I am constantly asked how much money is correct to spend on a gift. Whether it be a shabbos gift, hostess gift or just plain Thank You! I have NEVER give anyone an amount when they ask and I train my sales girls to do the same. We usually respond “What do you feel comfortable with?” or “What would you want back for yourself?” I can honeslty say I have had families of 6 want to spend no more than $10 anda family of 4 has spent $600 (yes, we were as shell shocked as you are).
Over the year I have come to learn that there is no calculation, but the average Shabbos gift is $25-$40, depending on:
If it is your first time going. First time you always spend more.
If it is someone that you eat by all the time , then you spend less.
How friendly you are with them.
How many people you are bring along. A family of 2 doesnt require as much preparation as a family of 6.
My favorite gift is when the few families going chip in together. You usually end up with a nicer gift and can usually add something to it, like candy, servers or fruit. Remember that the people hosting you are excited to have you! The wife has been planning the menu all week, has gone through all of her cookbooks and picked out the most impressive dishes. She probably already has a shopping list in mind when she invites you over! She wants to “Patchka” and show off her talents, so DON’T show up with food without advance notice! The worst is for the hostess to bake 2 cakes, cookies, etc and then you show up with your delicious chocolate chip cookies and ruin her “Dessert Course”. If you are going to bring something ask/tell her when she invites you, dont surprise her with this information after the entire meal has been prepared!
I , like many of you, have been unable to live in my home due to Hurricane Sandy. My children and I have moved in with friends. Today while they were out I went food shopping and bought tons of food for them. I am amking them a delicious steak and potatoes dinner. I made a ton of mac and cheese for the kids for tomorrow. I bought some healthy fruit for everyone to snack on. Like the great friends they are, they wont take money from me. They have bought food, helped us get gas, given us beds, allowed my children to watch cartoons… The list goes on and on.
I posted on facebook that I was cooking dinner for them and as a result I have had a few people recently ask me about gifts for people. Hakras Hatov is a fundemental part of yiddishkeit and can be shown in many ways. Here are a few suggestions that I came up with and YES not everything is from my store!
I know to some of you this may sound like a basic idea but SPOIL your hosts! Get them something they would never treat themselves to as a way to say Thank you because no matter how good of a guest you are, you are still a GUEST!
(Since I am a guest I dont have my laptop with spell check, my program to edit and load pretty pictures or to make this blog more appealing. SORRY!)