Princess Edamame\’s Parties

You CAN have a great party – just learn from my mistakes!

Hostess Gifts – Bring ’em On

If you’re like most people, you may often wonder when it is appropriate to bring a hostess gift when going to someone’s home for a meal or a party.  Here’s my position:  Bring it on.

The host/ess is going to some measure of trouble to have you over, whether it’s a small affair or a large event.  You should in turn show your appreciation for his or her efforts with a small but thoughtful gift.

“But what?” you ask.  This is where it gets fun.

Everyone knows the usual:  a bottle of wine or flowers.  A bottle of vino is always nice, and I always appreciate it.  But please don’t be offended if the host/ess doesn’t open the bottle that evening.  The wine may have already been carefully chosen, and what you brought may not go well with what is being served.  But please know that your gift is appreciated.  A note on flowers:  It is a good idea to bring a small arrangement that does not smell too strongly, and that does not require being put into a vase.  An arrangement that it already in a container is fantastic, because your host/ess is busy enough; don’t make her stop what she’s doing to find a vase, snip the flowers, and arrange them. 

 But how about something more unique?  Here’s a quick list of some favorites that I have either given or received (or would love to receive – hint hint):

A package of novelty cocktail napkins.  I’m of the belief that you can’t have too many cute cocktail napkins.  And as proof, I have over 30 different unopened packages that I can’t wait to get through.

I once hosted an eat-on-the-floor Japanese dinner, and my guests brought a basket containing a variety of Japanese snack food, and a pair of long cooking chopsticks (which came in handy that very night).  It was adorable, well thoght out, and relatively inexpensive.

A low-maintenance house/outdoor plant.  One friend brought a pointsettia to my Christmas party.  We kept it outside after the holidays, and it grew up beautifully.  It was a nice reminder of this guest, and his thoughtfulness, every time I saw it.  He’s invited every year.  My grandmother brought a chrysanthemum (my birth-flower) to one of my parties many years ago, and it is still thriving to this day.  She’s invited every year as well. 😉

Cookbooks!  If you know the type of food being served, you could theme your choice.  A book about a favorite region would be nice as well.  Perhaps you are of a different ethnicity of than your host?  How about a book featuring the cuisine from your native land?

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November 3, 2007 Posted by | entertaining, Family Parties, food, hostess gifts, Japanese Dinner, Tips | , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Success!

The back-to-back parties went off rather well, I think!  Saturday night was Japanese dinner for 6, plus my almost 2-year old son.  We made sukiyaki, which is a sort of stew your guests cook at the table.  All I needed to do was buy the ingredients, chop the veggies and make some very simple broth to cook in.  Since this is fantastic party food, I will definitely do an in-depth post on it another time, and recommend some cookbooks.

Sunday afternoon was my son’s second birthday party (a little early).  Mainly family, and a few neighborhood kids.  My uncle made the cake, which was stellar:  devil’s food with rasberry filling!  We held the party at 2 p.m., so no need to prepare a full meal:  pub mix/trail mix, fruit with dip, Halloween candy, shrimp scampi (homemade, but extremely easy and keeps well), and frozen quiches (brand:  Nancy’s.  Almost as good as my homemade.)

Here’s what I would recommend should you decide to hold two parties very close together:

1.  Definitely re-think the idea.  It’s going to be a lot of planning – the schedule will be everything.

2.  Make one of your parties super simple.  Think party platters, pre-cut vegetable trays, or even catering from a favorite restaurant.

3.  If one of your parties is for family, try making that the more casual party, and enlist their help.  Don’t turn them down when they offer to bring something, clear the table or wash dishes.  Don’t be a hero!

October 12, 2006 Posted by | Family Parties, Japanese Dinner, Tips, Uncategorized | 1 Comment