One of the most heartwarming experiences is to receive a gift when you move into a new home. It's a time for celebration and this tradition is found throughout the world's various cultures. Ireland is a country filled with fun folklore and beautiful traditions. There are also Irish blessings. These blessings, along with traditional gifts, offer a wide variety of choices for housewarming gifts.
Wishing Them a Wonderful Life
Perhaps you remember the housewarming scene from the film, It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. If so, you may recall they gave their friends a loaf of bread, salt and a bottle of wine with the following blessing: "Bread -- that this house may never know hunger, salt -- that life may always have flavor and wine -- that joy and prosperity may reign forever."
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Gift Bags With Assorted Goodies
One Irish housewarming gift includes a gift bag that has bread or other groceries, a bag of coal and some coins in a purse. Another variation is bread, a candle and salt with the card attached: "Bread so you may never go hungry, a candle to light your way and salt that you may always have spice in your life." You could also give a basket with lovely cheeses, crackers and canned meats. Instead of coal, perhaps give a beautiful blanket or quilt with the Irish chain pattern. As always, a bit of cash is always welcome.
Traditional Irish House Blessing
Another idea is to present your friends with a plaque with an Irish house blessing on it. Many folks find it very sad that most of the traditional Irish blessings are considered old-hat and outdated. It might even be difficult today to find people who use or even recall any of those blessings.
Be that as it may, one such traditional Irish blessing that would be appropriate for an accompanying housewarming gift would be: "May you always have work for your hands to do/May your pockets hold always a coin or two/May the sun shine bright on your windowpane/May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain/May the hand of a friend always be near you/And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you."
Traditional Kitchen Prayers
A variation to the plaque could be an embroidered wall hanging with the following Irish blessing: "Bless us with good food/The gift of gab, And hearty laughter/May the love and joy/We share be with us/Ever after. Amen." There are many Irish-themed websites that offers a variety of beautiful Irish blessings for plaques or hand-stitched gifts (see Resources).
Wishing Them Good Luck and Wellbeing
The importance of the Irish housewarming gift is to remember that you are wishing them a life filled with plenty to eat, warmth, love, light and laughter. The Irish give of their hearts as well in their housewarming gifts with a promise of continued friendship. Don't forget the shamrock for a wee bit of luck. Reflect these things in your gift and you will pass along centuries of Irish culture and tradition.