Top 5: Holiday Party Gifts (Leave the Wine)

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Holiday party invitations can come with a BYOB- or "everyone bring their own hors d'oeuvres"-type tag line. Other invites, however, leave party-goers wondering what exactly to bring. While wine tends to be a go-to item, selecting a bottle can be a daunting task.

Enter these five gift ideas, which do not involve testing foreign language, geography knowledge or even proof of solid taste buds:

1. Home-baked goods: While passing on the fruit cake is always a good idea, homemade holiday cookies can showcase your skills in kitchen (or in the box recipe aisle) and always look great on a plate with a bow.

2. Ornaments: Say "I'm classy and I care enough about you to contribute a permanent object to your home." Pick something simple and not too jazzy -- a silver angel or non-denominational star will do just the trick.  

3. Candies: Any guest who brings a box of truffles will be an instant hit with at least five people in the room. The assortment does not have to be vast but the box should look neat and put together to ensure that no one questions a re-gift.

4. Flowers: Do not be the person to wear a mistletoe headband, but do be the guest to bring a little green (and red) to the party. Colored carnations, fir, pine (and any other plant you can find in the neighbor's front yard) will be well received by the host who can never have too much decoration. 

5. Tunes: "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" can really ruin a holiday party rhythm. Eliminate awkward silence and grinch-like grimaces by offering an assortment of fun and classic holiday songs with a few covers by indie bands. Other guests may be both impressed and intimidated.

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