The other day I was thinking about gifts that you take when you're invited over to someone's house. You know, like for a dinner party or something. Boyfriend is an alcohol-lover, so when asked by his friends/ family what to bring, he usually goes with the standard beer/ wine response. I, however, am not a big alcohol drinker. But that's not to say I don't have my own unhealthy obsessions. It's dessert, by the way.
So that got me thinking about "thank you" gifts for the non-drinker. And this is what I came up with.
TILTE'S Top 5 Non-Alcoholic Gifts (for Dinner Parties and the Like)
Flowers are great because they liven up the room. They're festive and colorful and they show appreciation to the owner of the house (who probably spent hours slaving away and has the disheveled, wild-eyed look to show for it). Note: Don't take flowers if your host is allergic. Nothing makes a dinner party go downhill faster than someone sneezing all over the food. (With the exception of your dog getting too excited and expressing its anal glands in front of your guests. That makes a party go downhill at record speed.)
I LOVE playing games at house parties. If your hosts are rich and fancy, they probably have some kind of video game console. My favorite group-approved video game is Rock Band. It's pretty much always a crowd pleaser. If your host does not have the essential tools for Rock Band (I.e. the instruments), just stop by Blockbuster and rent a game that only requires the standard controllers. Mario Party is a great one. And I'm pretty sure you only need the regular remotes. But don't quote me on that.
If you're not into video games, there are plenty of board game options. My favorites are Loaded Questions (which always turns into a foul-mouthed, X-rated trainwreck with my friends/ family), Cranium, Trivial Pursuit: Totally 80's, and Apples to Apples. These games are all available at Target for around $20-30.
3. Pet Toy
Now this suggestion might sound a little out there, but as a pet owner, I'd love it if you brought over a pet toy as a thank-you. Pets are part of the family! And if they're anything like mine, those family members are usually locked away in the dungeon when guests are over. It would be super thoughtful if the cat or dog received a new toy to keep it busy while being banished. It doesn't have to be one of a kind or from the Martha Stewart collection. PetSmart and Petco have $1 and $5 bins near the register. And if there's no pet store on the way to your host's house, just stop at Rite-Aid or nearest grocery store. Both of these places have pet aisles.
Make sure to find out what size and type of pet your host has. If you get a soft, puppy toy for a Great Dane, that thing will be gone in two second flat. And it's best to steer clear of edible treats unless you know for sure that the pet in question already eats that particular treat. Pet owners can be picky about the types of treats their "family members" eat and I'm sure you'd be less than thrilled to see your $15 bully stick go straight into the trash.
2. Appetizers/ Side Dish
Now we're getting to the good stuff. You don't have to be Julia Child or make a secret family recipe that involves imported truffles and caviar. It can be as easy as potato chips and onion dip, or 7-layer Mexican dip, or quiches from the freezer section, or a pot of fondue and vegetables, or olive tapenade and a baguette, or garlic bread, or pita and hummus. The list is endless! The point here is, people like food, especially at parties. The more of it, the better.
Another great option that's simple and useful, is flavored olive oil. We use garlic O.O. and lemon O.O. on a regular basis. They've become staples in our cooking.
This is my favorite of all time everything. I love desserts. Most people would probably fall over themselves in excitement if you showed up at their front door with a chocolate cake on hand. So, for the most part, that's usually a safe bet.
I, however, don't like chocolate. For the non-chocolate lover I'd suggest pie, fruit cobbler, an array of cupcakes or cookies, cheesecake, fruit tart, supplies for sundaes or root beer floats.
The only precaution on this category: find out if your host is on a diet or diabetic. The last thing you want to do is make your host rage out in carb-free jealousy. Or worse yet, kill them.
As a host, what would you think if you received one of the items listed above? What would YOU like to receive as a thank-you gift?