Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on gift giving, going back to school, and having a child in the military.

on Aug 8, 2011

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Courtney from Boston, MA says: I am visiting my boyfriend's family's house for the weekend. He is one of ten kids, ranging from 12 to 28 years old. My mother taught me to never show up empty-handed, but how do I bring something that appeals to everyone? Do I bring a separate hostess gift for his mother? What gifts have you most appreciated in the past? 

Caroline says: I agree with your mom, Courtney, but I think you're taking it to an unnecessary level. You are in no way obligated to bring gifts for the entire family, and I'd be willing to bet that no expects you to either. 

A bouquet of flowers, a favorite cake, or cookies is more than adequate to bring as a hostess gift. Anything more than that would probably make your boyfriend's family uncomfortable; keep it simple. I'm sure both your boyfriend and his family will appreciate the gesture.