Christmas in July 2019 - Day Twelve

Discussion in 'Christmas in July' started by PamelaG, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. PamelaG

    PamelaG Moderator Staff Member

    The last two days of this week have the theme Filling the Calendar - Food and Non-food. I can't honestly remember what our thinking was months ago when Jody and I talked back and forth over email about the month's themes.

    I suppose Filling the Calendar - the food version - can be all about special events. Do you plan an Open House or a Cookie Exchange or some other event revolving around food? I love to hold a Holiday Open House; it's an informal opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and visit when everywhere is decorated for the holidays. I'd love for it to be an annual event although that's been a bit sporadic in recent years.

    I have to vent a little here - I know, so un-holiday-like - but this particular scenario just bugs me no end. I am not a fan of what I call Go Fund Me holiday entertaining. The invitation reads something like, "Come to OUR house for OUR annual holiday open house/party/gathering/whatever...and bring a dish to share". Really, an invitation to drop by and you're asking me to bring a dish? I'm sorry, but when I hold a holiday party, there's no expectation for anyone to bring anything except themselves, and I definitely wouldn't issue an invitation with that request. I can completely understand a gathering that's specifically geared to everyone bringing something - a family gathering where everyone contributes to the menu, a gift exchange potluck lunch, a ladies brunch for a group of close friends, or something like that but there's just something about inviting people to your home for your family's holiday event and asking them to bring something. It just doesn't sit right with me. Maybe I'm way off base, what are your thoughts?

    What kind of special events do you plan at the holidays that revolve around food?
    AuntJamelle likes this.
  2. Myron's Mom

    Myron's Mom Well-Known Member

    Pam I could just hug you right now!!! I feel the same way. When I invite you to our home, you are our guest. All I want from you is to come and have a good time.
    I not a fan of hostess gifts either. I do not want my guest to feel obligated in any way. The fact you should bring me a gift because I asked you to dinner makes me uncomfortable. I want to enjoy your company not a gift.
    The other thing that bugs me is dinners that don’t start on time. If I’m told dinner at 5, I plan my eating for the day around that time. So if we don’t eat until 7 I’m grumpy and starving. Eating at the pre stated time is a priority with me. Sorry I’m venting too.
    That all being said, I usually have several small dinner/ lunch parties. We have talked about having one big dinner party with everybody but I’m not sure how I feel about. The cooking part would be fine. But I enjoy interacting with folks on a smaller scale I think.
    In the past I’ve had a few cousins out for cookie and strudel making day. I provide breakfast and lunch. We end up with tons of cookies and strudel. Fun time and we get a lot of baking out of the way.
    PamelaG and AuntJamelle like this.
  3. MrsSoup

    MrsSoup Well-Known Member

    Yes!!!!! To both of you! It irks me, especially in the military community when we get formal invitations to functions from higher ups and are expected to bring a dish. Like really, aren't you having it catered anyway? Or a hostess gift? We make way less money than you but we are expected to gift you and try to figure out what to get you that (1) you don't already have and (2) you may like even though I don't know you because we aren't in the same social circles. It's ridiculous. I'm not sure if it's different in the civilian world but that aspect of military life irks me. It hasn't been like that everywhere we've been, but here in Hawaii, they are big on expecting people to bring a dish to share instead of providing the food for their party. Luckily we haven't had to deal with the hostess gift issue that often. Can you imagine how many gifts that is for a party? Crazy and a little selfish if you ask me! But why is it expected and how does a hostess go around it? Do most people bring a hostess gift? Is it really expected these days? Would it be selfish to put on the invite, "Please no hostess gift"? These are the thoughts that roll around in my crazy brain. haha

    I agree MM, with the start time of events as well. If we're supposed to be having dinner i'm going to show up hungry. If you make me wait, i'm going to get hangry and then be grumpy.

    I have always wanted to plan a cookie exchange because I do food gifts for my friends at the holidays and I love holiday cookies and treats. I just think it would be so much fun to have cookies and treats, hot chocolate, Christmas music and Hallmark movies playing in the background.
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  4. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    We have one big party for Christmas every year - very informal - same circle of friends - maybe 20 people at the party all together?

    Frankly, I make enough food that no one "needs" to bring anything but that is just kind of the expectation at most parties around here. Everything brings something - or they ask if they can. Sometimes there will be an event where you know you don't need to bring a dish or someone will specifically state it. It varies.

    When I invite folks to our party the first question I always get back is "What can I bring?" :) Pretty much everyone on our invite list has at least one spouse that loves to cook or bake so they enjoy the opportunity - or they seem to!

    I absolutely do not expect hostess gifts - although I have gotten them from time to time - one of my closer girlfriends will bring one - and really at that point it is more of a little gift between friends than an official hostess gift I guess.

    I like to take a hostess gift to older relative of DH's that hosts Easter/Thanksgiving - flowers or something else small - just to show appreciation but it was never expected.

    I can't even imagine the hassle and pressure of those military parties Mrs Soup!!! What a pain!!!

    Any party or gathering I host we eat 1/2 hour after everyone arrives and there is always at least one appetizer for when people first show up. Only exception is big Christmas party - that is all appetizers all evening long and there are several ready for when everyone gets there. Then it keeps coming out in waves the rest of the night - as people arrive with things and as I make different things I've prepped ahead.
  5. luludou

    luludou Well-Known Member

    Me it's the hostess gifts… so against that, I Don't want any and vice-versa. I've invited you, I Don't want you to bring me anything… my sil's give me gift cards that are more than what the supper costs.

    Respecting supper time is nice too…. I receive on NY's Eve and we eat around 6:00, except for bil… who has to finish his beer first and is never ready for 7:30. I was upset everytime by this, we are waiting after you to clear the table and get on with the party. Nowadays I just Don't mind him. we all eat and when he's ready he's at the 2nd serving table and if anything is missing well too bad. He gets on my last nerve.

    with informal parties, people ask if they can bring Something, sometimes it's ok, other times I say no. BUT when you bring Something you Don't bring a hostess gift! We went to a party on dh's side of the family last year… you had to bring a dish, a hostess gift and 2 gifts for an exchange!!
  6. PamelaG

    PamelaG Moderator Staff Member

    MM - I hear you on the starting on time, and guests need to show up on time as well. Just pretend that dinner is going to include a soufflé, you need to be on time for that!

    Jess - Because of my volunteer work in Virginia, we were often on the guest list for events hosted by flag officers and if it was a formal event with a printed invitation (or printed and sent by email these days), it would always specifically say "No hostess gifts". For the holiday event, there was a note that if you wanted to make a donation to the local food bank, that would be appreciated. There are rules about what they can accept; we used to give something to our outgoing advisor who was an Admiral's spouse and I think there was a limit of $20 ($20 total, not $20 from each of us!).

    AJ - Yes, people ask all the time "what can I bring?" and I always say "Just yourself". If I'm hosting an event, I've planned the menu and got everything covered.

    I take a hostess gift the first time I visit someone's home and it's modest. A small box of chocolates or some note cards with the hostess' initial. Never flowers because really, she has enough to do greeting all the guests, no time to go searching for a vase! I have sent floral arrangements ahead of time in a few cases, to people I knew better.

    Great conversation, everyone, love hearing your thoughts and experiences.
    AuntJamelle likes this.
  7. Holiday_Mom

    Holiday_Mom Well-Known Member

    Hmmm.... Our holiday parties sound different than everyone else. It's just family, really. I have never received an invitation to a Christmas party that wasn't family. We usually have my side of family over on Christmas Eve beginning at 4 pm. We do appetizers until 6 pm. Dessert is at 7 pm and we all head out to church at 8 pm. I use to provide everything but with dietary restrictions and food allergies, I try to provide various options and ask people to bring additional food if what I will serve doesn't suit them.

    Christmas Day we spend at my brother's house. They serve appetizers for dinner. We bring bring cookies for dessert. We bring an Italian wine as the hostess gift since we know they enjoy it.

    The next day we go see my husband's family. That is a sit down ham dinner. We always ask if we can bring something but they are always ok. We bring sparkling wine for a hostess gift. That is their favorite.

    December 30th we have my husbands family over for ice skating followed by cookies and hot chocolate. Everyone skates from 1 to 3 pm and then whoever has time will stop over at our house afterwards. We have tons of cookies and candy and hot chocolate. For those who can't have hot chocolate, we offer tea and coffee.
    AuntJamelle likes this.
  8. Ahorsesoul

    Ahorsesoul Santa's Elves

    I’m the opposite on being asked to dinner or a party and to bring something. When I do a meal I let guest know what I’m having and if they need something on the table to make it special for them they can bring it. Like it’s not a Christmas meal without their granny’s corn pudding. With that said, now that I can’t have gluten I tell guests sorry but no outside food allowed. Anyone that knows me understands.

    I tell guests the times we are having our get together. From 1pm until 5pm and we will eat at 2. That way if someone is late we do not have to wait for them. At 2 we will be sitting down to eat. I like to give a stop time for those guests that do not know when to leave.

    I think hostess gifts are ok but only if you know they want the item. Like the special wine. If not given as a hostess gift it can be sent as a Thank you gift.
  9. sweetpumkinpye

    sweetpumkinpye Well-Known Member

    What an interesting conversation.
    We do not entertain often, once again it is mainly family. I don't ever ask the guests to bring something unless it is alcohol. None of us drink so we don't have alcohol in the house so if you want a beer or wine then bring your own.

    I don't do hostess gifts and never expect one in return. To me it is a pleasure to welcome you to our home and to enjoy each others company.
    With timings of the meal, we try to serve dinner within half an hour of the time we have stated. If dinner is going to be a little longer we will provide a plate of nibbles before hand. I don't want hangry guests at my home.
  10. PamelaG

    PamelaG Moderator Staff Member

    That's wonderful that your family has such special times together. We have always lived so far away from real family, our Navy family has taken its place. It's a very special occasion when we can get together with my sister and her family for the holidays. Hopefully, now that we are on the same coast, it will happen more often.

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