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Moving into a new home is a time that's full of possibilies. Friends, family, and neighbors often share in the excitement by taking a housewarming gift to the new homeowners.
But what should you give? The answer depends partly on how well you know the recipients, and if you have insight into their personal tastes and preferences, their needs and wants.
For your closest friends, housewarming gifts can be personal, humorous, and special, while for new neighbors or acquaintances you may want to make more generic gift choices.
Housewarming gifts are the one type of gift that needn't always be formally gift wrapped.
After all, plants, gift baskets, and other large items are difficult and unwieldy to wrap in gift paper. Instead, consider using tulle fabric or netting, clear cellophane, or even just a colorful bow to adorn your gift. Be sure to include a handwritten welcome card, and whenever possible, personally take the gift to the home and officially "warm" it with your good wishes.
Whatever your gift choice, make is something appropriate for you and for the recipients. There's nothing more discouraging than to receive a huge Victorian swan planter when your entire home is black and white contemporary. It's better receive something predictible rather than something inappropriate.
Here are our favorite -- and not so favorite -- gift ideas for housewarmings...
Give Something Classic
Simple beauty never goes out of style. A silver picture frame, a cut crystal bud vase, or a beautiful clock are objects that can fit into almost any home. Make it special by buying it in your friend's favorite store, or go all out and shop at Tiffany, Neiman Marcus, or other specialty store. For an extra touch, fill the frame with a personal photo, place a rose in the bud vase, or engrave the object with the move-in date.
Add to a Collection
Choose an object that your friends can add to a treasured collection -- things like an antique tin, a white ironstone bowl, or a silver napkin ring are possibilities for some collectors. Then add a little something extra to the gift... perhaps a mini box of truffles inside the tin, some wonderful tea in the ironstone bowl, or a small bouquet of flowers cinched with the napkin ring.
A gift basket for the new homeowners is the perfect gift. Here are some suggestions:
- Gardening Basket - Can include a variety of garden tools, gloves, seeds, pruners, and gardening magazines
- Italian Meal - Can include an assortment of pastas, sauces, collander, utensils, and even a bottle of red wine.
- Tool Box Basket - with tape measure, hammer, screwdriver, pliers, assorted nails, and some snacks
Make Something Special
Gif the gift of yourself by presenting something you've made. Perhaps a flavored vinegar, shaped topiary, painted welcome sign, fireplace starters, a flower arrangement or an Easy Fruit Arrangment.
Add to their wedding crystal, or choose unique toasting flutes especially for the occasion. Tie the stems with pretty bows, and include a bottle of bubbly to toast your friends in their new home.
Never give a plant or floral arrangement that looks like it has seen better days. This can be an additional problem in very hot or very cold weather too, since fresh greens can wilt quickly in temperature extremes. And never give a plant to someone who will have no interest in looking after it. Why not try a housewarming gift basket instead?
Never give something so personal as a pet, unless you know for a fact that this would be a welcome gift. Pets will demand a time and care commitment that many people are too busy to give.
Be careful with food gifts. Candy will be all wrong for someone watching calories, while fresh fruit will be wasted if the recipients have an out of town trip coming up. Only when you know the person well can appropriate food items be chosen that will be welcomed.
Don't Ignore Their Taste
Perhaps you love antiques but your friends love contemporary. Don't force your preferences on them with an unwelcome gift of something only you think they "should" like. Chances are the gift will be a dud. Better to go with something "ordinary" than to strike out completely.
Don't ever (repeat after me) -- don't ever give a gift that you've already received yourself, then rewrapped for someone else. It's tacky, and eventually someone will probably figure out what happened, then everyone will be embarassed.