Present Etiquette - does this sound ok?(31 Posts)
Every year our friends host Christmas Dinner (they insist and love hosting).
They have two adult children of their own . One of these children also has a daughter .
Our friends are generous with gifts for our own two young children .
As a rule , we don't buy for adults at Christmas due to the expense . We don't receive any gifts from anyone and we are perfectly happy with this.
However , we do always take along a nice bottle of champagne and a nice box of chocolates - either a hamper or a posh box from a posh shop .
We spend in the region of £50-£60 with the intention of our friends and their adult children sharing it on Christmas Day .
We also buy a gift for the child of the adult child (so the hosts grandchild).
Does this sound ok ? Or should we be buying individual gifts ?
It will get very costly if we have to buy gifts for all the adults attending.
Sounds fabulous to me. I would be thrilled if anyone coming here arrived with such lovely gifts. I am sure it is your company they love not your gifts!
If I were hosting someone for Christmas lunch and they brought a bottle of champagne or a box of chocolates - however large and expensive - I would asssume those were their contribution to the lavish meal. I wouldn't view that consumable as my (joint) Christmas present.
But it sounds like this arrangement has happened for years, and you've always been invited back, why the soul searching about it now?
Sounds great to me. If they buy generously for your children and you buy for the grandchild (something similarly generous), that seems absolutely fine - just gifts for the children is perfectly acceptable. Then the chocs and wine as a thank you for being hosted. Perhaps also send a small plant or some inexpensive flowers afterwards, and a thank you card? It sounds lovely and I wouldn't worry.
Food can be very costly, instead of the champagne and chocolates you could ask if they would prefer a contribution towards costs then take flowers etc as a hosting gift.
Do you take wine, port, dessert wine or offer to provide dessert or cheese etc as well? I would see the champagne and chocs being a contribution to the meal not a gift to the hosts. Xmas dinner is really expensive a good turkey is over £50. Plus all the wines, starter, side dishes, Xmas
Using and all the accompaniments.
Yes we always take home made sides with us such as bread sauce , trifle etc
I think you should take more - one bottle of champagne between 6 adults is one small glass each!
Friends have us and our children for a dinner party every NYE. We take fizz and dessert. This equates to 2 bottles of champagne (4 adults one bottle before dinner, the other at midnight), homemade dessert, cheese and crackers plus chutney or quince jelly. We also take flowers and a candle for the hosts.
I agree with sommerville what you are taking sounds like a contribution to the meal which is fine but don't kid yourself it's a "Christmas present" especially if the intention is for it to be enjoyed on Christmas Day when you are there.
A Christmas dinner is a huge amount of effort and quite an expense and whilst I'd never expect to cover my plate/costs (either as a guest or a host) I think you probably need to do a little bit more.
As a minimum for a celebratory meal of that nature I'd take one bottle of champagne + 2 wine per couple and a box of really good chocolates.
Additionally as a contribution to the meal I'd offer to do a cheese board/side of ham/pudding as the host wished (and obviously agreed well in advance).
I think gifts on top would be a nice touch. I appreciate you don't usually do gifts for adults but when you're being hosted it's a different category all together: there are many small items which show thought and consideration which cost very little. The least you could do I think.
That being said I'm pretty extravagant and Christmas is a good opportunity for me to go OTT.
Unfortunately we simply don't have the money to buy a bottle of champagne and two bottles of wine per couple
The hosts invite around 20 people - none of which we know at all .
We are tea total so providing all the wine for their other guests seems a bit OTT for us .
We always offer to bring desserts as well as the sides we make , but the hosts always refuse and actually get quite cross at our insistence .
I don't know if the other guests bring anything.
Financially, the hosts are in a much better position than us ; they know we can't afford extravagance and wouldn't expect us to .
I was thinking of offering a monetary contribution but how much is reasonable ?
I think offering a monetary contribution would be a bit crass; but Christmas gifts would definitely be appropriate... one bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates in total is really not enough.
Hmmmm. I'm in the position of your friends, we host xmas for (nearly) 20 friends and family and honestly I'd be more than happy with a bottle of champagne and posh chocs. - I would save these for ME and eat them once everyone had left and I could relax.
I love having so many people here and as we are in a "better" position financially than most of our friends/family I am more than happy to host. I KNOW Christmas dinner and drinks cost a fortune but I still do it because we CAN. I'm sure your friends do so for the same reasons.
That being said, one of my friends always brings a cheeseboard- she's French and fabulous and totally understands cheeses ha!
So, 1 champagne, nice chocs and gift for the littleuns is perfect. Enjoy your Christmas!
It's different if you really can't afford it - although I do wonder what you'd be spending if you cooked Christmas dinner at home. More than two bottles of wine and some champagne I'd imagine.
Cash contribution is only appropriate for very close family IMO and really only if needed. My sister and I did it one year but we're in different positions now and it'd be unnecessary.
I still think you should take small individual gifts: a book, lip gloss, notepad, mug can all be very low cost but thoughtful depending on recipient.
If we did Christmas at home we would spend a maximum of £50 - we've done this before .
To clarify , I don't buy one box of chocolates - we normally make up a hamper or buy one huge box of fancy chocolates . They are not shared with guests on the day, they are given as a gift .
chowchow thank you for your input - it's nice to hear an opinion from a host
It sounds fine! If you started bringing individual presents they'd feel like they had to buy you little presents, then they'd have to buy everyone else little presents and it spirals from there!
Also speaking as a host, I do it because I like doing it and can afford to. I'm a bit anal about what I serve so don't ask for contributions and really don't expect anybody to bring anything so a bottle of champagne and some luxurious chocolates would not be expected but appreciated. I like the idea that someone mentioned of a nice candle and would actually prefer that to the chocolates but you are obviously welcome guests so don't angst about it too much and enjoy your day.
Sounds fine to me, I wouldn't change it now. They wouldn't do it if they didn't want to so are obviously happy and some people get embarrassed if you go over the top with gifts. Plus, some people like to be the givers if you know what I mean 😁
As long as you get the child something I'm sure they'll be happy
i think your gifts are great - you continue to be invited so no one has been offended by this. We also host a large xmas dinner and I'd be delighted with a bottle of wine - we don't invite people with the expectation that they'll bring things, we want their company. If I'm hosting and want people to contribute something then I would ask (nicely)
If you were my friend and I was hosting, your gifts would be very welcome and absolutely enough.
I wouldn't host if I couldn't afford to and I wouldn't expect my guests to bring anything unless agreed beforehand.
I'm hosting this year and we expect to cover the cost of the food and the wine. A bottle of champagne to enjoy at a later date would be great.
I think it sounds fab, and if they keep inviting you, it seems they agree. It doesn't matter what other people think!
I think given your situation and theirs it sounds fine. If you were loaded and drinkers then more alcohol, but you're not! I think giving extra individual presents would get awkward.
We host a huge dinner on Xmas eve and one on NYE. We do it because we love it and can afford to. Our guests know we can afford it (we don't shout or anything, they just know we love hosting and do throughout the year). I would not want you to bring real food for the meal. Champagne and chocolates is perfect although I might save some for myself afterwards rather than share all.
Keep doing what you're doing. Anyone whoever voluntarily hosts 20 friends because they like it is not worried about the cost and will anything you bring as though full appreciative gifts. FWIW I would not expect someone tee total to bring champagne, so just spend what you can nicely afford to say thank you as it seems you are.
I differentiate gifts by wrapping them as opposed to contributions to the celebration which are unwrapped!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.