What Is a Traditional Housewarming Gift?

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A nice flower arrangement on a table.
A nice flower arrangement on a table. (Image: KOICHI SAITO/amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images)

When you receive an invitation to attend a housewarming party, it's proper etiquette to show up with a gift for the new homeowner. Although a creative, original gift can certainly be memorable, you may just want to stick with a housewarming gift that's more on the traditional side. When considering the traditional gift you wish to give, always take into account the homeowner's preferences and needs.

Symbolic Gifts

Everyday food items serve as a symbolic way to share your best wishes with the homeowner. One such approach is to provide a loaf of bread, which symbolically expresses the sentiment that the homeowner will never be hungry. A container of salt or sugar, meanwhile, symbolizes a life full of flavor or sweetness, respectively. A bottle of wine sends the message that the move into a new home should be a cause for celebration and prosperity.

Small Appliances

Provided you have a grasp of the homeowner's needs, an appliance is a gift that she can use every day. Stay away from large appliances that the home might already have. Instead, consider smaller appliances, such as a toaster oven, toaster, food processor, blender, juicer, immersion blender or microwave. Speak to the homeowner to determine what she needs before buying your gift, and always include a gift receipt so she can exchange the item, if needed.

Home-Cooked Food

If you're competent in the kitchen, show up to the housewarming party with something homemade, such as a pot of chili or stew, a freshly baked apple pie or a casserole. New homeowners are often so busy with unpacking that they fail to eat properly, and your home-cooked meal can be the housewarming gift that stands above the rest. Don't fret if you're not adept in the kitchen -- a gift card to a nearby restaurant gives the homeowner a chance to take a night away from the house and enjoy a meal.

Flowers or Plant

It's a little presumptive to buy a piece of art or another home decor item for the homeowner, as his style might be drastically different than yours. Instead, focus on small, simple gifts such as a bouquet or flowers or a plant. A potted money tree, for example, reminds the homeowner of your wishes for his prosperity in the new home. If you're not sure that the homeowner would appreciate flowers or a plant, a gift card to a home furnishings store allows him to buy something to suit his taste.

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