My mother is not the most custom-bound person, so this is not an upbringing thing. She's of the opinion that with close family and friends, you don't have to be so 客气 (scrupulously polite, to the point of standing on ceremony). Me --- maybe it's the fact that I'm not a good cook who can contribute anything to the dinner/party table. I feel a little shy if I show up to eat without proffering also at least some simple libations.
Last week, a friend and I were making a call on some older friends whom we don't know that well, and we fretted in Cold Storage about what to bring along. Eventually, we decided on fresh lilies and some chocolates. As it turns out, we lucked out on the latter and happened to select the very brand of chocolates that was the host's husband's favourite.
For this weekend's festivities, everyone is summarily getting wine, except for the party where I've volunteered to bring some food (from the delightful Garden Slug).
Speaking of parties, it's time for that immortal quote from Oz in season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Oz: We should figure out what kinda deal this is. I mean, is it a gathering, a shindig or a hootenanny?I don't think there are any hootenannies awaiting me this week, but there most certainly will be gatherings (though probably sans brie) and perhaps if I'm lucky even a shindig or two.
Cordelia: What's the difference?
Oz: Well, a gathering is brie, mellow song stylings; shindig, dip, less mellow song stylings, perhaps a large amount of malt beverage; and hootenanny, well, it's chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.--- "Dead Man's Party"