But they said not to bring anything…

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
Every year my family goes to my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving. I am recently married, so this year I met my parents there with my new husband. My family is a stickler for manners, so instead of assuming that my husband and I knew that we were invited to Thanksgiving at her house, my grandmother called me to extend an invitation. I knew to ask her what we should bring, and she said, “Just yourselves dear.” When we got to her house, my mother took me aside and scolded me for not bringing anything. I told her that Grandma said to “just bring yourselves,” but she said I should have brought something anyway. What is the official protocol in this situation? Thank you.

Dear Anonymous,
Congratulations on your recent nuptials. That is very exciting! As for Thanksgiving, you did the right thing by asking your grandmother of what you should bring. If she said “just yourselves,” then you are not obligated to bring anything. In the future, you could bring flowers in a vase, a plant, or a small hostess gift. Your grandmother did not expect anything, but if it means keeping your mother happy, then next time, it would be a good idea. In any situation going forward, a small hostess gift is nice if the hostess does not need you to bring anything. Just know it is not an obligation if the hostess says, “just bring yourselves.”