Hosts go through a lot to arrange a formal / informal dinner party. This photograph taken by Jennifer König is a perfect example of the time it takes to set up something like this.
Whether you've been invited to a dinner party or you are visiting friends or family, the rule is to not come empty-handed, especially if it's someone you don't know well.
You can always bring one of the old standbys -- flowers, a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine -- but there are plenty of more interesting alternatives.
Coffee Table Books are one of the most popular hostess gifts, and the big hit with hostesses. A Hostess Diary, leather-bound, is a great idea, especially for someone who entertains a lot, because she / he can put down what she / he served, what everyone wore, the dishes you used and so on and so forth.
If you're staying with friends for the holidays, bring them an Elegant Digital Picture Frame (which is a real hot seller right now) and your friends will love your thoughtful gesture.
If you've baked a cake, present it with an elegant cake server. These simple ideas will make any host or hostess understand that you have appreciated the effort they have taken in putting together the dinner party !
And it never hurts to bring a little charm to dinner -- by putting together a Gift Basket with things that will please the host. Lets say your host loves Starbucks, make or give a Starbucks Gift Basket.