Published November 19, 2010 by
If you really want to surprise and delight your new neighbors, bring them over a housewarming basket that you made yourself. You can include the things they’ll really need and like. Because you know the area so well, your recommendations of great places to eat and shop will be invaluable to them.
Start off with a sturdy basket. A clean galvanized metal pail also works well. Make sure it’s big enough to load up with lots of goodies.
Start with maps to area hot spots. They’ll want to know where the Starbucks and WalMart are. Even if you crudely draw them yourself, it’s a great way to break the ice. You can also print them directions to locations that are farther away. Yes, they may have a GPS, but if they have no idea there’s a great steak house nearby, they won’t know to try it. Also be sure to list any places they should avoid. You can do it in a light way such as, “If you need your car washed, go to Manny’s by the movie theater. Skip the one on Sunset.”
Then add things that people need when they first move in. Include supplies like pens, tape, a stapler, a pad of paper, sticky notes and any other things that they need to just jot something down quickly. Sure, they may have packed them, but who knows where the box is? Some people even go as far as to include a few rolls of toilet paper for those few days when you still can’t find the box marked “bathroom.”
If there’s a local specialty like chocolate chip cookies from the best bakery in town or fresh eggs from a local farm, include those too with a note that tells them exactly where to go for more. A gallon of milk is also a nice idea as they may not have had time to run out to the store. Some cereal and a few bowls and spoons are also great to have on hand.
You could go more traditional and just include a pre-made fruit gift basket or other food gift basket. That’s also going to be welcomed with open arms. Just be sure to include your full name, you husband and kids’ names, and your address and phone number so they know where to find you again. Even if you live three houses down in a new complex, they may forget which one is yours. Or, they may have been so busy when you delivered your basket that they didn’t quite get your name and are too embarrassed now to ask.
Think about what you’d need if you were new in town. List the names of the area hospital, bus schedules, library hours, or any other thing you think they might need to look up. Is there a great restaurant that stays open late? Include their menu. Are there several playgrounds within walking distance? Tell them about them all.
Your kindness will go a long way to winning new friends in the neighborhood. If you start off on the right foot, chances are you will have made a life-long buddy you can count on. Be sure to offer your help should they need anything and offer to help unpack if you feel comfortable.