What can we learn from Micheal D Higgins gifts to the Royal Family

At the end of his recent historical visit to London to meet the queen, amongst the many things the Irish president Mr Higgins did was to present his generous host with a number of traditional Irish gifts for various members of her extended royal family. His choice of individual Irish gifts for each family member was significant in that they were chosen to represent the interests of each individual recipient whilst showcasing the best of Irish made gifts and produce as well as the talents of Ireland’s most famous writers, artists and craftspeople both alive and dead.

The example of Mr Higgins generosity to his hosts goes to show the time honoured tradition of bringing gifts to your hosts/hostesses on your visits. Of course you don’t have to use the excuse of visiting another country’s royal family to bring gifts, there may be all manner of occasions where one may be invited to a party or a house warming, meet the in-laws or even stay overnight on a visit to a family member or friends house. And such visits often bring up the topic of bringing personalized Irish gifts to mark the occasion and show appreciation.

The different forms of house visits that call for a gift include:

  • Visiting the In-Laws
  • Housewarming party
  • Dinner Party
  • Overnight Stay at a friend/family members house
  • Party

And when visiting a friends house for a house warming party, or visiting a family member for the first time and a number of other home visiting occasions it is good to be aware that it is often customary and good social etiquette to bring along a gift as a token of appreciation and goodwill. What gift item you bring is up to you and your individual reading of the situation but your choice of house warming gift can be often determined by the occasion. If it’s an evening meal/dinner party, a bouquet of flowers or a choice item of good quality food or drink is usually the gift of choice. For an official house warming occasion, where a friend or family member has invited you to their newly purchased house or new place, or to show appreciation to hosts who generously invited you to an overnight stay at their humble abode, the gift item may be more elaborate encapsulating a wider range of gift items to choose. For house-warming parties, traditional gifts  or even novelty Irish gifts usually go with the theme of homeware with an individual twist.

When looking for traditional house-warming gifts try thinking ahead and noting the future needs of your friends in their new home. That can be an imaginative and well thought out take on traditional Irish gifts. Amongst the many gift options to consider are personalised gift baskets made up of a collection of home related or personal themed items (garden themed, personal beauty themed, food themed (think gourmet ingredients and recipe books), a careful selection of key kitchen utensils etc). You could bring recipe books, stylish aprons and gourmet food for the cooking enthusiasts, consider any top of the home range and stylish gift items (kitchen utensils, personalised towels, Celtic themed or imaginative jewelled ornaments, quirky well designed house utensils, picture frames and stylish artwork etc.) for the new home. A personalised selection of top quality ingredients for the hosts favourite dish (if they are avid cooks). Or more traditional homeware essentials such as Waterford Crystal homeware or vases, smartly designed Irish belleek pottery, ornaments, Waterford Crystal glasses etc. all of which would be of use to the person in their new home.

With so much homeware and food related gift items available it can be hard to know what to pick. As always when it comes to visiting a person at their home be sure to consider bringing a gift that is both practical, thoughtful and representative of the individual needs and tastes of the host. A well chosen gift should show your appreciation for the invite and knowledge of the individual needs of the host and their family. So whether you be bringing good food and drink to a dinner party, leaving a heartfelt gift as a show of appreciation for a host who let you stay at their place, presenting a gift to a family member on a visit or presenting something practical and well thought out to help celebrate a friends new house, finding the right gift for the occasion is important. And as the case of the Irish presidents visit it can go a long way to establishing blossoming friendships.


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