Question: Our new neighbors threw a nice dinner party and invited us. I brought a hostess gift and thanked them before we left, but my mother-in-law says that I should send them a thank you card. Isn’t that a bit much nowadays?
Answer: Honey, impeccable manners never go out of fashion. It really depends on whether the party was formal or casual. It is always good manners to bring a hostess gift and thank your host at least once prior to leaving. However, you should also at least deliver a second thank you the next day by phone. A simple hand-written note in the mail is a very gracious gesture. When composing your note thank your hosts and remember to mention one or two things about their party, their home, their family or them that you especially enjoyed. If the party was formal, a thank you note is most definitely customary and shows that you are a well bred Southern lady…or gentleman.
Question: I have been invited to a party. Should I bring a hostess gift and if so what kind of gift is appropriate?
Answer: A hostess gift doesn’t have to be anything expensive or extravagant. But it should be nice and thoughtful. Unless you know you your hosts well, it is best to stick with someone a bit generic. Some good ideas would be a very nice scented candle, lovely stationary, a gift basket, baked goods (if you handy in the kitchen), wine or alcohol (Make sure that your hosts drink alcohol. There is nothing more embarrassing that going to a Baptists preachers home with a bottle of gin), a set of monogrammed towels, a very nice picture frame, or a house plant in a lovely container (if your hostess has a green thumb).
Question: I have been invited to a party at my cousins house. I know she’ll want to play silly party games, because she always does. Do I have to participate?
Answer: Well, you have two options: A. Politely decline the invitation or B. Go and graciously participate in the games. There is really no third option. Remember, you have a obligation to be a good guest. That means you will graciously and enthusiastically play silly party games at the request of your host/hostess, watch vacation slides for the third time, view their kids graduation photos or watch their corny wedding video. And no matter how bored or annoyed you may be, you should always be engaged and enthusiastic…that is just simply good manners.