laplumeDear L.A. Plume,

For a change, I have a solution rather than a problem, and thought I would share it with you. The question of what to take as a hostess gift when you are a house guest has been solved for me for the foreseeable future. My friends arrived for the weekend with a gift bag containing a box of pasta, a jar of specialty pasta sauce, a box of bread sticks, cheese, a bottle of wine, and cookies. They know I am often alone in my summer home and, with the addition of a salad I can make myself, this is perfect for me for a couple of dinners.

I loved the idea of a meal in a bag and this could easily be adapted to a breakfast or brunch, as well, by creating a gift with pancake mix, syrup, bacon or sausage, champagne and juice.



Dear Meredith,

It is a great idea, thank you for sharing it with us.



Dear LAP,

The daughter of a friend is getting married and my dilemma is what to give as a gift. She has been living with her fiance and they have a well-stocked house in terms of silverware, china, kitchen utensils and the other odds usually associated with wedding gifts. They are not registered and have said they would like money as a gift. I have been close to this family for years and would like to give them something more memorable than a check. Any suggestions?


Dear MM,

I agree that money as a wedding gift leaves something to be desired. In the years to come they aren’t likely to remember that half of one of their dining room chairs is a result of your generosity. I remember my uncle fondly when I use the little silver bowls he gave me as a gift. But wedding gifts are often returned anyway and I have no idea of who gave me all the crystal bowls that were taken back and exchanged for a pair of lamps. If you want to give them something sentimental, do so and hope it is something they will enjoy. You may wish to put a gift receipt in a little separate envelope just in case they do prefer to return or exchange it for something else.


Dear Ms. Plume,

I have the oddest question. A friend came to visit my beach home for a few days before she went on a cruise. When walking on the beach she found two plaster figurines that had washed up and brought them home. A neighbor came over and saw them and told me they are Santeria, which she says are Cuban voodoo dolls. Two neighbors have died unexpectedly since I have been in possession of these dolls and I want them out of my house but I cannot get in touch with my friend until she returns. Help!



Dear Nelle,

It’s always something with house guests, isn’t it? They leave red lipstick on your towels and pillowcases, stay too long, don’t like your dogs, or leave voodoo dolls in the house. Take them back to the beach, bury them in the sand and mark the spot. When she returns, tell her the story and let her dig them up if she wants them back.


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