On my way home tonight I noticed that our newest neighbors are just beginning the move in process. Every time we get a new neighbor I always have the best intentions to march over with my family in tow and welcome them to the community. But I hate to show up empty handed when I know all the work that goes into moving into a new house. So then the great debate begins: Bring a home cooked meal? A bottle of wine? A new potted plant? What is appropriate? And, equally important, what is realistic?
In the interest of keeping things realistic, I’ve compiled a list of my 5 favorite “Welcome to the neighborhood” ideas. If you have your own favorite idea, be sure to share it in the comments below!
5 Ways to Welcome New Neighbors:
1) Give a gift certificate to your favorite local restaurant. To make it even more personal, you could put together a stack of take out menus from some of your other favorite local restaurants as well. Short on time? Just write up a short list of your favorites!
2) Make a homemade map of your neighborhood with the names of the families from around the neighborhood. You could include fun or helpful information about your neighborhood on your map like annual neighborhood block party dates or celebrations or contact information for the HOA president, or helpful information about neighborhood shared spaces and parks, etc.
3) Everyone knows that moving day – or week – is chaotic. Help with the essentials by packaging up a roll of paper towels, toilet paper, and a bottle of spray cleaner or hand soap. Put these in a cute little basket and you’ll be forever thought of by your new neighbors as a lifesaver. (And maybe throw in a package of cookies because, yum!)
4) Get punny, but keep things simple: Write a card that says “Thought we’d ‘Pop’ over and welcome you to the neighborhood.” Attach it to a bag of microwave popcorn and deliver it to your new neighbors along with a friendly hello. Or put a ribbon around a box of Chips Ahoy cookies and attach a note that says “Ahoy neighbors! Welcome to the neighborhood!”
5) Just stop by! We all get busy and the days fly by and before you know it, your “new neighbors” have lived in their house for 6 months and you haven’t even met them. Sometimes, instead of getting bogged down over what to bring and letting that cause you to never show up at all, it’s best just to forget the gift and remember that the best gesture of all is a simple knock on the door, followed by a “Hello! And welcome to the neighborhood.”