are there. That should inspire gifts that are useful. For example, you can bring some fancy food -- or unfancy food for that matter. Perhaps some lovely cheeses or fancy nuts and chocolates. You must have some idea of your host's tastes. Homemade cookies are always welcome. The good news about an edible gift is that it is ultimately disposable, so the host doesn't have to fret about putting it on the mantelpiece whenever you visit.

Need another idea? Someone once gave me a stack of notepads with my name on them. They were small legal pads with "Mary Mitchell" at the top. It was one of my favorite gifts, and one I now give.

Remember to bring something for the children, if your host has any. And once you've returned home, be sure to write a thank-you note, highlighting the memorable events of the weekend. Send your note together with a small gift, such as a sachet collection, nice candles or decorative soaps.

Although it's customary to arrive bearing a gift, you can also wait until later in your visit to offer your hosts a show of your appreciation. During the weekend, if you go shopping together and your host happens to mention or admire anything special, you might quietly purchase it and present it to him or her later that weekend. One friend did this for me when I admired a special cutting board while we were shopping together.

Remember, too, that our best and most appreciated gifts are our time and attention. If you happen to be a super cook or gardener, you might want to prepare a special meal or volunteer to help with the gardening. And it's always nice to take your host to dinner or lunch somewhere lovely during the weekend.

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