What is the point of a housewarming gift? By its very name, it implies that the house is cold, impersonal, and generic, and that it needs to be given some spiritual “warming.” It has to be made from anybody’s house into that personal space that is more than just physical, which we call “home.” It has to be the place where the heart is, the place where you are always welcome, the place where you can return when you have nowhere else to go. And your housewarming gifts have to achieve all that. So, yeah, no pressure.
But, really, this is something you can easily achieve if you stick to the three principles:
- It has to form a bridge between the person and the space.
- It has to be useful.
- No white elephants.
The goal is to make the space feel like home, so your gift has to help someone experience home-like feelings about their new space. How we can do that will be clear in some of the gifts we suggest.
Useful gifts aren’t necessarily just tools and practical gifts. They can be decorative, but you have to have a sense of where a decorative item would go. Maybe you helped do some painting or cleanup before move-in and you know the perfect spot. If your housewarming gift doesn’t immediately have a place to go, it risks getting lost in the general confusion of moving and may never find its place.
In case you’re not familiar with the concept of a white elephant, it’s a gift that is expensive or difficult to maintain, but that can’t be given up. Except under very rare circumstances, any kind of pet constitutes a white elephant, and some plants can, too.
Personalized Housewarming Gifts for the Kitchen
The kitchen is one of the places where you know your friend will be spending a lot of time. Even if they’re not huge fans of cooking, it’s the place (or one of the places) where everyone congregates in a party. Monogrammed items visually turn a generic space into a personal space, which makes them a great housewarming gift.
Of course you know that you can get personalized coffee mugs and coasters, but did you know that you can get personalized casserole pans? A personalized cutting board is a really great option, because it will often be out on the counter, so it becomes a constant mark linking the person and the kitchen. It’s almost like getting the kitchen itself monogrammed. If counter space is limited, a monogrammed platter, along with mounting hardware, can work just as well.
A Gift Basket
Sometimes your friend already has everything they really “need” in terms of cookware and household items, but there are always a million little things they lack, run out of, or just wish they could enjoy, but can’t always afford. That’s where a gift basket comes in. Making your own gift basket can ensure that your friends find only items they really want in the basket and have a little memento to remember it by afterward. This is a very unique housewarming gift because you can make it based on what you know about the person. A gift tailored to the relationship between you and the person is not going to be duplicated by another guest!
Unique Wine Glasses
Wine is a traditional housewarming gift, so it’s likely that your friends will get a few bottles. But, depending on when the party is, their wine glasses may not be unpacked yet, and, besides, when there’s a party it’s pretty common for the usual supply of glasses to run out. Getting a unique style of glasses will help bridge the gap between your friend and their new home because it will be associated with the housewarming party and the toasts of the evening. A couple of unique possibilities are wood wine glasses or these ombre multicolor glasses. Of course, you could always paint some of your own.
The process of turning a house into a home doesn’t happen all at once. It occurs partly through the accumulation of happy times spent in the house. Unfortunately, many of us spend too much of our at home time in screens: TV, computer, or smartphone screens. One of the things that brings us out of our screens is games that we enjoy with our friends and family. Recently, there’s been a huge resurgence of board games, so there are many good options to choose from.
Houseplants are a leader in housewarming gifts. The proper selection of a houseplant depends on adherence to the three rules we mentioned above. First, if your friend doesn’t already have plants, they likely won’t make any connection with the plant you give them—they’re just not plant people. Second, if you get them a new plant, it has to have some purpose. It has to have a place to go or be useful in a way that their other plants aren’t (it could bear edible fruit or leaves, have a different color of bloom, or give height, for example). And it can’t be too hard to maintain (no white elephants!)
An enlarged photo is a great way to bridge the space between your friend and their new house. Basically, you are taking a favorite memory, and transplanting it into their new space. As a result, it’s almost like the place has always been home—your friend will feel they have a much longer history with this place than they actually do.
Pick the photo with care. You want to make sure it’s one that is as positive for your friend as it is for you. And you have to make sure that a hubby or partner won’t feel like you’re honing in on their home with a picture that prominently features you.
More Unique Housewarming Gifts?
This is just a jumping-off point for your housewarming gift ideas. There are hundreds of other possibilities to choose from—just remember to adhere to the three principles we listed and you’ll find a great gift that will turn that house into a home.