Between the fear of getting fat from a Thanksgiving binge or the stress of hanging out with your nosy aunts at Christmas dinner, there’s no denying that the holiday season is the most stress-inducing time of the year. Thanks to a slew of social engagements from Turkey Day to New Year’s Eve, it also happens to be one of the busiest.
And while there’s nothing better than sipping a fall-inspired cocktail or ice-cold beer among friends and family, there’s one thing that always gives people anxiety: picking out the perfect party gift for your host. Do you just bring wine? Food? Something a little more creative? How do you even know how to make that decision?
To help you navigate, we got some holiday survival tips from Marcy Blum, an event planner for celebrities like LeBron James and Billy Joel, as well as a HomeGoods style expert. She’s a woman who knows what she’s talking about when it comes to making the perfect first impression at a party—whether it’s your always-awkward office holiday party or a relaxed Friendsgiving with your best buddies.
Here’s exactly what you should bring to every type of shindig you’ll get invited to this season. Now you don’t have to worry about showing up with a gift that falls flat—or even worse, showing up empty-handed.
But remember: More important than what you bring is how you treat your host. Always “be a gracious guest,” says Blum. Bring one of these foolproof presents and be an impeccable attendee, and you’ll surely be the toast of any holiday bash.