The holidays are a time for gratitude, family, and, of course, a bountiful feast. If you’re lucky enough to be a guest at someone’s holiday dinner, it’s customary to show your appreciation by bringing a thoughtful contribution. Here’s a guide to help you decide what to bring to ensure you’re the perfect holiday guest.

1. A Thoughtful Hostess Gift: Express your gratitude from the moment you arrive by bringing a thoughtful hostess gift. A bottle of wine, a bouquet of seasonal flowers, or a box of gourmet chocolates are all excellent choices. These small gestures go a long way in showing your appreciation for the effort your host has put into creating a memorable holiday gathering.

2. Appetizers to Start: Ease the burden on your host by bringing a selection of appetizers. Consider a festive cheese and charcuterie board, a savory dip with crackers, or a tray of bite-sized hors d’oeuvres. These pre-dinner treats are perfect for keeping everyone satisfied while the final touches are being put on the main course.

3. Signature Side Dish: If your host has the main course covered, contribute to the feast by bringing a signature side dish. Classic options like garlic mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, or a flavorful stuffing are always welcome. Make sure to check in advance to avoid duplicate dishes and to accommodate any dietary preferences.

4. Homemade Dessert: There’s always room for dessert, and a homemade treat adds a personal touch to the meal. Bake a pumpkin pie, apple crisp, or a selection of seasonal-inspired cookies. Consider the preferences of the host and other guests when choosing your dessert to ensure it complements the overall menu.

5. Wine or Festive Beverages: Holidays are a celebration, and what better way to contribute than with a bottle of wine or festive non-alcoholic beverages? If you’re unsure about wine preferences, a sparkling cider or a seasonal punch is a delightful and inclusive option.

6. Practical Contributions: Consider the practical needs of the host and the event. Bringing a pack of quality dinner napkins, disposable plates, or even a roll of extra foil can be immensely helpful. Your host will appreciate the thoughtfulness, allowing them to focus on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

7. Takeaway Containers: Holiday leftovers are a cherished tradition, so come prepared with your own set of reusable or disposable containers. This shows your host that you not only enjoyed the meal but are also mindful of the effort that went into preparing it.

8. Gratitude in a Card: Attach a heartfelt thank-you card expressing your appreciation for the invitation. A handwritten note goes a long way in conveying your gratitude for the time and effort your host has invested in creating a wonderful holiday gathering.


Being the perfect holiday guest is about more than just showing up—it’s about contributing to the communal spirit of gratitude and celebration. By bringing a thoughtful and considerate contribution to the feast, you not only express your appreciation but also become an integral part of the cherished holiday memories created with friends and family.