Dear Babe,
My friends all make more money than me, and they have a lot of dinner parties. I know I should bring something, but wine seems impossible — they drink stuff that costs more than I spend on food all week. What’s an alternative that’s cool and non-chintzy?

Dear Wine-No,
I hear you. Wine is overdone anyway. What I do is find out how many people will be at the party and buy a chocolate for each. If there are 10 people I’ll go to See’s Candy or CocoaBella and buy one piece of chocolate candy for each person. My current favorite is Christopher Elbow’s dark chocolate caramel that is infused with either rosemary or lavender. They cost about $1.50 per piece so you can get out of there for a reasonable price, 10 people = 15 dollars. I get all of the same kind so there’s no fighting. Also, you can either get one extra piece for the surprise guest or forego yours should one show up.

Another idea: Jagermeister. Sure you laugh but I’ve been playing off the same bottle of Jagermeister for my friend’s last three Christmas parties. Here’s how you do it. You show up with the bottle and challenge everyone to a shot. Not many will join you, but if they do it will be a heck of a party. Otherwise the bottle will sit in their freezer for years and you can pull it out it every time, reminding everyone that you brought it, and joke about doing shots again, like it’s a totally new idea.

For the truly financially hurting: Novelty Snacks. The list is endless, and no one is going to turn down any of the following: a big pack of Twinkies, or HoHos, or multicolor sprinkled Chips Ahoy. Bugles anybody? They’ll laugh you off at first but just sit back watch those snacks disappear. My friends have gotten so used to me bringing them that they’re disappointed if I show up without any.


the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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