It's a good idea to have a gift in hand when you visit a friend's new home. Whether you're inclined toward traditional gifts or something unique and very personal, welcome your friends or neighbors to their new home with a gift that's practical, useful, and a memory-maker.
One nice thing about housewarming gifts is that they don't need to be wrapped. Pull something together, put it in a gift bag or basket, and ring the doorbell.
If you're making the first visit to a family member's new home, you might have had a hand in helping with the move. If so, you might know exactly what they'll need in the new home. If they've moved from a large home to a smaller one, organization supplies might come in handy. But if they're moving from a small home to a larger one, a set of towels for the new extra bath might be practical.
We've come up with some ideas for both traditional gifts and new, fresh ideas. Choose what will best represent you, your friend, and your relationship. Then show up and enjoy a wonderful visit!
A gift for a housewarming gift for newlyweds is simple—just check out their bridal registry and fill in any holes.
- Fresh plants: A new home, even before the furniture is arranged and the drapes are up, looks more welcoming with a live, flowering plant. Plants are better than fresh cut flowers, as they live longer and don't need as much maintenance.
- A wreath for the door: Choose a wreath for the season, for a holiday, or just in colors that will look pretty on the house. If you get one that will last through the years, include a wreath storage box, too.
- A gift of food: There's so much work involved in moving and setting up housekeeping, that anyone will welcome a casserole or full dinner to enjoy as a break from all the work. Something that will go into a microwave and onto paper plates (why not includes them, along with plastic silverware?) will make the meal a breeze.
- A bottle of bubbly and flutes: Walk in the door with glasses and a cold drink, sit down, and visit awhile. If you have the glasses engraved with the date, the flutes will be a memento of the first days in the new home. Everyone working to get things moved in will enjoy the thought and the drink.
- Decorative scented candles: Choose a color, choose a scent, and present a gift that will add comfort and a soothing atmosphere to an otherwise chaotic atmosphere. There's nothing like dimming the lights on a mess, lighting candles, and enjoying at least the illusion of order.
- A dramatic vase or serving bowl: One special piece can leave memories for every year to come. Choose a piece of crystal or silver for a formal home or interesting glass, porcelain, or pottery for a more casual setting.
- A gift basket: For a new home, it's great to receive things all together for a particular job. Here are some ideas for gift baskets for a new home.
A basket of tools: Who can find the right screwdriver or pliers when everything is packed away? Gather together the basics for the move-in.
- A garden basket: How many times have you looked around and wished you'd planted a small garden or apple tree or flowering bush when you moved into your home, rather than 5 years later? A basket with basic gardening tools, a pot, a plant, dirt, and fertilizer will be the start of a garden that will be enjoyed the whole time your friends live there.
- Art in progress: You can never have enough picture hooks and hanging wire when you move into a new home. A small basket is perfect for this gift. Include a small level and photo frame, take a picture as you arrive, and present the photo for the frame, via e-mail, when you get home.
- Paint supplies: It's great to have fresh supplies for a fresh paint job at a new home. Include a roll of painter's tape, a plastic or canvas drop cloth, a can of spackle, a spackle blade, roller and handle, and a good paintbrush. For fun, include a few paint chips, a decorating magazine, and a reminder of the URL for this site where they can find ideas.
- A pair of candlesticks: Perfect for a mantel, a dresser top, an entry table, or coffee table, choose glass, pewter, brass, or silver candlesticks for the new home.
- A picture frame: For a casual home, choose wood, pewter, bamboo, or glass. For a more formal setting look for crystal or silver. Everyone has room for one more picture.
- Personalized bath soap: Plan ahead by ordering personalized bath soaps with your friends' initials or monogram on them. Find a color that will coordinate with the new powder room and a fragrance that they'll like.
- A towel warmer: Your friends will love you when they slide out of the shower. Any towel feels like a friend when it's been heated.
- A cordless variable-speed reversing drill: This is a favorite gift for almost any occasion. It's something lots of people don't think of but can't live without when they know what magic it can perform.
- A set of IOU cards: If you remember when you moved into your new home, you'll remember how much work there was to do. Present the new homeowners with an IOU, a promise of help for the stuff that needs to get done. Prepare cards with ideas like "babysit the kids for 4 hours," "help paint a room," "install window blinds", "cook dinner", or "help plant the garden." You can think of all sorts of things that will need doing and what you can actually help to do. Tie the cards up with a pretty ribbon and promise to deliver the help upon demand.
- Gift card for dining out: While you're clearing and organizing a new home, it's nice to get away from the mess for a while. A gift card for a favorite neighborhood restaurant will offer a great escape.
- A welcome mat: A new home can always use a new mat at the door. Plan ahead and have one personalized with a monogram or last name. The house will quickly become a home when the welcome mat is out.
- A door knocker: An impressive door knocker will draw attention to the front door of the new home and welcome friends to come. Choose a style that coordinates with the style of the home, draws on a talent or interest of the new homeowner, or adds a touch of whimsy.
- A tabletop fountain: Offer a soothing sound and atmosphere to the new home with a fountain for the coffee table.
- A magazine subscription: Most new homes need freshening up. Select a good decorating magazine that your friends will enjoy throughout the year. Be sure to tuck your card into the most current issue of the publication.