Ever wonder how housewarming parties became a thing? According to legend, the term “housewarming” originated in France as a “thank you dinner” to give back to everyone who helped build your house. The fireplaces would all be lit with firewood brought by guests. The warm house and the new friendships that were forged were said to remove any evil spirits from the building.
Over the years, bringing firewood morphed into giving gifts that would bring a warm feeling to the home and help the new owners “set up house.” Newly married couples usually moved directly from their parents’ homes, so there was a need for almost everything.
Today, many new homeowners are transitioning from fully furnished rental apartments and probably already have all the cereal bowls, wine decanters, and pots and pans they need. That makes buying a housewarming gift pretty challenging. And it’s a good reason why new homeowners end up with way too many scented candles (that they probably regift as housewarming gifts themselves).
13 housewarming gift ideas
We put our brains together and came up with more than a dozen gifts that you’ll love but that most friends and family probably wouldn’t think of. Read our list and start dropping a few hints.
1. Recipe/dish towel combo: Good recipes are a kitchen necessity. So are dish towels to clean kitchen messes. So why not create a mashup of the two? We think a family recipe towel is a great housewarming gift idea. We gave them out this past Christmas printed with instructions for our Nan’s famous Dolce di Franca dessert.
2. Cool brooms: Tradition calls for new homeowners to ditch their old broom and get a new one: it symbolizes a fresh start. But what if your new home is tight on storage, specifically a broom closet? Not a problem if you have a broom that’s so beautiful you want to display it. Check out these beauties.
3. Suck it up: If you’ve upgraded to a bigger space, sweeping with a broom may be too labor-intensive. Hands-free vacuuming has gotten much more sophisticated over the years: it can now be controlled with a smartphone app. If you have young kids or pets — both of which create messes 24/7 — robotic vacuums can be a lifesaver. They’re a little pricey, so maybe pitch it to several of your friends and they can all chip in together! Here are the best as reviewed by tech experts.
4. Fully loaded toolbox: In a time when you can click on Taskrabbit or AngiesList to quickly get a chore done, you’d think that giving someone a toolbox would be a waste. You couldn’t be more wrong. We predict a DIY home maintenance trend in 2021, so a fully-loaded toolbox is much more than a nice-to-have for new homeowners. This is especially true for former renters who relied on a super or a landlord to fix broken light switches, leaky faucets and squeaky doors. There are plenty to choose from in all shapes and sizes.
5. Personalized doormat: Doormats are meant to prevent dirt and mud from being tracked into the home. Sure they’re useful and practical housewarming gifts, but the choices found at big box home supply stores are b-o-r-i-n-g. If you want to freshen up your doorstep with style, you can’t go wrong with a monogrammed mat made from coconut husk.
6. New sheets: Nothing feels better than getting into bed in your new house when the sheets are clean, crisp and of a high thread-count. So maybe drop a hint that new sheets are needed. Haven’t settled on your new bedroom’s color scheme? You can’t go wrong with white sheets; they go with everything. Here are 11 of the best for 2021.
7. A Costco membership: Sure, it doesn’t have the pizzazz of some of the other ideas on this list, but Costco enthusiasts love hunting its aisles for buy-in-bulk bargains Plus, it’s the biggest importer of French wines, sells over 1 billion rolls of toilet paper a year and pays their workers an average of almost $21 per hour. What’s not to love?
8. Indoor compost: Want to make your houseplants the envy of your new neighbors? There’s no better way than making your green thumb even greener. A neat little compost bin allows you to perfect potting soil by speeding up the death/decay/rebirth process with kitchen scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, banana skins and more. We love this one: it’s smart, compact and handsome enough to be displayed on a kitchen counter!
9. Ugly fruits, veggies & more: If you’re a socially conscious American, you may have heard that 40% of the food in the US goes uneaten. Why? Imperfections. Crooked carrots, off-kilter eggs, even perfectly edible food that’s been pulled from the shelf due to packaging changes. To combat this waste, a new type of subscription box has emerged: ugly-groceries. Great food, just not pretty, delivered right to your home. There are several out there, but I can personally vouch for this one.
10. Step stool: Don’t think of a step stool as just a utility. They’re really practical, especially when you need to reach that sweater shelf at the top of the closet, the upper rows of a bookshelf, or the cabinets above the refrigerator where you hide the Oreos. You’d be amazed at how much there is to consider when picking out a step stool, like slip protection, foldability and whether or not kids will be using it. Luckily, the hard work has been done for you here.
11. Clean bottoms: With the toilet paper shortage earlier in the pandemic, enough people considered cleaning their derrières with warm water that there was a shortage of bidets, too! Getting one is a big decision, but if it’s one you’ve already made — and you have a friend you’re comfortable enough with to talk about bathroom stuff, we say, “go for it.” Here’s a review of bidet pros and cons.
12. Yard games: Moving from an apartment to a house with a real yard is a big deal. If that’s the situation you find yourself in, you’re going to need some outdoor entertainment options. Most of us immediately think of horseshoes or cornhole, but maybe it’s time to upgrade your gameplay. Check out these yard game ideas to pitch to friends you won’t mind inviting to your first backyard barbecue.
13. Pink flamingos: If you can pull off a pink lawn flamingo, who are we to stand in your way? You may not even have to ask someone to get you one. We’re sure one of your friends already has this housewarming gift in mind! It’s a cliché, of course, but it’s a classic, so display it proudly! This is one of our favorites.
While most new homeowners aren’t building their own houses from scratch and then heating them with firewood brought over by their neighbors, housewarmings are still a regular thing. The right gift can help you feel settled in.
Please think of this idea list as our housewarming gift to you. Now it’s up to you to drop the hints as to what you might like or need!