What are some appropriate gifts (regalos apropiados) to bring a Spanish-speaking hostess on your first visit to her home for dinner? Inappropriate gifts (reglaos inapropiados)? Are there any gifts that might offend a Spanish-speaking host or friend that would not offend a host from the US? For the sake of this question, let's assume that the host/friend is from Mexico.
I think it's pretty much the same as in the U.S. Flowers, a dessert, maybe a bottle of wine would all be good. Keep it simple.
There are a couple of things that I feel compelled to clarify, just because it is a common occurrence . I really don't mean to put you on the spot, Echo.
Essentially Kevin is right, and his advice sums up everything that could be said.
I just wanted to make the following distinctions:
- Spanish-speaking people are not particularly different from any other people. They just happen to speak a language that is different from English.
- There are many different cultures contained in the different countries where Spanish is spoken.
So people from Spain may have somewhat different social customs from people in Guatemala, people in Mexico, in Argentina, or in Colombia. For example, social life in Spain and Argentina starts much later at night than it does in Venezuela or in Puerto Rico.
So my point is just that we are probably better off thinking in terms of different cultures, rather than just different languages. There is much more to a culture than just its language. As a Latin American from the Caribbean area, I personally feel much closer to the "national character" of people from Colombia, Dominican Republic, or Puerto Rico, than that of people from Chile or from Spain, for example.
Having gotten that rant out of the way, I reiterate: if you follow Kevin's sensible advice, you will most likely do ok just about everywhere you go. Perhaps you just need to be mindful of whether your hosts may have some religious objection to alcohol, before bringing wine - but that has nothing to do with the language they speak.
You can never go wrong with a big bag of cash. By the way, dinners at 8:00. Now, here are the directions to get to my house. First, take a left at.........
My wife puts serious thought into Hostess gifts, and I always grab a box of See's chocolates. They may not be any better than chocolate anywhere else, but they are good and they are from my area. They can be shared and enjoyed. And then they are gone! No dusting, no storing, no having to tell the kids not to touch because that came from Tia Maria, or aunt Jody...
I agree with bringing chocolate if you can find a good store. Otherwise, flowers.