In medieval times, neighbors would help get a family settled in their new abode by “warming” the new home. This meant bringing firewood as a gift and building fires in all the available fireplaces. They also believed this practice would ward off evil spirits. While there is no longer a need to bring firewood, it can be charming to recall the original spirit of housewarming with a traditional gift.
13 Traditional Housewarming Gifts
Here are 13 traditional housewarming gift ideas. Click on the gifts such as candle, bread and salt in the image below and they will take you to a brief description of their origins and symbolism, as well as perfect gift suggestions for the new homeowners. We’ve also included wording to include in the card and suggestions for modern pairings that complement each gift.
- Candle – The lighting of a candle on the first night is supposed to symbolically cast out darkness. A personalized artisan candle is a wonderful take on this tradition, and sends the message, “May you always have light through the darkest times.”
- Bread – Along with salt, a gift of bread is possibly derived from Jewish origins. Both represent hospitality. In Russia, there is a popular story of a villager presenting dignitaries with bread and salt to symbolize good health and a long life. A sophisticated stainless steel bread box is the perfect accompaniment to a gift of bread, along with the blessing, “May this house never know hunger.”
- Salt or Herbs – Salt was at one time so valuable that it was used as currency, so a gift of salt symbolizes wealth along with hospitality. This Seasoned With Love glass cutting board invokes the sentiment, “May there always be flavor and spice in your life,” and pairs perfectly with a gift of salt or herbs along with bread.
- Pineapple – The pineapple as a symbol of hospitality has its origins in the Caribbean, where the fruit was present at the front of villages and huts. The concept was picked up by Europeans, colonial Americans, and sailors who would bring them home to place a sign of welcoming. If you want to go beyond a single pineapple, a signature fresh and dried fruit gift basket adds to the tropical appeal. The pineapple signifies the blessing, “May you enjoy good cheer, warmth, and celebration.”
- Sugar – A cooking staple, sugar evokes the sweetness of life. Instead of a bag of sugar, you could gift something delectable to eat or this Life Is Sweet cake dome. You can deliver it with a handwritten note saying, “So your life shall always have sweetness.”
- Wine – Along with necessities for the home, neighbors also brought gifts to be enjoyed at the gathering. A bottle of wine has long been a customary housewarming tradition that served as an ice-breaker. Pair a gift of wine with a hand-crafted wine decanter for a stunning party gift. A gift of wine comes with the blessing, “May you always have joy and never go thirsty.”
- Olive oil – Olive oil represents a wish for good health to the owner of the new home. It signifies the message, “May you be blessed with health and well-being.”
- Honey – Honey was once considered precious, and a gift of it represents wishes for a sweet life in a new home. You can pair the honey with a gift basket filled with sweet and flavorful fruit. It can be delivered with the message, “May you always enjoy the sweetness of life.”
- Houseplant – Caring for a houseplant indicates an ability to care for the loved ones in your life, and as such makes an excellent housewarming gift. Gifting a houseplant during a housewarming also indicated wishes for a prosperous life. Of course, a plant isn’t complete without an exquisite flower pot. A houseplant comes with the blessing, “May your home always have life.”
- Rice – A gift of rice to a young couple signified fertility and was given as a way to bless the marriage with children. Rice signifies the phrase, “May the love in your home multiply.” Since a bag of rice can be a little plain, jazz up the gift by pouring the rice into a stylish porcelain treat jar.
- Broom – According to custom, you should never take an old broom to a new home. This is one of the reasons a new broom is a traditional housewarming gift. Like lighting a fire, a broom is sometimes thought to sweep away evil. You could pair a new broom with a Bless This Home doormat, delivered with the message “May your home always be clean.”
- Wood – Wood signifies a wish of stability for the home and all who reside within. Serving boards make a great practical gift, and convey this wish when made from wood. This decorative family name serving board is a handsome gift that can represent both stability, harmony, and hospitality (since serving boards are characteristically associated with parties and guests). Along with your gift, you could include the blessing, “May your home have stability, harmony, and peace.”
- Coin – It is believed that a gift of coins at a housewarming will bring the new homeowner good fortune in the following year. Along with coins, you can bring a Tribal Money Tree to bring positive energy into their new home. You can attach a note that says, “May you receive luck and good fortune.”
Add A Sweet Detail To Your Gift
Housewarming traditions come from many cultures, but each tradition brings a positive sentiment for health, happiness and an auspicious start in a new home. With that in mind, any gift that comes with hopes for the happiness that a new beginnings can bring makes an excellent housewarming gift. Whether you go the traditional route or a deliver a unique kitchen gift, your thoughtfulness is sure to warm the house as well as building a fire.