(Bloomberg Businessweek) -- On those longer weekend stays at a friend’s house, “that’s when you want to spend more money,” says Carla McDonald, founder of the entertaining website the Solonnière. Think about how much you’d be paying if you were at a hotel. You don’t need to spend quite that much, she says, “but you’re not going to just bring the item you would to a normal cocktail party.” If you want to really surprise and impress your hosts, try one of these varsity moves. Order a case of wine to arrive before you do You’ll be the most favored visitor before you step through the door and shame anyone who dared show up with just a bottle. Whispering Angel rosé, $198.11 a case; 67wine.com
Take a photo of the group, but then shake it up A framed memory is always nice—but the expert play is to turn the image into a puzzle that can be enjoyed every summer. 1,000-piece photo puzzle, $45; puzzleyou.com
aProvide edibles. Yes, that kind Depending on where you live, it may be legal to bring a marijuana product. Three rules: Know your audience, be clear on what your friends can expect, and bring enough for everybody. Check your local distributors—and legal statutes.
Take care of breakfast The best hostess gift McDonald remembers receiving was a morning basket. “The whole night I just thought, This is so great,” she says. “I’m going to wake up and have this wonderful breakfast waiting for me.” The key is to choose items that don’t require work—bagels and lox, premade quiches, scones, croissants. Deluxe ham brunch banquet, $99.99; wolfermans.com
Don’t forget about Fido “Bring something for everyone in the home,” suggests McDonald. “You’re imposing on everybody, even the dog.” BarkBox six-month gift subscription, $149; barkbox.com
CB2 Potted aloe plant cb2.com $19.95
JOHN DERIAN Cake pedestal johnderian.com $220
Santa MAria Novella Potpourri buy.smnovella.com $50
TRUDON Napoleon bust candle trudon.com $175
AREAWARE Totem candles areaware.com $12 and up
WUSTHOF Personalized chef’s knife chefsarsenal.com $149.95, plus $5 per engraving
HERMES Poker card box hermes.com $140
SEL MAGIQUE Salt blends selmagique.com $50
bela Portuguese sardines in olive oil food52.com $29 for 12
CLAUS PORTO Mini deco soap set clausporto.com $75 for nine
GROVE 45 Extra virgin olive oil grove45.com $45
Georg Jensen HK pitcher georgjensen.com $550
capezzana Olive oil markethallfoods.com
And If You Really Want To Be Invited Back
Always err on the side of consumable gifts; you don’t want to add clutter to your host’s home. If you know her well, a personalized item you know she’ll use, such as a monogrammed chef’s knife, is a tasteful choice.
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