Eight free ways to thank the party host

The year may be winding down, but the parties are just getting started.  Right now, your friends, family, and neighbors are probably busy planning their costume parties, Thanksgiving feasts, and holiday celebrations.  And they would like the honor of your presence. 

We all know that hosting a party can be costly, but it can also be expensive to be a partygoer.  For example, many guests spend significant amounts of money on new clothing and childcare during the fall and winter months.  Another expense that some consider necessary, but is often overlooked is cost of gifts to thank your hosts (Emily Post considers bringing a gift to a party as “Etiquette 101”).

Since budgets can become particularly tight during the holiday season, it’s important to carefully watch the amount o f money you spend on unplanned gifts.  Thankfully, there are many ways show your appreciation for being welcomed to a celebration without spending any money at all.  Following are eight free ways to thank a party host:

  1. Regift.  Take a look around to see what you already have that the host might enjoy.  For example, it is perfectly acceptable to regift an unopened bottle of wine. If you are going to regift, be sure to follow the regifting rules.
  2. Bring food.  Many hosts welcome guests to bring a dish to share.  Ask the host what they want or need beforehand so you don’t duplicate efforts or clash with their theme.  I learned this last tip the hard way when I brought enchiladas to an Italian dinner!
  3. Help out.  Offer to help the host by bringing needed items like extra chairs or silverware.  You could also offer to help other guests with their coats or tend the bar for a while so your host can mingle. 
  4. Share talents.  Do you enjoy arranging flowers or putting playlists together?  If so, offer to share your talent for the party.  Busy hosts often forget to take photos, so consider volunteering as the event photographer.
  5. Corral the kids.  If the party is an adults-only affair, you can offer to hire a babysitter or two to watch kids at your home during the party.  If kids are invited to the event, bring along a game or movie to help keep them entertained. 
  6. Dog sit.  Unless the hosts have a properly trained pooch, their dog will likely be a party pest.  Offer to put their pet in your yard during the party.  Or even better, have their pet spend the night at your house.
  7. Clean up.  When a party’s over, the hosts are left with wonderful memories and a big mess to clean up.  Stay late to help take out the trash or do dishes.  If you can’t stay late, offer to come back in the morning to lend a hand.
  8. Write a note.  In addition to thanking your host when you leave, drop off a thank you note a few days later.  It will be a nice reminder of the wonderful time you had together.

Next time you are invited to a party, take a little time to think about how you would like to thank the host.  Your thoughtful gift will mean more to them than anything you could buy at the store.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

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