When you’re invited to a party, dinner or similar, make it a rule to bring something. If you’re invited as a guest to somebody’s house, bring something. If you attend somebody’s birthday, bring something. Be gracious and go beyond the call of duty in these situations, even if you are not expected to bring anything. This applies even if you know the hosts of the event very well… (in that case, you really know what they need or like). And, as often as possible, ask the host what you can bring or do to help prior to arriving. Asking this question alone suggests that you are appreciative of being invited and generally conscientious. Even if the thing you bring is very small, it will be well-appreciated
What to bring…
When you think about bringing something to somebody’s home, party, etc., it does not have to be expensive. It can be small trinket, flowers, dessert, inexpensive bottle of wine or other beverage. After all, it’s the thought that counts more than anything. Speaking of thoughts… regardless of what you bring, the more thought you apply, the better. Thought and creativity has more impact than price / value. Recipients will be that much more appreciative of your ‘gift’ when it has some relevance to the person (and shows you actually thought about the person, what he / she likes, etc.). When you’re in a rush, a generic item is fine (that has little or no connection with the person), but if you have time, try apply some creativity.
Here’s the unspoken theory about ‘bringing something’:
When you arrive at somebody’s home (as a guest), that person is going out of his /her way to do something nice. By bringing something with you, you are conveying your appreciation and reciprocating by going out of your way (even a little). Avoid showing up ‘empty-handed’ whenever possible – it’s the gracious and respectful thing to do, and it’s being Smarter Sooner.