How to present traditional housewarming gifts

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Wood is a traditional housewarming gift, but there are plenty of other great options.

Photo by Matt Seymour, via Unsplash

Housewarming Traditions

Housewarming traditions can be quirky and unusual. Many traditions stem from a desire to ward off evil spirits or encourage a house of prosperity and joy. Some housewarming traditions include:

  • Giving bread in the hopes that no one will ever be hungry in the house
  • Tossing rice or coins in the house to promote prosperity
  • Ringing a bell to promote a positive aura in the house and drive away negativity
  • Giving wooden items, which stems from giving wood as fuel before central heating was invented

It is unclear which country started the tradition of giving new house gifts; however, some believe it started in France, while others give Russia credit for the custom. Both countries traditionally give gifts that symbolize wishes for a house of prosperity or a happy home.

In France, the last item put in a house was traditionally a crémaillère, or chimney hook. At a housewarming party, friends would gather around while the hook was installed for luck and a new beginning.

In Russia, friends would traditionally put up a horseshoe to symbolize good luck in a new home, and sometimes they would give a ‘Money Tree’ plant to wish for prosperity.

Why Do We Give Gifts When Someone Moves?

Today, moving to a new home or purchasing one is a momentous occasion. It is exciting for friends and family to share the joy of the milestone of moving. Many people give gifts to wish the homeowners good luck and prosperity in their new home.

Choosing a gift for the home is not hard, but thinking about who lives in the new house, their lifestyle, and the type of new home can help you find the perfect gift.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

If your friend loves wine, a wine rack is a perfect gift for future entertaining.

Photo by Matthieu Joannon, via Unsplash

Gifts for Single People

Single people are likely to take care of almost everything in their homes themselves. They may live in more compact spaces or center a lot of their free time around work or friends.

1. Robotic Vacuum

Last year my oldest son moved out of the house and immediately wanted a robotic vacuum as one of his gifts. Since he works full-time, he did not want to spend a lot of time cleaning but knew he needed to clean the floor every once in a while.

If it is a little more than you want to spend, consider going in on this gift with one or two other partygoers. I have the Eufy Vacuum (Robo 11S0), which is trim enough to get under beds and hard-to-reach places. It is easy to clean, quiet, and comes with replacement parts. Make sure to tell the recipient to remove wires and dirty clothes from the floor as they can get caught in the brushes. Nevertheless, this vacuum picks up quite a bit with the touch of a button. The recipient can direct it with a remote or let it roam freely.

2. Wine Rack

Many singles love to share a bottle of wine with friends. A wine rack can provide storage and add a decorative touch to their home. My younger son has the AROPY Vintage Wall Mounted Wine Rack. It conveniently holds wine and wine glasses and is the perfect gift for someone who does not have room for a bar. Best of all, it stores the wine and the glasses in one place for easy entertaining.

Gifts for Families With Children

When you give a housewarming gift to a family with children, choosing one that everyone can enjoy or use can help make the gift more meaningful. Here are some of my favorite new home gifts for families.

1. Wipeable Cork Place Mats

When I purchased my first home, I received wipeable placemats. When I had young children, these were the placemats I reached for repeatedly because they easily wiped off without running them through a washing machine. Their durability was so wonderful that I still use them and have purchased other similar placemats as well. They are affordable and can be purchased online or at Home Goods and other discount stores.

2. Spices

Spices are frequently associated with good luck. Since it can be expensive to take young children out to eat (and they are not always well-behaved), a selection of spices is a wonderful gift that will allow the recipient to experiment with flavor as they cook. Of course, the whole family will enjoy tasting well-seasoned food. Try a gift card to Penzey's, or choose a selection of spices you think the family would enjoy.

Whether greeting a new neighbor or thanking a real estate client, you probably like to be thoughtful.

But you don’t want to be boring and give the same thing as everyone else.

Want to jazz up your gift-giving?

Putting a unique twist on your housewarming gifts becomes a lot easier when you understand their symbolic meanings.

Shall I explain?

Why Do We Give Housewarming Gifts?

Around the world, people give housewarming gifts to wish new homeowners well in their new homes. Some believe the tradition began in France. While others believe Russia to be the origin of the housewarming tradition.

The word itself, housewarming, dates back to the 16th century. So it’s safe to say housewarmings have been taking place for a very long time.

Different cultures may have celebrated housewarmings in their own unique ways throughout history. But one thing is the same:

Housewarmings involve various rituals and blessings to help others settle into their new home.

What Are Traditional Housewarming Gifts?

In the past, housewarming gifts were quite functional, such as a bag of groceries and firewood.

Besides being highly useful, traditional housewarming gifts were also ceremonial and symbolic. Their intentions were to clear the abode of “bad vibes” and evil spirits.

Here are 15 housewarming gifts and their symbolic meaning.

  1. Bread. Meaning: “May this house never know hunger.”
  2. Wine. Meaning: “May you always have joy and never go thirsty.”
  3. Wood. Meaning: “May your home have stability, harmony, and peace.”
  4. Broom. Meaning: “May your house always be clean and free of evil spirits.”
  5. Coal. Meaning: “May you always be warm.”
  6. Honey. Meaning: “May you always enjoy the sweetness of life.”
  7. Bluebird. Meaning: “May you have happiness and good luck.”
  8. Knives. Meaning: “May always be protected from intruders.”
  9. Sugar. Meaning: “May your life be filled with sweetness.”
  10. Rice. Meaning: “May the love in your home multiply.”
  11. Olive Oil. Meaning: “May you be blessed with health and well-being.”
  12. Plants. Meaning: “May your home always be filled with life.”
  13. Salt & Herbs. Meaning: “May there always be flavor and spice in your life.”
  14. Candle. Meaning: “May you always have light through the darkest times.”
  15. Coin. Meaning: “May you dwell in good fortune.”

Tap the highlighted gifts above to see a modern twist.

What do you give a new homeowner?

While we have many creative housewarming gift options today, we thought it would be fun to take inspiration from historical housewarming gift traditions and reinterpret them for modern day.

Here are five traditional housewarming gifts (with a twist) and what they mean.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

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1. Traditional: Bread

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Meaning: “May this house never know hunger.”
Twist: Pancake Mix
Pancakes are one of the oldest forms of quick breads and who doesn’t love a weekend brunch?

2. Traditional: Wine

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Meaning: “May you always have joy and never go thirsty.”
Twist: Rescued Wine Candle
While it may not quench your thirst, the cabernet candle, packaged in a reclaimed wine bottle, evokes the exquisite flavors and aromas of dark chocolate and sweet cherries, with a rich finish of herbs.

Bonus tip: Candles are also a traditional housewarming gift. Meaning: “May you always have light through the darkest times.”

3. Traditional: Honey

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Meaning: “May you always enjoy the sweetness of life.”
Twist:Raw Honey
We’re keeping it classic on this one and elevating the traditional honey gift with raw honey. Packaged in a sustainable and handsome jar, raw honey is tastier because the natural bee pollen is kept in the jar instead of processed out.

4. Traditional: Olive Oil

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Meaning: “May you be blessed with health and well-being.”
Twist: Olive Oil & Laurel Leaf Soap
Lifting, unpacking, and recycling corrugated moving boxes can be rough on your hands. A moisturizing organic shea butter soap with organic hydrating oils and essential oils is the perfect way to nourish and revitalize dried-out skin.

5. Traditional: Salt

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Meaning: “May there always be flavor and spice in your life.”
Twist: Dead Sea Salts Bath Soak
A calming lavender bath soak is perfect for relaxation. A blend of pure essential oils and Dead Sea mineral salts is a wonderful way to de-stress after a big move.

Housewarming Gift Packaging

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How to present traditional housewarming gifts

I am always stumped when it comes to getting housewarming gifts. Then, it never fails, someone pulls up at the same time as me carrying a basket full of awesome ideas. So, from now on, I’ve decided to go with a more traditional gift—one that has some sort of symbolism

Plus, this way, I won’t have to reinvent the wheel. I mean, if it “ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, right? Plus if Donna Reed could do it in It’s a Wonderful Life, so can I. Right?

Here’s 10 go-to housewarming ideas that are simple, affordable, and meaningful:

  1. Bread. Attach a note that says: “May those in this house never go hungry”
  2. Candle. Attach a note that says: “May you always have light in your darkest hours.”
  3. Honey. Attach a note that says: “May you enjoy all of the sweetness life has to offer.”
  4. House Plant. Attach a note that says: “May your house be filled with life.”
  5. Salt or Herbs. Attach a note that says: “May you always have flavor/spice in life.”
  6. Wine. Attach a note that says: “May you always enjoy life, and never go thirsty.”
  7. Olive Oil. Attach a note that says: “May you always have health and well-being.”
  8. A considered a traditional housewarming gift, so I thought I would include it.> Attach a note that says: “May your house always be clean and free of evil spirits.”
  9. Wood.Attach a note that says: “May this home have stability, harmony, and peace.”
  10. A Gift Card. Ha. Just seeing if you were paying attention. I admit, this one is not traditional, in any way, but seriously, who doesn’t love getting a gift card?

How about you, what do you give as a housewarming gift?

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How to present traditional housewarming gifts

The Chinese exchange gifts more frequently than other cultures, partially because their gifts are so closely tied to old traditions. The gifts aren’t necessarily extravagant, but they are meaningful. Find a housewarming gift that is symbolic of the sentiment you wish to portray, but be sure to avoid “bad luck” gifts, such as clocks, books and umbrellas.


In Chinese tradition, bread is given to reinforce the sentiment that you hope your gift recipient will never go hungry. Any type of bread can be given, fancy or plain, but avoid the mass-produced, pre-sliced loaves as they can appear cheap. To celebrate your recipient’s Chinese heritage, give traditional Chinese breads, such as mantou (steamed bread) or youtiao (fried bread sticks). For an extra-special touch, make the bread yourself. This shows that you put thought and care into the selection of this gift.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

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Giving the gift of wine symbolizes your hope that the recipient’s life will be sweet. China is not well-known for its wine production, so it is perfectly fine to buy wine of another region. A California Cabernet or a German Riesling would be appropriate. Package the wine in a metallic wine bag, or decorative wine box. You can even add accessories to complete the gift, such as wine stoppers or a corkscrew. Just avoid anything black, as it is often considered a symbol of bad luck.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Salt is given as a housewarming gift so the recipient will always have spice in their life. If giving salt at a friend’s housewarming, buy gourmet. Sea salt is a less-processed product than ordinary table salt, and it can often be found in nice gift packaging. Sea salt is available in different types, so buy the one they will enjoy most. You can buy crystalline sea salt for seasoning salads and fresh-cooked salmon or flaked sea salt to add a complex flavor to vegetables and shellfish.


How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Traditionally, the Chinese give candles at a housewarming to portray their wish that the recipient will always have light in their life. Any type of candle is appropriate, but avoid scented candles that are particularly pungent. A soft, subtle aroma is fine, but you don’t want to overpower their new home with an overbearing scent. You’ll also want to choose neutral colors so the gift won’t clash with the decor in their new home.

Housewarming is a party that every new homeowner wants to host. It’s a nice way to invite your friends to your new home. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get to know your new neighbors.
But if you get invited to a housewarming party you should definitely not show up empty handed. You can always buy some desserts in a box or a wine but why not go the extra mile and craft something for your friends’ housewarming party. This way you will have something awesome to bring them and actually impress them by showing them that you took the time to make something for them.
But, what can you make that is suitable for a housewarming gift? If that is what struggles you, you’re on the right place. We will show you some of the best DIY housewarming gifts that you can easily assemble and bring to the party.

Welcome to a new collection of DIY ideas in which we’ll show you 15 Of The Best DIY Housewarming Gifts That You Can Make To Impress. The following ideas are perfect if you want to impress the hosts of the housewarming party but they are also nice to be used as common gifts. They are very easy to make but the step-by-step tutorials make it even easier. So all you need to do is choose the idea you want and follow the link below the image to the instructions page. Enjoy!

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

In medieval times, communities would help families settle into their new homes by helping to “warm” them up. They brought firewood as a gift, – it was also said to ward off evil spirits. While we no longer to bring firewood , it is interesting and meaningful to recall the original spirit of housewarming with a traditional gift.

In Jewish tradition as well, this custom holds strong. We try to welcome new members to our communities, to help them feel comfortable and accepted. We are all part of something much greater than us, and friendly, thoughtful gifts are a great way to connect us all together.

So while some of these gifts are rooted in Italian, German, or Russian roots, and others Jewish by nature, there are plenty of traditional, meaningful gifts you could consider before attending your next housewarming party!

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

7 Traditional Housewarming Gifts:

Bread: The staple element. Bread is universally recognized as the vital, symbolic sign of life and sustenance. Be it a roll, a loaf, a challah. bread represents the very nature of our survival!

Sugar/ Honey: Not simply a Rosh Hashana special, these ingredients accurately symbolize the hope and blessing for a sweet, meaningful life!

Houseplant: Bring some nature, growth and life into a new home with a lovely young houseplant as a gift.

Birkat Habayit: The traditional Birkat Habayit, or Blessing of the Home is a lovely, meaningful decoration that every Jewish home should contain. It wishes its owners a healthy, happy, successful life in their new home. who doesn’t want that??

Mezuza: Similar to a Birkat Habayit, mezuzot date way back in Jewish tradition. Throughout the years, Jewish homes around the world have been identifiable by their mezuzot, hanging in the doorpost. A good omen, and declaration of Jewish faith, mezuzot are a great, beautiful way to help establish a new Jewish home.

Food. No Jewish list would be complete without it 🙂 Whether it’s ruggelach, cake, or even some hot choulent! Us Jews know how to eat, and hopefully our loved ones know how to bake/cook!

Shabbat/Holiday items: Other traditional, Jewish essentials include a Kiddush cup, Shabbat candlesticks, Challah Covers. We help and encourage those dear to us to build a home and family filled with love and hospitality, tradition and faith, specifically by continuing these well-established traditions our People have known for so long.

But the list of housewarming gifts is of course endless, and sometimes it’s also nice to break from the tradition 🙂

At Barbara Shaw Gifts, we pride ourselves in beautiful, traditional and non, housewarming gifts for you and your loved ones! Between Mezuzot, Birkat Habayit signs, Netilat Yadayim towels, Door signs. you are sure to find the perfect gift to bestow upon any new home owner. We also have an exciting Housewarming Gift Box option coming soon! Come and see for yourself what we have to offer!

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Welcoming new neighbors, helping the family settle into a new home, or proudly establishing your kids in their first abode? It’s time for a housewarming gift! Nobody likes to give generic, boring gifts though… so what can you give that is meaningful, thoughtful, and creative?

Let’s look at the traditional housewarming gifts from around the world for some inspiration.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Bread and salt, honey, or sugar

Though nobody is quite sure exactly where this tradition began (some say Russia and some say across Europe), giving bread to the home’s new residents is a long-standing tradition in many countries. It symbolizes the abundance of food and well-being and, you might say, ensures that your new neighbors have something to eat while they settle in!

Salt is said to ensure a life full of flavor, while honey and sugar bring sweetness into the home. These days you might consider gifting some unique or flavored salt or source your honey locally to welcome the residents to the area with the flavor of the local bees.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts


To the Greeks, the pomegranate and its many seeds have been sacred since ancient times. Today they are gifted with well-wishes for abundance, wealth, and fertility for the recipient. If the new homeowner lives in the right climate, you could gift a pomegranate sapling to provide a lifetime of pomegranates. Many are better than just one, and it’s sure to be a hit at the housewarming party.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Acorn and rooster decorations

Your housewarming gift ideas may also include practical things like throw pillows, kitchenware, or other decorative items; why not choose things that are adorned with acorns and roosters? In Germany, the ancient Norsemen held the Oak tree in high regard and would place acorns along the windowsills to ward off evil spirits. The Germans also believed that having a rooster for each home would ward off trespassers, but it was long ago established that roosters do not good neighbors make. Decorations with roosters on them have become the norm instead and, luckily, they are much easier to wrap.

A broom

Just like you want to leave your old brooms behind when you move out, giving the gift of a new broom symbolizes sweeping away evil spirits and clearing the home for new beginnings, according to Italian traditions. As a more modern gift, you could choose an artistic, decorative broom that serves a more symbolic rather than functional purpose — unless your friends really do need a new broom. Just make sure it hasn’t been used before since that is believed to bring bad energy to the home!

If the new homeowners are a couple hoping for children, uncooked rice has been given for centuries to bless the couple with fertility and an abundance of love. This tradition is believed to have originated in Italy though it seems to have spread widely. Consider filling a decorative glass container or jar with colorful wild rice and tying a note with your well-wishes (or explaining the tradition!) around the lid.
Once the housewarming party is over, it’s time to relax. Share these seven ways to de-stress with your new neighbors, and they will thank you later.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

Got invited to a housewarming party? Think of pictures frames, painting, night lamps, or a smart coffee machine. They all seem to be perfect housewarming gifts for any new homeowner. But if you’re into inviting good fortune and ushering good aura into their dwellings, these traditional housewarming gift ideas come along with a blessing.

Many believe housewarming dates back to the medieval period. When a new family moves into the neighbourhood, the community makes an effort to give them a warm welcome. This practice includes bringing firewood as gifts to the new homeowners so they could warm up the house and spark the first of their many happy times. Call it superstition but back in those days, they believe it also warded off the bad spirits.

Most cultures practice different traditions around housewarming. But in general, it is altogether traditional to bring some sort of gift to celebrate the promise of a fresh start for the homeowners. As a family, friend, or colleague, it’s your privilege to help furnish a home where they can feel comfortable despite being a new, unfamiliar abode. It’s really one-of-a-kind, life-changing experience. So, whatever it is you choose to bring, give it a personal touch. Adding a simple, heart-warming note is a good way to convey your best wishes.

Or maybe, you can tell them familiar words of blessing as you hand your gift. This list of eight traditional housewarming gifts will help you find a suitable present for the next housewarming party. Read on to learn about the origin and symbolism of each gift. Plus, get some of the best gift ideas to fit your budget.

We are moving into Box Hill, Victoria and would love to meet our neighbours! Join us at our party and enjoy food, drinks, exclusive offers, plus the chance to take home a housewarming gift. Click here to get your invite.

1. Bread

In some traditions, it is common to bring bread to a housewarming. People believe this ensures the house will always be filled with enough food supply. A crusty loaf from your local bakery paired with a delicious spread will be a great addition to table. But if you opt to make it more special, you can bake something like a salty focaccia or sweet banana bread. You can also bring along a classy bread box to keep those baked goods fresh for longer.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

2. Candles

Lighting a candle on the first night at a new home is believed to cast out darkness and clear away bad spirits. Scented candles will be the perfect symbol for light and happiness. Most scented candles come with a stylish jar so it can be a great display to add in the living room. Just keep in mind to ask your recipient for a particular scent he or she likes so you can choose the best candle to burn.

3. Coins

Bringing coins to a housewarming party (or throwing it around the house, in some cultures) represents a wish of good fortune for the newly moved-in homeowner, and along with it, good luck too. If you plan on bringing some, you can collect regular coins from your daily change or buy special commemorative coins. Bring a lovely stoneware platter or bowl so these lucky coins can be beautifully displayed anywhere in the house.

4. Honey or Sugar

The promise of a sweet life is believed to follow when it comes to moving into a fresh new home. If you wish for your newly moved-in friends or family to combat all the unfamiliar and strangeness in their new home and only experience the joys of life, you could bring them a pot of pure honey or sweet pastries. Pair it with a pot and dipper jar or a dome cake stand so they can make a nice centerpiece to display in the kitchen.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

5. Plants

Plants come with a blessing of a prosperous life. Bringing a living plant in a wonderful flower pot would mean that you wish to encourage the new homeowners to take good care of their plants so their home would always be filled with life. Artificial plants may suffice too as shades of green can definitely help bring balance and serenity to any home.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

6. Salt or Herbs

Salt and herbs are meant to add flavour and spice to those you hold dear. Wish them a life that is never bland by bringing them a set of herb and spice jars, ready for pantry display.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

7. Wine

A staple in almost all occasions, wine is believed to indicate a wish for good cheer and that all those residing in that new home would never go thirsty. Bring the best bottle you can think of and carry with it a set of durable wine glasses. Surely, even after the housewarming party, your beloved friend or family will remember your good gesture with every sip of a good wine.

How to present traditional housewarming gifts

8. Wood

Wood represents a wish of stability, harmony, and peace for the home and the owners. Instead of bringing firewood to warm up their place, you can buy a versatile cutting board they could use in the kitchen for an everyday meal prep. Or bring a classy serving board, if they are the type who loves home entertaining more than anything else.

While gifts require lots of thinking and sometimes, money, when it comes to housewarming parties, there is hardly a proper etiquette to follow for giving presents. Unlike birthdays and weddings, you can spend much less. The thoughtfulness of your gesture will count more than its value.