Pass-Over The Hostess Gift?


Ella and her husband recently moved to Chicago, where they’re just getting settled.  Ella’s second cousin Janie, whom she hasn’t seen in several years, was kind enough to invite them to a Passover seder at her home this coming weekend.  When Ella asked Janie what she could bring, Janie adamantly replied.  “Not a thing!  We’ll take care of everything.  I love making dessert, the meal is covered, we’re a sober house, and little Matty is allergic to flowers.”

Given that the hostess has suggested that her household has many restrictions, Ella is wondering if it’s okay to go empty handed?  Her mother told her absolutely not, while some friends say that it may actually be disrespectful to bring a contribution after Janie asked her not to.

What would you do?  Bring a gift or not?  And if you were to bring some sort of thank you present, what would be an appropriate gesture if wine and flowers are off the list?  Tell us what you think!

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5 Responses to “Pass-Over The Hostess Gift?”

  1. Dezygnher says:

    I wanted to give my aunt a gift for her 75th birthday; she is always a great hostess and told all guests thank you but no thank you regarding gifts.

    I found a picture of her and my mother preparing for my parents wedding day, enlarged, framed, and wrapped it as a gift.

    I could see in her eyes as well as her families faces it brought back fond memories and was appreciated.

    I believe a gift to a charity our families might have an association with would also have been appreciated.

  2. Simone M says:

    This is a real tough one, as I too would feel very uncomfortable going empty handed. On the other hand, the hostess was VERY clear that she didn’t want anything. She’s obviously been on the receiving end of gifts that create allergies, or are not appropriate to have in the house during Passover week.

    What I would do is go to the Passover dinner empty handed and then observe their house and their habits, and judging by how they live and their likes/dislikes I would send a gift after the dinner. For example if they’re tea or coffee afiicionados, send an assortment of a gourmet variety. Or look at the style of their home and then send an appropriate serving platter, salad tongs, water pitcher, etc that they could use for a future dinner. If they use nice hand soaps in the bathroom, send some of those. Other objects could be: Linen napkins, pretty kitchen towels, a coffee table book if they show a hobby for something (ie, fashion photography, old movie photos, antique furniture, etc)

  3. Jan says:

    NEVER go empty handed!!! You could bring a book, soaps, a gift card, candy,or any trinket or personal something and it will be appreciated. Never go to someone’s house without something that shows your appreciation. Respect what she doesn’t want, but acknowledge her hospitality to invite you.

  4. louie says:

    Of course, never go empty handed. I’d suggest a very nicely wrapped box of Alka Seltzer, but obviously that wouldn’t go over to big unless you knew they had a great sense of humor. But all kidding aside, Maybe a book about Passover or a nice set of holiday candles, etc. would be a great offering.

  5. Liz says:

    I’d definitely bring something- especially because she doesn’t know them very well. Books, candles etc are all great ideas.

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