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Ask The Salty Waitress: What Gift Should A Non-Jew Bring To A Hanukkah Party?

Hi Salty: Not sure if this is your realm of expertise or not, but I got invited to a Hanukkah party at the home of friends of friends who are pretty observantly Jewish. I don't know what food they're serving or whether all their friends keep kosher, and I don't want to bring the wrong type of gift. Any suggestions?

Thanks, I Tried Googling It

Dear Googler, I've been in your shoes (unless your shoes are ugly). And if I do say so myself, I brought a hostess gift that was the hit of the party. Watch and learn, people, watch and learn.

I'd normally bring a bottle of wine to a holiday party, so I brought a bottle of wine.

Okay, that's not the end of the story.

I stopped in to the fancy wine store in town—the one without any boxed wine—and asked if they had kosher wines that weren't Manischewitz. (No offense to Manischewitz, but anyone could pick that up a grocery store. Sure enough, the party already had three bottles of it.) The staff there showed me a bottle of Israeli wine that was certified kosher, but was also just a damn good cabernet sauvignon. This was a few years ago, so I'm blanking on the exact name of the wine, but the hosts really liked it.

The takeaway is that it wasn't over-the-top, trying-really-hard Jewish—like no need to bring a chocolate dreidel or whatever—but it was thoughtful. It took a little extra effort, but that means we got to enjoy a wine that tasted good and fit the kosher requirements other friends at the party might have had.

If you have a good wine store in your neck of the woods, give it a shot.

If not, something non-food-related might be the way to go: Flowers are classy, or a new board game for everyone to play (my suggestion is Codenames. That game always goes over like gangbusters). You don't have to overthink it. Just enjoy. And Happy Hanukkah.

Hey Takeout commenters: Any suggestions?

Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or just a general question about life we can help you with? Email us: salty@thetakeout.com