Distressed Diner: Meeting the family for the first time

by epi on November 8, 2011

Q: I will be meeting my boyfriends family for the first time on Thanksgiving. We will be arriving ‘after’ dinner and I don’t know what would be the proper thing for me to bring? I don’t want to go empty handed. Help?

A:  A pretty plant would be a nice gift, or any gourment food item, from decorative olive oil to a box of chocolates.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jody November 8, 2011 at 7:17 am

The suggestions in the original post are good, but I also suggest asking your boyfriend if he has any suggestions. You wouldn’t want to give a box of chocolates if his parents are diabetic, and you wouldn’t want to give a bottle of wine if they don’t drink.


Lady Antipode November 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm

There are some suggestions here as well http://www.etiquettedaily.com/2011/04/hostess-gifts-for-non-wine-drinkers-what-are-good-ideas/ and it was also raised at some point in early October, but I can’t seem to find it (sorry).

The trick is to bring something they can’t possibly use on the night, so that the hosts don’t feel obliged to serve it and possibly disrupt their menu etc.

If you can cook and wish to impress, home made muffins would be perfect, given as ‘for your breakfast/enjoyment tomorrow’. As Jody said, you will need to check with your boyfriend about dietary requirements first.

Miss Manners has also covered this, although she says ‘don’t bring anything’ I think in this case you should. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-manners-most-hosts-are-thankful-for-empty-handed-guests/2011/09/15/gIQA89rPDL_story.html


Jerry November 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Miss Manners’ injunction not to bring anything is most properly interpreted as an injunction not to bring anything to the meal. It is not an injunction to show up empty handed — even Miss Manners’ article suggests that a host gift is appropriate.


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