Remember how it felt to be the new kid in class when you were in school? You hoped you’d make friends, but you felt awkward and even nervous until someone took the time to introduce themselves. That’s what it can be like to move into a new neighborhood for the first time. You bring a big moving truck and maybe some movers with you, so everyone knows you’re new in town.
What can you do so they don’t spend all their time feeling like the new kid on the block? We have some suggestions to help you learn how to welcome new neighbors with thought and care.
1. Help Them Unload
Not everyone can afford to hire movers, which means they’re probably loading and unloading the truck by themselves. If you see your new neighbors unloading, bring a few more neighbors and offer to help get them moved in. An extra set of hands is always a blessing in these situations — especially if they’re moving by themselves.
This little gesture does double-duty. It gives you a chance to introduce yourself and lets them know that you’re the kind of neighbor they can call on if they ever need help with something.
They might not want your help, of course, but we’ve never known anyone to turn down assistance if they were moving on their own.
2. Host a Dinner Party
Give your new neighbors a few days to get settled, then invite them over for a getting-to-know-you dinner party. The chances are high that they’ll jump at the chance to enjoy a home-cooked meal after all the hassle of moving, especially if their kitchen boxes are still packed up. You can go all-out and even hand-deliver them an invitation, which gives you a chance to ask about any dietary restrictions or allergies you might need to worry about.
It doesn’t need to be a fancy dress party or anything like that. Enjoy each other’s company and get to know your new neighbors over a tasty meal and a few glasses of wine.
3. Create a New Neighbor Care Package
One of the worst things about moving to a new neighborhood is not knowing where anything is. Plus, all their previously collected take-out menus won’t help them anymore. Instead of leaving your new neighbors to Google their way through the neighborhood, why not put together a new neighbor care package. Include things like:
- Contact information for reliable repair companies, plumbers and electricians.
- Any important local numbers they might need, like emergency services other than 911.
- Take-out menus for local restaurants. You can even circle your favorite dishes if you like.
- Treats or local specialties. This will vary depending on your location, but it can be as simple as a loaf of fresh bread from a local bakery.
- A gift card or gift certificate to your favorite local restaurant.
This is just a nice way to make your new neighbors feel more at home in your neighborhood. If they’ve moved a great distance, this can be incredibly useful.
4. Make a Traditional Housewarming Basket
Traditional housewarming gifts might seem a little outdated, but you can update them to be useful and thoughtful as well as traditional. These gifts usually include:
- Bread, to symbolize always having food in the house.
- A broom, to sweep away evil spirits.
- Candles, to provide light in their darkest times.
- Coins for luck and good fortune.
- Honey for sweetness in their life.
- Knives, to protect the home from intruders.
- Olive oil for health and wellness.
- A plant, so the home will always have life.
- Rice for fertility.
- Salt, so they will always have spice in their life.
- Wine, so they will always have joy and never go thirsty.
- Wood for stability.
It seems pretty elaborate, but you can still turn one of these into a thoughtful gift. We suggest leaving out the broom — because it would be awkward to deliver — and the rice, because a couple’s fertility is none of your business.
Other than that, though, the possibilities are endless. Create a basket with some fresh-baked bread that they can top with olive oil, salt or honey. Pair it with a bottle of wine, along with some cheese and a cheese board and knife. This covers the wood and knife items. Then just add in a couple of candles, a few coins and a small plant — and you’ve got a traditional housewarming basket! Consider adding a note that explains the blessing that each of the items conveys, in case your new neighbors aren’t familiar with the tradition.
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How to Welcome New Neighbors With Care
While you can create elaborate welcome gifts if you want, or if you have the means, it isn’t always necessary. Sometimes, it’s as simple as just introducing yourself. Once they’ve settled in, go say hi. Introduce yourself, let them know where you live and that they’re more than welcome to come to knock on your door if they need anything. That act alone is how to welcome new neighbors with thought and care.