WWYD – Hostess Gift

From one of the message-boards….

Neighbors of mine had a Simcha [celebratory occasion] this past Shabbat and asked if I could host their guests. It was no problem and I prepared the guest room.

Around Friday noon time their child came over with two packages – a beautifully wrapped gift (crystal tray) for me, and a bag for the guests with various items and itinerary.

I placed the guest bag in the guest room and unwrapped the gift for myself, discarded the wrapping paper, and put the tray into a closet.

About an hour before Shabbat, they phoned me to let me know that the guests that were supposed to stay with us had cancelled.

Now what do I do? Send back the tray (I’m embarrassed because I unwrapped it.  Also they may be embarrassed if I return their gift)? Send back the guest bag (I certainly don’t need it)? Or just leave things as they are?

Help me out you etiquette experts!


So, readers, what should be done here? Return the gift and the guest package? Keep it? What would you do?

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  1. shorty says:

    the hostess gift is a gift. She prepared everything and it was obviously appreciated. the guest bag, she should ask what they want to do with it. (given there is an itenerary and might be other related organization material they might need back)

  2. KosherAcademic says:

    I agree with shorty.

    When returning the basket, the hostess *could* offer to return the tray since she didn’t host–the offer should not embarrass anyone, and more than likely the family who gave it to her will refuse the return. But this way no one has to be embarrassed and everything is up front.

    I’m all for clarifying matters if one isn’t sure. It keeps all parties happier, IMO.

  3. Nora says:

    Definitely return the guest bag and ask about the tray.

  4. batya from NJ says:

    I agree with Nora & KA that you should offer to return the gift bag & inquire about what to do with the hostess gift. Hopefully, the ba’alas simcha will tell you to keep the gift (& possibly the gift bag too) but it pays to ask just to double check just to be sure.

  5. Estee Lavitt says:

    Don’t be embarrassed that you unwrapped the gift! it was intended for you and it just proves that you like it– which is what they would want. Definitely call and offer to return the guest bag and ask if they can would also like the platter back. Chances are she’ll tell you to keep it.

  6. Bob the Builder says:

    Of course you give the tray back.

    But if you don’t, feel free to give it to me.

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