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Asked again and again:

I have been invited to a birthday party, and the invite says “No Gifts.”  I can’t just go empty handed!  What should I take?


A bottle of wine.

What kind of present do you get for a co-worker you don’t know very well?  I drew her name in the office gift exchange.

A bottle of wine.

My best friend from college is coming into town for a wedding, and he’s asked me if I want to go – the bride and groom are fine with this apparently.  What do you bring to a wedding of people you don’t know?

A bottle of wine.

What do you give a new neighbor when they’re moving in?  What about the neighbors moving out?

A bottle of wine.

What is an appropriate housewarming / birthday / thank you present?

A bottle of wine.

I have a friend who entertains all the time – what can I bring (other than a bottle of wine) to show my appreciation?

A bottle of Champagne.

What if they’re alcoholics?

Stinky candle.


How hard is this?  I mean really – I think the whole point of people putting “No Gifts” on their invitations (beyond being alllll kinds of tacky) is that they’re trying to restock their wine cellar.  Or cabinet.  Or what are those things?  Fridges.  Wine fridges.  And who can blame them?  I wonder sometimes if any of this stuff gets drunk.  I mean, to hear you people ask, it never occurs to you to bring, but you’re desperate for ideas.  You know what people just moving in – people you don’t know – people you’re barely acquainted with – Do you know what those people don’t want?

Your creativity.  They really, really don’t.

So just use this formula:

WHAT KIND:  Champagne is always appropriate.  Sparkling wine, too, but Champagne is nicer.  No one is going to turn their nose up to proseco, though.  If it’s hot out, bring a white.  If it’s cold, bring a red.  If it’s a bright, brisk spring day, warm in the sun, and you plan on sitting outside for a while, bring a nice, crisp, chilled rosé.  Just in case they decide to drink it right away.  Other whites don’t have to be chilled for presentation purposes.  (You don’t expect them to open it right away, do you?  Silly head.)

HOW MUCH: Shockingly simple.  Take your age, divide it by 2, and then +/- $5.00.  You’re 46, your neighbor is moving – you go to the store and get them a nice bottle of wine, $18.00 – 28.00.  (46/2 = 23, +/- 5 = 18-28…got it?)  That’s all.

Let’s try again – You’re 21, and going to a friend’s to watch a movie?  (21/2=10.5, +/- 5 = 5.5 – 15.5) … $5.50 – 15.50.  Easy as pie, right?

So I’ve got a party to go to tonight…I’m 39, don’t know the host (I met her while walking the dog – she’s part of the neighborhood association and they’re having a potluck type thing…) – so…19.5 +/- 5… $14.50 – 24.50, bottle of red (it’s going to be chilly out) – and I bet I’ll be invited back.

I hope to God she’s not one of those stealth drunks…


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