The invitation has been extended and accepted. A lovely evening of food, friends and fun is expected. Do you just show up at the door empty handed? Not if you want to make a great impression and hopefully get invited back! A gift for your host or hostess is a lovely way to thank them for their hospitality and is always appreciated. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive; simply consider the nature of the occasion and local custom when making your choice.

In some parts of the country, a hostess gift is considered obligatory, while in other areas a gift is brought only on special occasions. If it’s the first time you’re visiting someone’s home, then it’s a very nice gesture to bring a small gift. Fresh flowers are that perfect gesture.

Flowers enhance, without taking away from, the efforts of the host/hostess and bring beauty to the occasion. A simple wrap of beautiful loose stems of seasonal flowers and foliage are always met with smiles and thanks. As an added gesture, offer to arrange them casually in a vase for the host so that they can stay focused on their own tasks of the evening. Also, when selecting the flowers, steer away from those with very strong fragrances as they can sometimes distract from the aromas of the food.

Not handy with the design aspect and really want to make an impression? Call your local florist and have a simple arrangement or vase of flowers delivered earlier in the day. This way, the hostess can even work the flowers into the table setting or place them in a special location prior to the guests’ arrival.

Either way, the simple gesture of giving flowers helps recapture some of the lost personal touches of etiquette and social graces that the advent of electronics, cell phones and other technology have overshadowed. Be the perfect guest, send flowers!