Housewarming Gifts From Be Personal
When family or friends are moving into a new home, they usually throw a party, and guests bring a gift. The choice of gifts available is huge, but a personalised housewarming gift is particularly welcome. Take a few minutes to browse through the selection of housewarming gifts we offer.
Housewarming gifts have been a tradition since mediaeval times and often given at a party held by the new householders. Originally the idea was to have a group of old friends and new neighbours come to the property to literally warm it by bringing firewood as a gift and lighting fires in all of the fireplaces; warming the house with warmth and friendship! Another idea is that the house needed ridding of evil spirits, especially if it had been empty for some time, something that was also achieved by the lighting of the fires.
An alternative source for the idea of presenting gifts at a housewarming comes from Russia. The legend is that a villager by the name of Boris and his wife, Yelena, gave the gifts of bread and a pinch of salt to dignitaries who were passing through. The bread symbolised good health and the salt represented a long life. The dignitaries were pleased with the gift and the villagers rejoiced in a new tradition for welcoming newcomers.
In England, in the middle ages, housewarmings were supposedly restricted to certain ranks of society by King Edward III. However, Richard II held a housewarming to celebrate the rebuilding of Westminster Hall in 1397 and it is thought that ten thousand people turned up for the feasting and so the practice undoubtedly regained popularity. Like at King Richard’s party, guests are often fed at housewarmings, rather than supplying food to the householders.
It is unlikely that modern houses, with their central heating will need to be warmed with a fire, but the gathering of friends to view the new home is still a good excuse for a party. Traditionally a housewarming party takes place within 180 days of moving into the new residence. Gift ideas have changed over the centuries, from the necessary food and firewood to presents to help with the home’s decoration and comfort. Whilst all gifts will be welcome on such an occasion, including food and drink for the party itself, there are still many new home gifts gifts that have special meanings.
Bread is given in the hope that those in the new home will never go hungry, or that the cupboards will always be full. A modern version could run to a wooden board for cutting bread, or bread bin to accompany a symbolic loaf. Make sure you buy a personalised one, it makes it more of a gift that will be remembered.
Salt and sugar have been given together to represent the tears and happiness of life in a new home, but they also have individual meanings. Salt is given with the wish for flavour and spice in the lives of those living in the new house. The hope that life will always have flavour can also be interpreted as a wish to add luxury. Sugar is presented to the new householders in the hope that their lives will always have sweetness. Modern versions could be filled condiment sets, sugar bowls and preserve pots.
The giving of wine, as well as being a welcome addition to the party, symbolises at the most basic level the hope that the family will never go thirsty. It also expresses the wish that there will be prosperity and joy in the household and that the family will always be of good cheer. A wine rack or a special bottle, perhaps with a personalised label to record the occasion are good housewarming gift ideas.
Honey is understandably similar to sugar in its meaning as a house warming gift, expressing the hope that the occupants of the house will enjoy the sweetness of life.
A broom was traditionally a gift for the wife of the house, symbolising the idea that the house will always be clean and free of evil spirits. Such a present for a wife today is unlikely to be received with wholehearted enthusiasm, but traditionally made brooms, purely for decoration, can be found.
Coins are given in the hope of luck and good fortune. Presumably this would include the giving of money to the new occupants of the house to buy a gift of their own choosing. However, we do have gifts that include a Lucky Sixpence - for the young a sixpence is part of our currency prior to decimalisation! You can view the Lucky Sixpence gifts here.
Candles are given so that the householders will always have light, so that they may dwell in light and happiness. This sentiment can also be expressed as the hope that they may have light even in the darkest of times. Lighting a candle on the first night in a new home is also representative of the earlier idea of the lighting of fires in all of the fireplaces. There are many decorative candles available as gifts, but one with a personal message to mark the occasion of moving into the new house will be particularly welcome.
A knife as a new home gift idea has two meanings. Firstly, a knife could be used by the householder to defend his home and family from intruders. Secondly, a knife could be used as a tool to make meals. Before rushing out to purchase a carving knife or set of cutlery, however, it should be noted that the gift of a knife could also be considered unlucky. This is because a knife symbolises cutting and therefore the creation of loss or the severing of a friendship.
When given to a young couple with no children, the gift of rice for the bedroom came with the hope that the love in the home would multiply. This was interpreted as a fertility gift to bless the marriage.
Wood traditionally represents stability and when given as new home gifts it symbolises the wish that the house will have stability, harmony and peace. There are many possibilities for wooden gifts, including wooden chopping boards and cheese boards that can be personalised to mark the occasion.
Plants express the wish for the home to always have life, fertility and prosperity. More specifically, the caring for plants and keeping them alive show the householders’ ability to care for others and keep their relationships alive. Of course, plants as gifts are readily available today, but can be made even more special by putting them in a personalised pot or bucket to mark the occasion of the family moving into a new home.
The idea of a pineapple as a gift dates back to the days of Christopher Columbus who first came across the fruit when he landed on the Caribbean island of Guadalupe. Once Guadalupe was an established port, sailors who visited took the fruit home with them and placed them outside their doors to show that they had returned safely. They would invite friends to celebrate their return and so the pineapple came to represent hospitality. A fresh pineapple as a gift serves as a warm welcome to any new home.
In a similar vein to the pineapple, a coconut is also seen as a symbol of a warm welcome and hospitality. Both attributes hoped for at the new home.
Acorns as unusual housewarming gifts stems from the Norse countries. They were thought to protect the ancient Norsemen from Thor, the god of thunder. Acorns were thus adopted as a protective symbol and were placed across windowsills to ward off evil spirits. Since acorns grow into oak trees a modern interpretation would be a gift made from oak, such as a chopping board or a picture frame, either of which would combine the symbolism of acorns and wood.
In many cultures there is the idea of a burden basket, to be left at the door of the new home. The baskets are there to capture the worries and stresses of daily life and residents and visitors alike are encouraged the preserve the harmony of the home by leaving their burdens at the door. The gift of a woven basket will also represent wholeness, togetherness and family.
In some countries bluebirds are believed to bless the house with happiness and good fortune. Bluebird patterned china, or other bluebird themed articles have become traditional housewarming gifts.
East Lancashire and some parts of Scotland, particularly Ayrshire and Banffshire, hold frogs to be good luck. Fortunately there are many frog themed gifts available to avoid the possibility of presenting a new homeowner with a live one, unless, of course, they have a garden pond in their new property.
As well as parties and gifts there are many traditions for blessing a new house. This is done to sanctify the home and keep it filled with love and happiness. People ask for the grace of God and for God to enter their dwelling and bring a sense of security and comfort. Blessing the new home is also done to keep out evil spirits. In Ireland people bless the house by hanging plaques and poems and by saying a prayer to God. An important Irish blessing is as follows:
‘May God grant you always,
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel so nothing can harm you,
Laughter to cheer you,
Faithful friends near you,
And wherever you pray,
Heaven to hear you.
In India a housewarming prayer, or Pooja, is said by a Brahmin. The house is first cleaned and decorated and the prayer ceremony takes several hours to complete.
Thailand has a ceremony that is an important part of the culture. It is called Kuen Ban Mai, which translates as ‘going up into a new house’. The ceremony has two parts; firstly the family moves their furniture in the new house without actually living there, usually on a Friday or Saturday which are considered to be lucky days. The family bring with them symbols of Buddha, food and money to ensure a prosperous future in the house. The second part of the ceremony takes place after the family move in and is performed by Buddhist monks, usually nine of them (even numbers are considered to be unlucky). They perform a religious ceremony to bless the home and its occupants, chanting prayers and passing a white thread to one another, known as tying Sai Seen, a holy thread. The thread is wrapped around the wrists of the family members and the home’s statue of Buddha. Once the ceremony is over the monks are offered food and drink and then the senior monk will use white paste to mark all of the doors to ward off evil spirits.
In European countries guests often bring a horseshoe to hang above the door of the new home. This is to bring good luck to the new household - but make sure the horseshoe is hung the right way up!
In the American South there is a tradition of painting the porch of a new house ‘haint’ blue. Haint is another word for haunt and has its roots in Gullah culture. The Gullah were the descendants of African slaves living in the Lowcountry regions of South Carolina and Georgia. The idea was that haint spirits couldn’t cross water and so painting a home blue was a symbolic way of keeping away bad spirits.
For homeowners who practice feng shui, the ringing of a Tibetan space clearing bell can clear each room in the new house of stagnant or dying chi. Opening windows and letting in sunlight will also ways to welcome in feng shui chi, which is what is wanted.
The burning of dried sage is a traditional method of clearing out negative energy from a new home. The smoke is directed into all of the corners of each room and some practitioners believe that it is important to light the sage and then blow out the flame, allowing the smoke to develop on its own.
In Vasthu Sastra Indian tradition, milk and rice are boiled together until the pot overflows. This is a way to symbolise purity and long life. Another Indian tradition involves bringing a cow into the home and placing a garland around its neck.
French speaking countries had a ritual that involved the chimney hook, from which cooking pots would hang over the fire. This was traditionally the last part of the house to be completed and changing the hook signified the beginning of the housewarming thank you meal, served to everyone who had been involved in the building of the house.
Whilst much of the above is interesting, you probably just want to view the various personalised housewarming gifts we offer. You can view them here.