Be a Savvy Guest This Summer

nice dining set

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 nightBring a nice beverage, treat (like a special jar of preserves, soap), small plant, or elegant stationeryMaking brunch—or at least your bed
Two nightsGive a small gift (dish towels, olive oil, cheese spreader, gourmet salt), plus wine or other goodyPresents for the kids (ideally that don’t require supervision or assembly) and taking care of one meal
A holiday weekend or longerGive 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. 

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