Whether because they could finally work from anywhere, realized they needed more space, or simply decided to move closer to family, many people uprooted themselves this past year.
So if you have new neighbors moving in, why not welcome them to your neighborhood with a gift that makes them feel like they’re part of your community?
Here, 10 relatively low-cost ideas that say, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”:
1. A dessert from your favorite bakery
When I moved to my new neighborhood six years ago, we were given a box of dulce de leche pastries from our local Uruguayan bakery. It would have taken us years to discover that this was the best bakery and that these were the best of their dozens of offerings — and we felt like locals knowing what to order the first time we went there ourselves. If you do the same, be sure to include the business’s card or menu, since it’s so easy to forget a name.
2. A local trail map
No matter where you live, there are likely hiking trails within a short drive (even New York City has more than a dozen trails within city limits!). Introduce the new neighbors to the nearby nature by giving them a trail map or guidebook. If it’s a map or book with multiple trails, be sure to mark a favorite short hike to give them an idea of where to start.
3. A subscription to the local paper
If your community is lucky enough to have a newspaper, this is a great way to help your new neighbors get to know their new home and support the local press at the same time. Aside from keeping up with local politics, hometown papers are often a great way to find contractors, plumbers, landscapers, dog walkers, and other services they might need.
4. A perennial that thrives in your garden
If a plant is growing in your yard, there’s an awfully good chance it will grow in the neighbors’ yard, too. A perennial is nice, because it’ll bloom for years to come, reminding them of their neighbors kind welcome when they first moved in. When you make the gift, mention why you like this plant for your locale, and offer any tips for getting it established.
5. Regional delicacies
Give them a taste of something they can only get in your town/county. My pal, design writer Sophie Donelson, says she was delighted when her neighbors surprised her with Tetley Tea and cherry blossom candy when she moved to Canada last year. It may be an old wives tale that local honey keeps the allergies at bay, but a jar of honey remains a simple symbol of wishes for a sweet life in a new home.
6. Take-out menus
Even the most avid home cook is likely to order dinner in those hectic first weeks. Spare them the experience of the mediocre Italian place that comes up first on Google by sharing menus from your favorite spots. If you’re feeling generous, include a gift certificate to one, too!
7. A membership to a local institution
Give the gift of a truly local experience by gifting them a membership to your local historical society, museum, or public garden. If there’s more than one, pick one that they’re less likely to discover on their own.
8. Flowers, and especially ones cut from your garden
In my book, flowers are always a welcome gift, but especially so when they’re homegrown. Those blossoms will also provide a spot of beauty in what will likely be a chaotic house. Be sure to put them in a vessel they don’t need to return, like a rinsed-out glass jar, so they have one less thing to keep track of.
9. Something to pop in the oven
If you love to cook, a one-pan meal, like a lasagna or a tray of enchiladas, will give your new neighbors a welcome break from takeaway or cooking. Eggs and nuts are among the most common food allergies, so avoid those if you can.
10. Something truly practical
Trust us, they’ll love these ideas even though they’re not traditional gifts. Pack up a plastic shower curtain, bottles of shampoo and conditioner, and a bar of soap for the ultimate first-night-in-a-new-home gift. Maria Topper, a Chicago stylist who often stages homes for sale, suggests another practical gift: a pack of toilet paper and rolls of paper towels.
If there is a home that you would like more information about, if you are considering selling a property, or if you have questions about the housing market in your neighborhood, please reach out. We’re here to help.