Bethlehem Press

Monday, January 21, 2019

Respectfully Yours: Welcome guests

Thursday, January 11, 2018 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

My husband and I stayed with his brother and wife over the holidays. I am never sure what to do about host-hostess gifts when invited for an overnight stay with friends or family. Should I bring a hostess gift to my sister-in-law?

Dear Reader,

A good hostess will never expect anything in return, but a good guest should bring something.

Bringing a gift is a nice gesture and will keep everyone’s spirits bright. While hotel etiquette is a simple endeavor (be sure to tip housekeeping and concierge), staying at someone’s home requires special consideration.

I am sure your sister-in-law has done a great deal of planning to ensure your comfort during your stay. Show your appreciation for the accommodations and bring a gift for your hosts. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. A bottle of wine is sufficient for an overnight stay. A longer stay may require something more. A considerate gesture would be to give something personal; perhaps a gift card to a local restaurant they frequent, a gift basket containing items your hosts enjoy, or flowers for their table.

A great conversation-starter is to bring along a local delicacy to share, like baked goods from your hometown. A thoughtful thank-you gift goes a long way. Another option is to treat your brother and sister-in-law to a dinner at a restaurant. Let them know in advance so they can plan accordingly. Following some simple rules of house guest etiquette will make your stay pleasant. Lend a hand when necessary. You should offer to help set the table, help with meal preparation, and do the dishes. Even if you are turned down, your sister-in-law will appreciate the gesture.

Do keep your guest room neat and clean. It’s not polite to make extra work for your hosts. Make the bed and keep your clothes in drawers. Leave your bedroom and bathroom in the same condition as when you arrived.

As soon as possible after you return home, be sure to express your gratitude and send a thank-you card. This is one of those situations in life when a thank-you card is non-negotiable.

Following these simple guidelines, you will always be regarded as a considerate and welcome guest. Most importantly, relax and enjoy the time with your family. You can only deepen a friendship by spending time together. Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of Jacquelyn Youst Etiquette Consulting, specializing in protocol training. She works with the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2018 Jacquelyn Youst