The answer to this newbie holiday party-goer's first question is a no-brainer for Karyn Kappa, owner of the Powell gift shop Rue de Lily.

The answer to this newbie holiday party-goer's first question is a no-brainer for Karyn Kappa, owner of the Powell gift shop Rue de Lily.

Me: "Should I bring a gift to every holiday party?"

Kappa: "Yes. You should always bring a gift."

Cheapskate me: "Really? Always?"

Kappa: "Yes, I think you should always bring a gift if someone's invited you to something. It doesn't have to be expensive. Even a package of cocktail napkins wrapped beautifully that are $2.50 is better than nothing."

I find the loophole.

Me: "What about work parties?"

Kappa: "Etiquette says you really don't need to give your employer a gift. It's up to the employer to give you a gift. But if you're going to a work party, I guess it's still a party. You don't want to go over the top, though, that might be too much."

Looks like my boss is getting napkins.

Kappa's answers to my next line of questioning - what a party attendee should give a host or hostess - get a little more nuanced.

A good price point for your average holiday host/hostess gift is between $10 and $25, she said. If you're spending a weekend somewhere, your gift should be at least $50. If it's a really big party, a gift around $15 will do, and for a dinner party you should spend around $20 to $25.

It's important to keep in mind the feel of the party, Kappa added.

For example, a bottle of nice champagne probably won't fit the theme of an ugly sweater party, and gifting a plush farting Santa (find it at prankplace.com) at a dinner party is probably inappropriate.

Kappa's shop, which is celebrating its five-year anniversary with discounts running today through Christmas Eve, has more than 6,000 gift items up for grabs. Expect to find, among other things, coffee and nut scoops, wine stoppers that say "Cheers," gourmet soaps and sets of 10 monogrammed cups priced at $13.

"We have so many great host gifts," she said.


Baking-bread-scented candle, $12

Find it at: wonderlandcolumbus.com, Tigertree, Candle Lab

Perfect for: Volunteer party host/hostess

The candle pays homage to the former Wonder Bread factory near I-670, which is being reconfigured into Wonderland. Proceeds from the candle sales will benefit the arts facility's development.


December Diamonds ornament, $17

Find it at: Torso

Perfect for: Ugly sweater party host/hostess

This purty lady is Janis Joplin as a tequila-guzzling fish wearing too much lipstick. The funny line's ornaments are currently half-off at Torso, which also sells something called pornaments. You can figure out what those are for yourself.


Peppermint soap, $6

Find it at: Bink Davies

Perfect for: Potluck party host/hostess

These dandy fake-candy soaps come in green and red and offer an opportunity for a cheesy one-liner about how you brought dessert.


Food & Wine magazine subscription, $20

Find it at: foodandwine.com

Perfect for: Dinner party host/hostess

Assuming the soiree-thrower made the fare and has an interest in cooking and entertaining, any food or wine magazine subscription should work.