The Gift I Always Get People Who Just Moved Is All About Warm Practicality
In the days of yore, aka when central heating was not widely available, the tradition of housewarming parties began as a means of literally warming up a new home before the occupants moved in. Party guests would come bearing gifts of firewood and collectively help build a fire in each of the home’s hearths. Though the custom has evolved today into more of an open-house-style gathering in which hosts present their new home to friends and family, the act of bringing a housewarming gift to commemorate the occasion remains very much intact.
Considering the historical evolution, it makes perfect sense that one of the most popular gifts to bring to a modern-day housewarming is a candle. It’s not that a candle physically warms a house, but its homey scent and festive glow certainly do lend an element of coziness to a new space. Other common offerings these days might include fancy oil-and-vinegar sets, houseplants, salt cellars and pepper mills, glassware, drink coasters, and tea towels.
While I’m confident any of these items would make an excellent housewarming gift, there is one thing in particular that I always like to give people who just moved into a new home: a potholder and oven mitt set. Look, I fully recognize that it’s not the most luxe gift idea out there, but there’s also nothing wrong with a pragmatic gift, especially if it’s one that your host is likely to need and use in their new space. It’s also the type of thing that people don’t tend to buy for themselves, so it’s highly probable that the tattered, burned, or grease-stained set from their old place is in serious need of an upgrade.
Since much of gift-giving is all about the packaging, I like to jazz up the presentation a bit. First and foremost, I don’t just grab a cheap set from any big-box store — quality is key to giving a great gift. Usually, I’ll opt for a fancier fabric like velvet or linen. Then, I like to pair it with a related element, whether it’s a coordinating apron, a shiny new baking tray, or a fresh set of spatulas. On other occasions, I’ve paired it with a cookbook, fancy measuring spoons, a pretty trivet, or artisanal spices. By bundling it with other items related to cooking or baking, it adds a thoughtful touch and makes for a heftier overall gift set.
Perhaps what I appreciate most about this gift idea is that it’s somewhat rooted in the true origins of a housewarming, since the modern-day oven has essentially replaced the hearths of olden times. Though proper etiquette dictates you should bring a gift whenever you visit someone’s new place, the whole point of such a gesture is to help the host settle in by bestowing items that make their new surroundings feel more like home. And nothing feels more like home than the heavenly scent of freshly baked cookies or a hearty meal roasting in the oven — in that instance, what could make a more perfect present than a new potholder and oven mitt set?