If you’ve ever been the new kid in town, then you probably know how much it can mean to someone to feel warmly welcomed. If you are welcoming new neighbors to your own community, start off your neighborly relationship right by using some of these ideas to make them feel at home.
Choose Useful Housewarming Gifts
Come up with some housewarming gift ideas that will show your new neighbors that their new community is a great place full of friendly and helpful people as they are likely apprehensive about living in a new area. You should also consider gifts that will help make their transition a little easier such as:
- Guide to town: Especially if the neighbor is new to the area, it will be very nice for them to get guidance and advice on things to do in the area. Act like you’re directing a local tour and fill up a guidebook with local sites, attractions, restaurants, and must-do activities, especially things that are off the beaten path that only a local would know about. Include a map with the locations marked. Distinguish categories in your guidebook like: family night out, date night, Saturday activities, getting around, etc.
- Address books: Buy a nice address book or binder and fill it up with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of every person in the neighborhood. Include full family lists, pet lists, and even photographs of the neighbors. Leave blank spaces or pages so they can add in new addresses as new neighbors move in. Make a separate one for any children in the family with a page for each kid in the neighborhood and include a calendar to schedule play dates.
- A donation in their name: If there is a local cause you care about (and it is a non-controversial one!), make your housewarming gift a donation in their name. This should be something like supporting the fire department or benefitting a local park. Provide a certificate to verify the donation as your housewarming gift. This is a good way to give a gift without adding to the clutter of unpacking things from moving boxes, and it will help raise awareness about something going on in your area.
Chances are your new neighbors are a bit overwhelmed with all the move-in activity and would appreciate some help in getting settled. They likely won’t ask for help as they are new to town and don’t know anyone, so offer to give them a helping hand:
- Bring over dinners or lunches. Instead of just bringing over a single dish for the housewarming party, make a large batch of freezer meals and bring over some portions separated into tupperware containers for future dinners. Or make a week’s worth of lunches in paper bags to be refrigerated. Just make sure you take into account any food allergies or dietary needs.
- Offer your help: There’s a lot to do when moving into a new house. Help out your neighbors by taking some of the pressure off with move-in. Offer to help bring things into the house, assemble furniture, unpack boxes, and help with repairs. If there’s something that’s out of your ability, call up your preferred plumber, repair person, etc. to come over. You most likely know that the moving process is an extremely taxing and overwhelming experience – feel free to offer up some of your own moving tips to help them relax a little.
Know When to Step Back!
Your new neighbors will probably be inundated with well-wishers and helpful hands. This can get exhausting, so know when to step back and give your new neighbor some space and privacy. If you know that lots of people have been going over to introduce themselves and you’re worried about overwhelming them, just leave a housewarming basket at the doorstep. Fill it with helpful items that they may not have been brought like a small trashcan for the bathroom, tinfoil, wax paper, cleaning supplies, etc. Leave a brief note explaining that you wanted to introduce yourself and welcome your new neighbor but didn’t want to overwhelm them with visitors. Include your name, address, and phone number so they can give you a call later!
If you’ve ever moved to a new community where you didn’t know anyone, then you likely know how scary it can be. Remind your new neighbors that you are only a phone call away from any favors or advice they may need. This small offer can make a world of difference!
photo credit: Zachary Martz via Flickr