Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 in DIY Style | 0 comments

Relocating, or ‘moving house’ — as my British friends call it — can be a whirlwind-y stressful process.  Often, when invited to a housewarming party, guests bring food or drink apropos for the party. I like to give gifts that will be remembered long past the party date. Here is an idea for a gift that is beautiful, practical and steeped in folklore. This is a Traditional Housewarming Gift Basket that is très thoughtful with each element evoking warm thoughts for a long, happy life in a new home.
Time-honored gifts are reminders of the truly important things in life. These classics are even mentioned in the film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when George and Mary give the Martini family a gift of bread, salt and wine.
The varying origins of these gifts come from all over the world, including Europe, China, and India. Here’s what you need to gather to create your housewarming offering, and make it one that will be long appreciated and remembered.
Wine – So you will never go thirsty.
A beautiful bottle of sparkling wine is always appreciated.
Bread – So you will never go hungry.
A loaf of crusty sourdough is perfect, but if your friend is a foodie, perhaps some gourmet flour and a family recipe could stand in.
Salt – It represents life’s tears, may they always be happy ones. In some customs, salt represents ‘home’ as sanctuary.  In other traditions, it is meant to ensure luck, or seen as a reassurance that one’s home always has flavor or ‘spice.’
With the salt renaissance that has emerged in the past few years, you can have fun with this one… pink Himalayan salt, a beautiful truffle salt, or even a salt slab could work.
Candle – May you always have light.
Consider unscented candles, so the scent doesn’t interfere with dinner aromas.
Coin – May you have good fortune.
An antique or foreign coin is charming, or perhaps a coin minted in the year the house was built or purchased.
Broom – With it, sweep away the evil.
Straw brooms can often be found at Farmer’s markets, and often in Asian markets or Chinatown.
Honey –It represents the sweetness of life.
Local honey is a lovely choice, and often has prettier packaging than commercial choices.
Other less common but still lovely choices include:
A sage bundle – used in Native American smudge ceremonies to clear out past energy, something made of wood – a cutting board or spoon – symbolizing stability, Extra Virgin Olive Oil – for health and well-being, and rice – a symbol of fertility or a long marriage. (Careful with this one!)  Find a container that can serve as a double-gift. Baskets are always useful, but there are lots of options: A colander, soup pot, salad bowl, or even a laundry basket could be a thoughtful choice. Fill the bottom of the vessel with colorful kitchen towels, add gifts, and wrap the whole thing with tissue or cellophane and a bow. The addition of a hand-written note explaining the gifts will add to the charm of your offering, should your recipients not be familiar with the traditions.
The first time I gave one of these baskets, my friend saw the salt and bread, and she immediately burst into tears, because she knew the meaning of the contents. Those were some sweet tears.
Whatever meaning you assign to these gifts, the thought behind them will surely be received with appreciation, and remembered as thoughtful mementos to honor a milestone for new homeowners. And chances are that if your gift is really good, you’ll be invited back!