While we can all agree that the last year has had more than its fair share of ups and downs, there are a few things that I look back on and feel a measure of gratitude. I've started grouping these good things together in what I like to call a "homeward shift": we worked from home, we ate at home, we played at home, we even worked on our homes with renovation projects galore. 

So while my home life has thrived, my social life has died. This conundrum has led me to thinking quite a bit on how different it is to make friends as an adult. To build those genuine human connections, and to maintain them along with the responsibilities of adulthood (and a global pandemic) has become somewhat daunting. Growing up, as I was going back to school, my mother used to sing a little song based on this poem by Joseph Parry. 

Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.

Friendships that have stood the test—
Time and change—are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray,
Friendship never knows decay.

For 'mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die,
New friends must their place supply.

Cherish friendship in your breast—
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.

This poem, or song, that my mom used to share, was always a reminder to keep trying to make connections and find friendships. It seems everywhere I go lately, homes are being built or remodeled. With all the change and movement, I feel an eagerness to reach out.

So with new neighbors and new friends, we want to talk about the art of housewarming. Whether it's an old friend moving into a new apartment, a college freshman moving into the dorms, a new stranger in the neighborhood, or a friend moving into their dream home we want to offer them goodwill for their new home. 

Or if you are the "new neighbor" you may want to host a housewarming party to get to know new people. The term housewarming came from the practice of welcoming new neighbors into your home, and in return they would bring a bundle of firewood to help actually warm the home for a few months after moving in

While most of us won't need bundles of wood to warm our homes, there are other traditional ways to warm a home. We have created this collection of traditional housewarming gifts, and the message behind them, for all the people in life that range from best friend, for whom you might splurge, to a perfect stranger, that you aren't committed to splurging for yet.  And of course if you want to give yourself a housewarming gift, we aren't opposed to that either.


"May this home never know hunger": Traditionally this message was given with a meal or food for the new homeowners. During this harvest season we love give a basket filled with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Or a basket filled with a lovely bun warmer and some fresh bread. Or for a housewarming party we love this bread board featuring the phrase "you never grow old at a table with friends".

"May this home always be warm": For some a bundle of firewood might be appropriate, but for others, with central heat, you can give the same message by gifting a new quilt or wool blanket. There is something about a quilt that feels so fundamentally like giving someone a hug every time they wrap up in it. So give a cotton or wool hug as a welcome to a new space and adventure.  

"May this home be filled with richness and spice": Spices were once very valuable commodities that people traveled the world to gather. Pepper is the symbol of a new journey or courage, so gifting peppercorns with a brass pepper mill is a great way to start the new home journey. Or we have these herbed savory salts as a symbol of welcoming. Salt of the earth goodness.

"May this home be clean and free of evil spirits": Everybody wants to keep that new home feeling, and a clean home is one way to do that. Perhaps a dustpan & brush or a feather duster, would be an appropriate gift to share. As for those evil spirits, this leather fly swatter is gets rid of a few of the pesky fleas.

"May this home always be found": Brass house numbers and letters are a fun way to fulfill this message. Put them on a porch post, near the door, or on the mailbox so that the new house can be found by new friends.

"May you have light, even in dark times": We all know enough of life to know that dark times are inevitable. There is something very mortal about the need to find light in the dark. This sanctuary candle is something I like to give with this message, for all occasions of when life needs more light.

"May this home always be happy":  A happy home is the goal of every individual. Coming full circle from where we started our homes have become safe havens and sanctuaries but that we want them to be gathering places and filled with friends in the same moment. Both peace and people are key to having a happy home. One of our favorite books The Architecture of Happiness says:

"It follows that the balance we approve of in architecture, and which we anoint with the word 'beautiful', alludes to a state that, on a psychological level, we can describe as mental health or happiness. Like buildings, we, too, contain opposites which can be more or less successfully handled.”

Shop our entire Housewarming collection as you find ways to give simple but meaningful gifts to those in your life that are venturing off in new directions.

August 20, 2021 — Chelsey Newbould

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