5 inexpensive items to bring to holiday parties

During the holiday season, it’s common to receive numerous invitations to holiday parties with family, friends and co-workers. These gatherings often come with the expectation to bring something, either an addition to the meal or a small gift for the host, but that simple step can end up being expensive.

Here are five inexpensive gifts that are wonderful to bring along with you to any holiday party. They’ll either be welcomed and immediately served or else appreciated by the host.

Casserole with broccoli, potatoes, eggs and cheese.
A simple side dish This offering is a great choice for most holiday gatherings that feature a meal. A side dish is one that matches the meal well while respecting common dietary concerns and remaining simple and inexpensive to prepare. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/iko636)
gorgeous French dessert Creme brulee served with berries and a silver spoon
An easy dessert Bringing a dessert follows the same logic as bringing the simple side dish, except it’s perhaps even more flexible. Just whip up something that can easily be snacked on in small portions for a wide crowd, preferably something simple to eat, so it doesn’t create more dishes and hassle for the host. You don’t even have to match the main course here. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/vm2002)
Christmas backround. Fir branch with decorations.
A handmade ornament This host gift is a great simple holiday gift if you happen to be a little artsy. There are infinite varieties of holiday ornament designs and ideas out there, from handmade gingerbread men ornaments to simple paper crafting ornaments. The supplies for a homemade ornament are usually inexpensive. But making the ornament typically requires time and a crafty touch. If you’re not sure what to make, go for simple and elegant, such as an ornament with a few tiny snowflakes, a gift box or a gingerbread man. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Sinenkiy)
Jack Russell Terrier holdings in mouth big bone
A small pet treat This is always a welcome gift for someone who is a pet lover. Again, this can be handled with ease by simply inquiring about the host’s pet if you don’t know the pet well. Find out what kind of things the pet likes and make a stop at a pet store on your way to the party. In this case, you’re better off getting one quality treat than a number of lower quality items (Getty Images/iStockphoto/alexei_tm)
WTOP wine guy Scott Greenberg says plenty of wines can pair with Super Bowl food. (Getty Images)
A budget wine that pairs with the meal Bringing an affordable wine is a final option. Don’t simply go to Trader Joe’s and pick up a random bottle of $2 wine. A bit of homework will make this purchase inexpensive while still being thoughtful. Spend some time online researching the meal you’re going to have and find out what a good wine pairing is, then go to a liquor store and ask for a great budget wine of the type you researched. You don’t need to have an amazing bottle of wine, just point out that you picked this one because it goes well with the main course. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/DmitriMaruta)
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Casserole with broccoli, potatoes, eggs and cheese.
gorgeous French dessert Creme brulee served with berries and a silver spoon
Christmas backround. Fir branch with decorations.
Jack Russell Terrier holdings in mouth big bone
WTOP wine guy Scott Greenberg says plenty of wines can pair with Super Bowl food. (Getty Images)

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