The good: You’re staying at a friend’s house for the weekend. Fun chats and way more relaxing than a hotel.
The bad: Guest-gift anxiety. What do you bring?
It depends on how long you’re staying, says etiquette expert Anna Post, describing the gift continuum as a sliding scale.
“A one-night stay is different from a long weekend, and your thank-you gesture should reflect that,” she says. You don’t have to be extravagant. The most important criterion for a hostess gift, Post says, is that “it should be thoughtful and personal.”
Some inspiration here:
|If you’re staying…||You should…||Also consider…|
|One night||Bring a nice beverage, treat (like a special jar of preserves, soap), small plant, or elegant stationery||Making brunch—or at least your bed|
|Two nights||Give a small gift (dish towels, olive oil, cheese spreader, gourmet salt), plus wine or other goody||Presents for the kids (ideally that don’t require supervision or assembly) and taking care of one meal|
|A holiday weekend or longer||Give a nice gift (guest towels, dinner napkins, picture frame), plus a beverage/treat, or contribute to groceries (or cook a meal)||Taking hosts out for dinner, helping with cleaning/laundry before you leave|
Just remember that although gifts and goodies can be flexible, being considerate about your travel arrangement beforehand—and sending a thank-you note after—are essential, Post says.