Remember the scene in “It’s A Wonderful Life” when the Baileys give housewarming gifts of bread, salt, and wine to the Martini family?
Explaining their significance, Mary Bailey says, “Bread, that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor. And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever.”
As symbolism goes, these are thoughtful gifts — and few people would turn down a bottle of wine (or even a crusty loaf of artisan bread). But you may want to celebrate your friend’s new digs with something a bit more special.
Read on for some unique housewarming gift ideas!
Housewarming Gifts That Will Also Warm Their Hearts
Did you know that housewarming presents were once quite literal in nature? In the days before central heating, it was customary to give a new homeowner an armful of firewood. In addition to being a heat source, fire was also believed to ward off any evil spirits that might still inhabit the home.
1. A Welcome Mat
Welcome them to their new home with a welcome mat! A personalized or custom doormat is a clever, useful gift to give. Use the homeowner’s last name or monogram, or choose a welcome mat with a funny message.
2. A Lucky Bamboo Plant
Bamboo symbolizes good luck in Chinese lore, and “lucky bamboo” houseplants make a wonderful gift. Technically not bamboo, but a form of lily that resembles it, these plants are beautiful to look at and easy to care for.
3. Pineapple-Themed Items
The pineapple — today, a grocery store staple — was once an exotic fruit to Westerners. It also symbolized hospitality and welcome, which is why you’ll sometimes see pineapples incorporated into the decor at bed-and-breakfast establishments and resort hotels.
Legend has it that Christopher Columbus and other explorers, upon arriving in Caribbean nations, learned that a pineapple hung in an entranceway was a sign that the home was welcoming to travelers.
Today, pineapple-printed dish towels or an adorable pineapple lamp make perfect housewarming gifts.
4. Personalized Figurines
It’s hard to go wrong with a gift of art, especially if your friend prefers a specific aesthetic. But why not take your housewarming present to the next level with a personalized, handcrafted figurine? These gifts are sure to bring a smile to any homeowner.
5. High-end Glassware
This is an especially good gift if the recipient has just moved into her first post-college apartment. Show her that it’s time to graduate from red Solo cups by choosing a set of wine glasses, champagne flutes, or highball glasses.
6. Quality Cookware
Have a foodie friend who’s just itching to cook in his new kitchen? Give him a high-quality piece of cookware, like a Le Creuset dutch oven or skillet. It will last forever, and he’s bound to think of you and give thanks every time he uses it to whip up a delicious dinner.
Similarly, if the new homeowner has a particular penchant for, say, pizza, a pizza stone or peel is a great gift. The self-appointed grill master will love receiving a selection of rubs and sauces; an amateur baker would appreciate a gorgeous vintage cake stand or a shiny new mixer.
7. A Cocktail Shaker or Bar Set
Similarly, set up the craft cocktail aficionado with some decent barware. A cocktail shaker, beautiful decanters, a set of coasters, or some cheeky cocktail napkins will help get the party started, during the housewarming and well beyond.
Or try a subscription service, which will deposit a box of booze on your friend’s doorstep. There are subscriptions that cater to bourbon lovers, wine connoisseurs, craft beer aficionados, and many more. (What better way to ensure that you get invited back regularly?)
8. A Cozy Throw Blanket
Stay true to the traditional meaning of housewarming with a beautiful throw blanket. Go for a truly luxurious throw made of cashmere, down, or mohair, or opt for a more affordable — but still super-soft alternative.
Throw pillows are another fun gift, and one that’s easy and inexpensive to personalize. A photograph of the new homeowner’s pet, for example, can easily be turned into a pillow, and will definitely be a unique present!
9. A Meal Delivery Service
Besides being all the rage these days, a meal delivery service is the ideal present for any new homeowner (or apartment dweller). By the time they’re all moved in, they are probably sick of ordering in pizza and takeout! Meal kits make it easy for your friend or loved on to nourish themselves, even if the pantry isn’t quite unpacked yet.
10. The Useful Book
Making the transition from life in the dorms to full-fledged independence can be tricky. Help your pal learn how to adult successfully with “The Useful Book,” which covers all the basics — from cooking and cleaning to repairing and DIY projects.
A similar title is “Life Skills 101: A Practical Guide to Leaving Home and Living on Your Own.” And yes, we know that all of this information is available on the internet. But sometimes it’s nice to have it all compiled in one easy reference book — like when the power goes out, for example.
11. The Gift of Giving
If your housewarming gift recipient is socially conscious, why not forego tangible gifts altogether? Instead, make a donation in his name to Greater Good or Heifer International. These charity portals let you purchase livestock, fund medical treatment, or provide schooling for families in impoverished nations.
This is an ideal gift for the person who already “has it all.” Rather than giving them yet another tchotchke that will gather dust on their shelves, help those who are in need.
12. Cleaning Service
One of the best housewarming gifts you can give — especially for anyone with small children or a hectic lifestyle — is a year’s worth of housecleaning services or lawn care services. You can contract with a local company to vacuum, scrub, wipe, wash, and scour. Can you think of anyone who would turn down free housecleaning?
No, us neither.
We hope that our list of housewarming gifts has inspired you! What gift are you planning on giving? Have you ever received a unique, thoughtful housewarming present? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.