Crackers and cheese season is now upon us, and homes everywhere are clearing their driveways and opening their doors to welcome friends and families for gatherings, parties, and soirées.
Many of us already have weekends booked with parties to attend, and travel plans confirmed for visiting family and friends near and far. So how do we show thanks and appreciation for the hosts and hostesses who open their homes so warmly and spread their tables so festively?
We have a few Principles for Guesting this holiday season:
1. Arrive with style
Be on time, but don’t arrive early! When the host is dashing around the house to stuff shoes in closets, check whatever’s roasting, stir whatever’s simmering, and set the ideal party atmosphere, you don’t want to be the irksome guest who shows up early requiring attention during this valuable prep time. You also don’t want to be the one who shows up 20 minutes after everyone’s sat down to dinner. We recommend arriving no later than 10-15 minutes after the party start time, and if the host has stated when dinner will be served, make sure you’re there right on the dot. If you do happen to be the first to arrive, offer to help the host with any last minute tasks!
2. Give a Gift with Aloha
And please not another plate of cookies or bottle of 3 Buck Chuck! Honor the custom of thanking the host with a gift by offering something unique and thoughtful. Although this time of year there are plenty of holiday-themed tchotchkes available to grab in the checkout line, try to steer clear of overly holiday-themed gifts. Stick with something that’s both useful and beautiful, something on trend but also classic.
We like to offer party hosts one of our Aloha No. 3 gifts with Big Island Roaster’s coffee, Big Island Bees local honey, and Aloha Moana Design’s coasters to complement after-dinner dessert or to help the host recover the next morning. And we love our Aloha No. 10 gifts that include scents, sights, and tastes with Hawaiian grown Hobbs Tea, a hand-poured Lux + Alder candle, Maui Fruit Jewel candies, and a graceful Plant Sax planter. Feel free to include a nice note suggesting the host open the gift to share some of the treats at the party!
For an extended stay at a friend or family member’s home, you’ll want to up the caliber of your gift – consider one of our Aloha No. 1 gifts for the hand crafted Found Wood cutting board, local Tolentino Farms raw honey, and Hawaiian Islands Trading Co. sea salts. The cutting board is at once a decorative heirloom item, and also a useful kitchen tool, and the honey and salts are perfect additions to add Hawaiian flavors to holiday dishes and drinks. Or help the host spice up the party with our Aloha No. 8 gift that includes Maui Shrub Farm’s Pineapple and Sage Shrub – perfect refresher when added to sparkling water, and a great cocktail mixer with rum, vodka, or tequila.
3. And lastly, practice meaningful mingling.
With old friends and relatives, skip the small talk and dive into those rich conversations. Recall your last connection and pick it back up with something like, “Last time we talked, I remember you were headed to Alaska for a fishing trip. How was it?”
If you’re at a party where you don’t know many people, create an entrance to conversation with an observation about the music, the food, or the house. Ask an open-ended question like, “I love your —-! Where did you get it?” or “What are your holiday plans?”
You can always exit a conversation by checking out the food or refilling a drink. And when it’s time for you to exit, resist the temptation to ghost out – give your host one more Aloha and Mahalo for inviting you into the gathering.