Plus: a few words on proper gift-giving (and receiving) etiquette.
Publish date:
October 10, 2013
shoppables, gifts, manners, discounts

If you’ve been invited to a housewarming or fancy dinner party and don’t have any idea of what to bring the hostess, allow me to give you a totally brilliant suggestion:

Yes, that’s a fancy little ceramic pillbox made by pottery wiz Jonathan Adler (boyfriend of Barney's New York window wonderkid Simon Doonan) that gives a nod to one of the greatest stories ever told: Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 novel "Valley of the Dolls."

I have no problem letting it be known that the above photo from the 1967 film of the same name (starring my immortal beloved, Sharon Tate) is the sole reason I bought the 1960s tufted velvet scroll bed I currently own.

In case you weren’t aware, in Valley of the Dolls parlance, 'Dolls' are pills -- uppers like Dexedrine to lose weight and barbiturates like Nembutal for sleep.

Adler’s pottery collection doesn’t stop at a spot to stash your dolls -- his range of cookie jars and canisters emblazoned with phrases like ‘Ganja’, ‘Prozac’, ‘Uppers’, ‘Downers’ and ‘Quaaludes’ are equally hilarious. (I love the idea of keeping dog treats in a jar marked 'Prozac’!)

At just $28.00, Adler’s "Dolls" pillbox is an adorable, affordable way to thank your favorite hostess for having you over. That’s how I got mine, and I keep it on the windowsill by the kitchen sink so I have a spot to stash my rings while doing dishes.

Now through October 14th, 2013, Jonathan Adler is having a special “Friends & Family” event -- which means you can take 20% off your entire order by using the code "FF2013". This brings the price of the cheeky "Dolls" pillbox down to just $22.00!

The giving (and receiving) of gifts can be a minefield if one isn’t careful. I always refer to my trusty Emily Post’s Etiquette (currently written by her great-granddaughter-in-law, Peggy Post) to avoid any potential sticky situations. Buy a copy of themost recent editionin hardcover and refer to it often if you are looking to get ahead in life.

The current state of mania over gifts (at weddings in particular!) is a real abomination. The hows, whens and whys of gifting are a mystery to a large segment of the population. But Post’s thoughts on gifts truly stand the test of time -- so ignore them at your own peril!

According to Post, a hostess gift is always expected when you spend a weekend or longer at your host’s home. This can take the form of a bottle of wine, candy, a pair of movie tickets or any sort of "household ornament" (such as an adorable "Dolls" pillbox.) The giving and receiving a gift when a party is in full swing is far trickier -- it’s best to open a gift in front of the donor if possible, but without drawing the attention of other guests. If it is not possible to open hostess gifts at the moment they are given, the hostess is meant to give a hearty “Thank you” to the gift giver, and call or write immediately thereafter to express his or her gratitude.

Weddings are infinitely trickier, but Post is quite clear about one thing: unless you are merely an acquaintance of the bride or groom, you are obliged to at the very least send a card with heartfelt congratulations. The rule of thumb to remember is this: If you will be seeing the family of the bride or groom within the near future, you are obligated to send a gift. If the bride or groom is merely an acquaintance, you are off the hook.

Post does give a caveat: the size or elaborateness of a wedding has nothing to do with the amount you spend or give as a gift. An invitation is not an obligation, and guests are not meant to be made to feel that there is a fee to attend your wedding. And for the record: a beautiful card with a heartfelt, handwritten message of "Best wishes" is, in fact, a proper gift for any occasion.

A side note: the idea that you have one full year to give a gift is a total, absolute misconception! Gifts are to be sent in advance of the wedding if possible, and should include a note of explanation if there is a substantial delay in sending of said gift.

Oh -- and if you happen to live in NYC, be sure to check out the Jonathan Adler Warehouse Sale taking place Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19th from 10am-5pm at 513 Irving Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

See ya later, dolls.

I’m on Twitter: @IveyAlison