10 Actually Useful Housewarming Gifts
Sure, you can buy someone a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates for a housewarming gift. That’s nice. But who wants to be nice? What a low bar. I aspire to extraordinary.
Let's think outside the (chocolate) box for a moment...
I think the ultimate gift takes into account the recipient’s preferences and situation, combines luxury with pragmatism and ideally can be used by the entire household.
Inspired by my good friend’s housewarming party, I give you 10 Actually Useful Housewarming Presents:
This could be a low-maintenance plant, like this Rosemary (described as 'perfect for people who don't like to garden') or a little pot of mint to keep beside the salt and pepper, so every mojito and rice paper roll tastes amazing.
I know she also has a veggie patch planned for the backyard. Some of the easiest vegetables to grow are tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber. But you don’t make friends with salad. Carrots FTW. A good baked carrot recipe here and a good carrot soup recipe here.
Cost: $1.75 - 16.75
Provided the new house has a coffee machine, coffee beans are an excellent choice. No one else is buying the housemates gourmet coffee beans. For the next month, they’ll have you to thank as they enjoy full bodied lattes with a caramel aftertaste. You can go full fancy with this coffee or keep it simple but still delectable with this pack of beans.
If you’d like a great story about coffee to go with your gift, listen to this podcast episode about a man who created $20 coffee. Would you buy $16 coffee? I so would.
Cost: $29.99 - $45
This gift can get put to use immediately; on the night in question, the candle can go in the bathroom, providing all users with a softly lit, vanilla scented experience. When there's an electric outage, your candles will light the way, especially if gifted with this candle lighter.
If you’re worried about fires, go for these sticks instead. Or just get this candle from Autism Candles. They’re so strong, they can work a room without being lit. You can read more about why candles are awesome and which ones to avoid in my post about it here.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I love practical gifts. Luxurious, practical gifts. Is that a contradiction? Hand soap, like pretty much all the items on this listicle, comes in varying price points, so you can buy a Thank you hand soap without breaking the bank or something more lavish like this Michel Design Lemon Basil, this Molton Brown Mulberry and Thyme Hand Wash or this bougie Grown Alchemist hand wash. Some of the best gifts I’ve ever been given are ones that combine usefulness with a touch of opulence.
Fire & Ice
A hot water bottle and an ice pack. Probably the best idea on this already great list. Every night in winter, your friend can climb into a toasty warm bed. If they get menstrual cramps, this is doubly amazing. As for the ice pack, you never need one until you really need one. When someone injures themselves, everyone is going to be super glad they invited you to their housewarming party.
Cost: $2 - $14.96
Apparently salad spinners are kind of lame. No one said it but you should have seen the facial expressions I got when I brought up salad spinners. Ok, this isn’t exactly a glam addition to a household but it’s so darn useful! Soggy lettuce no more with the centrifugal force of a cheap but practical salad spinner. Unlike the cucumber and lettuce plants, this gift is salad adjacent, and therefore respectable.
Cost: $10 - 16.25
Less useful (but apparently a great idea)
I don’t know if people actually use these on a regular basis but maybe they are a fun housewarming present. Some people think so (don’t buy me a waffle maker). At $20 from Target, they’re the same cost as a nice Shiraz, minus the hangover. You can check out a good waffle recipe here. Not to be too controversial but I find waffles a bit overrated. They’re kind of like pancakes’ pretentious cousin. Tell me I’m wrong.
For the individual who has everything…
I got this for the same friend (18 years of friendship!) one year for her birthday and I think she enjoyed it. It’s kind of like a nice recurring monthly surprise – like the opposite of a period! I bought my friend a Frankie subscription. You might also try Russh, Bitch or The Gentlewoman. If you have any good recommendations for magazines that are more male-skewed let me know!
Cost: $10.50 - $55
Throws should not be mistaken as pure decoration. Oh no. What is form without function? Although speaking of paintings…
Throws are perfect for snuggling up with on the sofa. They add an extra layer of warmth in bed. And yes, they do look elegant when they are artfully tossed across living room furniture. I have FOUR Harris Scarfe blankets in my house. I'm pretty sure these are the ones. They are insanely soft, so of course I love them.
Cost: $11.98 - 23.98
There are plenty of other housewarming gifts that fit the dual criteria of being aesthetic and functional but I can't list them all.
Are there any major items I missed? What would you want to be gifted at your housewarming? I know, presence is the real present. But presents are good, too.