When you move into a new house, it's common to have a housewarming party or get together to celebrate the new place. When you host an event, it's natural to receive a gift—it’s a tradition that dates back many centuries. But, of course, the type of gift you receive will largely dependent on your guests. To make it easier for them to give a gift --- if they choose --- you can create a wish list, making it easy for people to shop. If you'd like to leave it up to their imaginations, you can certainly do that, too.
There are many ways to throw a housewarming party, and there's no wrong way to do it! You're the one who sets the tone for the event. Do you want a formal occasion where people gather at a specific time to enjoy a meal and cocktails? Or would you prefer a more casual open house-type gathering where people drop in during a pre-established timeframe?
Whether you’re the host or the guest, you can find the right gift for any housewarming occasion with a little preparation.
Housewarmings date back many centuries and have a storied history that's worth taking a closer look at. If you have one coming up soon, you'll be well prepared.
What Does a Traditional Housewarming Look Like?
Traditional housewarming parties are informal events, though you can make yours as fancy or casual as you like. They typically take place over a few hours, though the most common option is to have a drop-in party. Your guests are given a time frame and show up when they can—a casual affair.
If you're hosting a more formal event, such as a sit-down dinner or the like, make sure you specify this on your invitation. More casual affairs may have appetizers or even be potluck-style, where everyone brings a dish or a drink for others to enjoy.
The tone of the housewarming is completely up to you, and there's honestly no right or wrong way to host one. Typically, you'll throw the party within six months of moving in. For example, if you move into a home that needs renovations before you're ready to let anyone see the inside of it, you might decide to wait until the remodeling is finished.
Traditionally, a housewarming party takes place indoors, and you'll show your guests around the home, giving them a walkthrough. But, of course, this is merely a suggestion. If your home has a nice garden, patio, or other outdoor entertaining space, throwing the party outdoors is perfectly acceptable.
What Is a Housewarming All About?
A housewarming party has one purpose: to celebrate your new home. This type of event is usually held a few weeks or months after the move-in date to give you time to settle in and unpack.
The concept of a housewarming began back in the 17th and 18th centuries. Some attribute the beginning to France, though there are certainly different stories about the event's origination. However, in the olden days, the name—housewarming party—was taken literally. Guests would bring wood to stoke the fire of a person's new abode and fill it with warmth.
The idea behind a housewarming party is that inviting your friends and family brings friendship and warmth into the home, and could even rid the place of evil spirits—a cleansing of sorts.
Today, some still honor this tradition, but for others, it's a way for friends and family to gather and celebrate your new house, whether you’ve bought the home or have moved into an apartment or other rental.
When throwing a gathering of this type, include your neighbors if you wish to be friendly with them. It's a great way to get to know those who live next door to you and makes a great icebreaker if you're looking for a way to introduce yourself.
What Are the Traditional Housewarming Gifts?
Jumping back to the 17th and 18th centuries, the traditional housewarming gifts were everyday staples, but they had meaning. These symbolic items still have the same significance today and actually come with heartfelt wishes. While they may be considered a little outdated, there's no doubt the intentions are well-meaning. These traditional gifts include:
- Bread, which comes with the wish that the home's occupants will never go hungry.
- Wine, which signifies a wish for joy and prosperity.
- Salt, or any spices to impart flavor.
- Candles, to ensure the hosts live in light and happiness.
- Honey, gifting a wish of sweetness.
- Wood, to give warmth.
- Plants, the gift of life.
- Olive oil, for hopes of health and well-being.
Today, you should bring housewarming gifts that add to the overall convenience factor, but many gifts still have roots in these traditions. For example, wine is still gifted today, along with a few other related items such as a wine decanter, glasses, stoppers, and openers. They hold similar significance.
If you want to come up with a unique housewarming gift idea with a modern spin, consider items made with the materials, where applicable. For example, there are many items made with wood that you can give. Some fancy salt and pepper grinders, maybe, and you can hit two birds—or well wishes—with one stone. Wood candlestick holders are also lovely and come in many colors, shapes, and sizes.
As far as olive oil goes, there are a variety of gourmet brands that are excellent for cooking with and using as a dip for bread. Artisan bottles are great for kitchen decor. The same goes for honey. Many gourmet companies have a wide selection of the sweet stuff. If your friend or family member is a lover of all things honey, a few bottles to get them started will go over well.
There are many ways to place a unique spin on traditional gifts, too. Some may opt to bring a bread basket, for example, if the host doesn't already have one. To start, you can fill it up with different kinds of bread, but don't go overboard as it can spoil quickly, depending on the environment.
When it comes to houseplants, the simpler, the better. In other words, unless your host has a big green thumb and is a master at all things horticulture, stick to one that's easy to care for and doesn't require much maintenance.
Candles are always a good idea, whether you gift tapered candlesticks or tealights. Not only are they good for scenting your home, but they can also provide light when the power goes out. They have a multitude of uses, and with a wide range of scents, you're sure to find several suitable options.
How Do You Show Care and Goodwill With a Housewarming Gift?
When it comes to housewarming gifts, there are ways to show care and goodwill. The most important thing to do is keep your recipient in mind. What do they like? What type of personality do they have? These questions can help you pick out a gift that's not only exactly what the host will love, but you can also present it in a way that shows just how important they are to you.
Think About How to Present It
First, think about the way you present it. It's not necessary to go overboard with the wrapping, but some is nice. Consider when gifting a bottle of wine, you don't need to wrap it up or even put it in a wine bag. A colorful bow at the top with a nice card of well wishes goes a long way in expressing care.
Put Thought Into It
Second, put some thought into the gift. It can be tempting to just grab the first thing you see that might fit the recipient's tastes, but here a little effort goes a long way. If it's someone you know and you're close to, consider their favorite things. Think about colors, animals, or the passion that sets them apart. Then try to incorporate these items. The result is a thoughtful housewarming gift they are sure to treasure.
A great way to accomplish this is to commission an item from an artist or crafter who can take your ideas and turn them into a one-of-a-kind gift that not only shows you care, but that you took the time to really find or create something that fits the recipient.
What Are Some of the Best Housewarming Gift Ideas?
The best housewarming gift ideas are honestly those that come from the heart. However, sometimes you just don't know where to start. Some people opt to shop off a wish list or registry to ensure the host gets a gift they like. Others go by what they know the host may need or their interests.
You can always go the traditional route with the items mentioned above, but if you're looking to do things just a little differently, we've got some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Think wine glasses, appliances, dishes, and serving platters for this category. These can be novelty items or a classy addition to the home. For example, a cheese board or serving tray makes an excellent gift if someone regularly entertains. Tea towels and hand towels also work well.
A new space needs decorations; sometimes, buying decor in a theme the host likes is a great way to show that you care. Some good ideas in this category include welcome signs, mats with the family name, or a piece easily displayed in the entry or living room.
Food always makes a great gift. Many people opt for off-the-beaten-path items such as specialty jam or maple syrup. Food baskets filled with non-perishables are also ideal. They can provide a buffer or solution on those days when someone doesn't want to cook.
If the housewarming party is held shortly after moving in, the host may be too tired to cook. This is where a food gift service would come in handy. For example, a subscription meal service for a month or a care package that fills in a meal or two.
Nothing says you care more than a gift you make yourself. If you're known for various skills or turning random materials into showroom-quality items, consider putting together a homemade gift. This can be anything you think of, from a homemade jam or bread that you know the host will love or a wall hanging that's a testament to their life.
The thing here is you don't have to go extravagant. You can take one of the suggestions mentioned above and just add your own spin to it. For example, a wine glass. Use some vinyl if you have a cutter and personalize them for the family.
If you're not so crafty but still value the idea of giving your friends or family members a gift that you can't just find on a store shelf, there are many services that can personalize items for you. You can search on Amazon Handmade or Etsy for various ideas. Both also offer shopping guides to get you started. Many cities also have local shops that do custom printing, engraving, or embroidery.
How Can you Add to the Home of Someone Who Already Has Everything?
There's no one more difficult to shop for-for any occasion-than the person who already seemingly has everything. However, rest assured, it may be a challenge, but there's always something that person may need.
If you're not willing to ask them outright what they need, you can see if the new homeowners have started a registry. If this avenue proves fruitless, consider reaching out to one of their other friends or family members to see if they have any ideas. There's nothing wrong with networking when it comes to trying to do something nice.
As a last resort, you can buy them a gift card or certificate to one of their favorite shops so they can pick out something they've had their eye on. While gift cards were once considered taboo, that's not so much the case anymore. More on that in a few.
How Much Should You Spend on a Housewarming Gift?
This is a tricky question because there's no right answer. Most of the time, gifts aren't obligatory; it's just good housewarming etiquette. Because they're totally optional, whatever you do spend should be something you're comfortable with. It's important not to overspend or shop outside your budget because you want to impress someone. There are other ways to do that without breaking your wallet.
The other thing to take into consideration after you've examined your budget is who you're buying the gift for. You'd spend less on a co-worker or employee, for example, than you would if you were shopping for your best friend or a sibling. With the former, $20 to $40 is a good range, while you can go up to $100 for family and closer friends. However, it's never ideal to spend over $100 on a gift unless you're going in on a single larger-ticket item with multiple people. Then it can be considered a joint gift.
On the other side of the spectrum, you really don't have to spend anything at all if you can make something, except what you would spend on the supplies. Most people don't typically view this as the cost of the gift, as often it's priceless.
Sometimes, the host will ask that their guests not bring any gifts, and if this is the case, you're completely off the hook in this regard. Still, it would be nice to toss in a bottle of wine (if they drink) or something similar.
Is It Appropriate to Give Money or a Gift Card as a Housewarming Gift?
In the past, many people believed giving gift cards or money as a housewarming gift was bad. However, times have changed, and with them, the preconceived notion that money isn't a gift.
In modern times, giving cash or a gift card is perfectly acceptable. In some instances, people prefer them because they're convenient and allow the recipient to buy the things they might need or want themselves. They also make a perfect gift for new homeowners or residents who have everything, and you're stumped as to what to buy.
That being said, if you're giving a gift card, try to add a personal touch to make it more memorable. For example, if the receiver loves shopping at a specific store such as Williams Sonoma or Le Creuset, make that your focus for the gift card. Otherwise, cards for big box stores like Target and Walmart usually go over well. Finally, if you're stumped, or the gift is for someone you don't know quite well, a Visa or Mastercard gift card of any denomination is a good idea.
When giving money, follow the typical guidelines above for how much to spend. A gift card should reflect what you would pay if you picked out a gift. Another plus in choosing a gift certificate is that you can often send them electronically as well, which means you wouldn't have to go shopping to pick up one.
However, if you're attending a housewarming party in person, it's a good idea to have a physical gift card or certificate—or cash—as well as a greeting card to place it in.
How Do You Add a Personal Touch to a Housewarming Gift?
Personalization shows you’ve put some thought into your gift. Personalizing a gift is a great way to get away from mainstream items and add character to your host's new home.
You can add a personal touch for unique housewarming gifts in multiple ways. One way is to add names or fun messages to everyday items in vinyl lettering. For example, adding vinyl initials or icons to wine glasses makes them unique and individual. You can do this with nearly any smooth surface. Sugar bowls, flour containers, mugs, and tiles that serve as coasters are all great ways to impart some personalization.
If you want to personalize home decor, you can opt for a company online, or if you have the equipment to do it yourself, you can embroider or sublimate on blankets, throw pillows, wall hangings, and more.
Some ideas for useful personalized housewarming gifts include:
- Cutting boards - These staples are used every day in the kitchen. With laser engraving and sublimation options, you can create a wood or glass cutting board with either their name or one of their favorite quotes on it.
- Ornaments - These are a great way to decorate a tree or even hang up around the home. Plus, you can make them yourself if you have even just the tiniest bit of crafting skills. They work well with vinyl, or you can order a custom ornament online. Consider one with a house on the background with the recipient's name and the year they moved in.
- Picture frames - Many people display photos around their homes, whether on a mantle, cabinet, or hung up on the wall. A personalized frame is a practical gift idea that will remind them of you every time they walk by. It can display a heartwarming or funny quote or have their family name engraved.
- Doormats - Here's where you can really let the creativity fly. Sure, you can do the family's surname, but you can also take the time to reflect your host's personality. Do they have a wicked sense of humor or prefer sarcasm? The sky's the limit.
Adding personalization is a surefire way for your recipient to remember you every time they look at the gift. Plus, who knows-maybe you'll inspire them in their future gift-giving endeavors.
How Can Spoonful of Comfort Help Me?
Spoonful of Comfort can help you create the best housewarming gifts. We have a wide variety of foods and care packages designed to serve households of all sizes. They come with various items, but the most popular choices are those that contain soups and other edible goodies.
The soup kits come with enough to serve between four and six people, your choice of rolls or bread bowls, cookies, and a ladle to serve it up with. Plus, you can choose from various add-on options to further personalize the gift. In addition, several flavors and gluten-free and vegan options are available for those with dietary restrictions.
The best thing about these care packages is that you can send them anytime. You don't have to wait until the recipient has a party. You can schedule the soup delivery to arrive shortly after they move in to help with dinner or lunch ideas while they're too busy to think about what to make.
When you send the packages, you can include a personalized note and thinking of your messages, so the recipient knows who sent the items and whom to thank. This is a great option if you live across the country and need a special delivery item that's sure to please. In addition, you can speak with customer service to get insight into the available products.