Pick the perfect housewarming gift

Pick the perfect housewarming gift
Neutral and useful items, like salad bowls or a new cutting board, make for great housewarming gifts. (Photo/Boxwood)

By Leah Donahue

These days it seems like everywhere we turn, people are moving. And it’s not a coincidence.

“After the initial lockdown in 2020, we saw a huge rise in people buying first time homes, moving to homes that provided more space with better layouts for working or relocating from more densely populated areas to be closer to family,” local realtor Joy Sutherland said.

That trend is happening across the country. National real estate platform Redfin predicts that “in 2021, the number of Americans moving across county lines will surpass 14.5 million … more than a 25% increase in out-of-town movers from 2018.”

It only makes sense that online ordering of housewarming gifts has also skyrocketed. But if you’ve never seen a friend’s new house or if you don’t want to ship a bottle of wine, it can sometimes prove difficult to pick out an appropriate gift.

It’s best to avoid items that are designed for very personal choices – unless you know the person extremely well. Bold, bright colors, wall art or signs, throw pillows or bedding can all be risky in terms of great gifting.

Here are three recommendations to help guide you when you want to send something different.

Look for neutral and useful items. No matter what color palette or design style the new homeowner prefers, every table or shelf can benefit from some basic, everyday decorative objects. Items such as bud vases, coasters, candlestick holders, bookends, small clocks and coffee table books are rarely considered clutter and can last a lifetime. Acrylic picture frames can work in practically any space. For the kitchen, a large fruit or salad bowl or new cutting board is always appreciated.

Add an unexpected wrapping. If you love a good-smelling candle but want to take it up a notch, consider tea towels as a great option for wrapping gifts. Kitchen tea towels can include a favorite quote, the new home zip code or a pretty design. Vessels such as vases, wine coolers, ice buckets or picnic baskets can also serve as a fun gift delivery item.

Splurge on cleaning products. No, I’m not talking about a year-long supply of Clorox wipes. Fancy hand and dish soap combos, reusable dish towels, diffusers, innovative hand sanitizers – these are all pandemic-friendly items that make for an inviting home in 2021. Also, in the acrylic realm, napkin trays plus disposable guest towels have become very popular and not always something that people will buy for themselves.

No matter what token of congratulations you send, it will be cherished because you took the time to celebrate a big move. So, here’s to a very warm remainder of the winter, lots of great giving for our loved ones and the opportunity to gush over new homes in-person sometime soon.

The writer is co-owner of Old Town home décor and design store Boxwood.