Some company parties are glamorous venues with hundreds of people, endless tables of hors d’oeuvres, and rows of sparkling champagne glasses … and others are more intimate affairs in private homes. Perhaps they’re catered and just as glamorous, but the interactions are closer and more personal. (And you’ll be more likely to hear what other people are saying if the DJ or live band is not booming in the background!)
One small detail that should be part of your holiday office party etiquette – aside from taking the time to engage in good conversation with your coworkers and not getting obnoxiously drunk – is the host gift you bring when you walk in the door. What to bring? And how to deliver it? These simple tips can help.
The host gift is an advance “thank you”
When someone opens their home for a relatively large gathering of people who are not family or close friends, they’re going to a lot of trouble (and expense). A host gift is just a small way to show appreciation for that effort, and to share in some way in the spirit of giving.
When giving the gift, be sure to accompany it with a heartfelt thanks and a sincere compliment. But also be discreet, since not everyone will bring a gift and you don’t want to call undue attention to yourself. No need to make a big deal about how awesome you were for remembering (even though you were awesome, so congrats!).
The gift should have something to do with entertaining
Host or hostess gifts are not meant to be something personal, like a new razor or a pair of earrings. Instead, they should be a gift for the home, and specifically for entertaining.
Instead of boring scented candles (a universal favorite for regifting – let’s be honest), try these options at a range of price points:
- Unique and pretty coasters, like these agate ones from Anthropologie.
- A lovely but simple cake stand, like this one from West Elm.
- An assortment of French herbal soaps to be used in guest bathrooms.
- A set of Moscow mule mugs for the cocktail lover.
- A pretty serving platter, like this blue and white Japanese inspired one.
- A handpainted ornament, like this one inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting.
- If you know that your host loves to cook, perhaps a new cookbook featuring their favorite cuisine would be appreciated.
- Flowers sent to the host or hostess the day after the party. (Bringing them the day of the party creates extra work for the host, who now has to look for a vase and a place to display them.)
Don’t lose sight of the most important things
In the end, holiday parties are meant to be a chance to relax and enjoy the people you work with – yup, even your boss! So don’t get too caught up in what to give, what to wear, or the other externals. The most important gift you can bring is yourself and your sparkling holiday cheer. And the best parties are the ones where you give yourself to the conversation and truly listen and and appreciate the people you spend so much time with every day. So do bring a nice gift, but don’t forget that the biggest gift you can bring is your best self, ready to share.
Not in the mood for that holiday party? This prayer can help