In the very first post I ever created for this blog, I included a traditional housewarming gift. Relocating, or ‘moving house’ — as my British friends call it — can be a whirlwind-y stressful process. Time-honored, traditional gifts can be a reminder of the truly important things in life. These classic items are even mentioned in the film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when George and Mary give the Martinis a gift of bread, salt and wine.
Wine – May you never go thirsty.
A beautiful bottle of sparkling wine is always appreciated.
Bread – May you never be hungry.
A loaf of crusty sourdough is perfect, but if your friend is a foodie, perhaps some gourmet flour could stand in.
Salt – It represents life’s tears, may they always be happy ones. And may life always have flavor. (You can also use a pinch at threshold of each door and window for good luck.)
With the salt renaissance that has emerged in the past few years, you can have fun with this one… pink Himalayan salt, a beautiful truffle salt, or even a salt slab could work.
Candle – May you always have light.
Consider unscented candles, so the scent doesn’t interfere with dinner aromas.
Coin – May you have good fortune.
An antique or foreign coin is charming, or perhaps a coin minted in the year the house was built or purchased.
Broom – With it, sweep away the evil.
Straw brooms can often be found at Farmer’s markets or, of all places, Asian markets or Chinatown.
Honey –It represents the sweetness of life.
Local honey is a lovely choice, and often has prettier packaging than commercial choices.
Find a container that can serve as a double-gift. Baskets are always useful, but there are lots of options: A colander, soup pot, salad bowl, or even a laundry basket could be a thoughtful choice. Fill the bottom of the vessel with beautiful kitchen towels, add gifts, and wrap the whole thing with tissue or cellophane and a bow. The addition of a hand-written note explaining the contents will add to the charm of your gift, should your recipients not be familiar with the traditions.
In Jewish customs, salt represents ‘home’ as sanctuary. In other traditions, it is meant to ensure luck, or seen as a reassurance that this home always have flavor or ‘spice.’
Whatever meaning you assign to these gifts, the thought behind them will surely be received with open arms, and remembered as thoughtful mementos to honor a milestone for new home owners.