By Heidi Richards Mooney


If you plan to visit ANYONE’S Home during the holidays, bring more than a suitcase!

Bringing a gift is more than a thoughtful gesture when visiting someone’s home, it is proper etiquette.  Especially if you plan an extended stay (beyond a dinner or party invitation).

Even if you are just going to someone’s for dinner, bringing a gift for the host/hostess is considered good manners, especially if you want to be invited back.

That’s not to say that the host/hostess expects a gift. On the contrary.  Many times I have visited friends and families homes bearing gifts and the first thing they say is “you shouldn’t have.”

Well, actually you should! In addition to displaying good manners, it expresses your gratitude for the invitation and ingratiates you in their mind.

And by the way, it doesn’t have to be an expensive gift. It could be a simple as a bag of Starbucks holiday coffee blend, or a teacup and saucer with some choice tea blends. This “rule” applies if you are visiting an acquaintance, good friends and even family.

So what if you are travelling far and don’t want to pack a lot of trinkets?  The next best thing would be to treat your host/hostess to a meal outside the home.  Or even a gift-certificate in a nice card upon your arrival.

And even if you are helping to prepare the holiday fare, it is still appropriate to bring a
small gift to the home where everyone will gather for the meal.

Other gift-giving suggestions include: Bagels, a box of donuts or other breakfast treat, a music CD, candles, notecards, candy, cocktail napkins or even a tea cozy.

I threw my husband a surprise party recently and several people brought gifts for him AND for me. TWO in particular that stand out; one  from a good friend visiting from Brazil. She found this beautiful silverware cozy made of fine linen from her native land and gifted that to me. It is something she knew I would love and treasure.  Her daughter brought me a pair of lovely earrings from the same region.  If you know your host well enough, you can personalize the gift.

Remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune, just be sure the gift is thoughtful, appropriate and in good taste.  Flowers also go a long way to say thank you for having me in your home. Be sure that if you do bring flowers either have them already arranged or offer to arrange them for the host. It is not a good idea to add extra work to a host who is already busy entertaining. Books, a bottle of wine and even a basket of fruit are also in good taste, especially if you know the host/hostess well and are in tune to what they like.

If you would like a refresher on proper etiquette or just need some more ideas, here’s a great book on the subject: The Everything Etiquette Book: A Modern-Day Guide to Good Manners by Leah Ingram.

©Heidi Richards Mooney – is a Motivator, Social Media Consultant and the Author of 7 books including: “Quirky Marketing – 365 Ways to Grow Your Business Using Zany and Non-Traditional Holidays.”  She is also the Publisher of WE Magazine for Women. Stop by to get a FREE copy of YOUR Marketing Calendar today!

More great holiday gift-giving articles and ideas can be found in  our new Holiday Gift-giving Guide at