Housewarming Gifts For People I Don't Know
April 29, 2011 6:02 PM   Subscribe

What is an appropriate housewarming gift for someone I don't know in person?

A lovely lady I've been working with online just moved to a new house with her husband and toddler and given all the incredible support she's provided me with over the past few months with my job hunt I would really like to send her a housewarming gift to show my appreciation for all her help.

The trouble is that I don't actually know the gal! I have no idea what to send her and her family and I am really at a loss because I just really want to do this for her. What could I send her (we live on opposite coasts) that might run me at maximum $30-40 that would be appropriate given the circumstances? I know very little about her beyond what we've shared with each other for work.
posted by iLoveTheRain to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Houseplant. Does she have pets? Make certain it could not kill her pet. I like aloe; they are almost impossible to kill. You may be able to get something through a national number, but if I were you, I would yelp a local florist and ask for their assistance/delivery. It'll probably be cheaper, honestly.

Otherwise, go for a local restaurant's gift certificate. Same idea; use yelp to find something unique and local. See if her facebook offers you clues to her taste, and if not, go with pizza or a diner or something really kid-friendly.
posted by jenlovesponies at 6:08 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Esp. since it's cross country, but possibly a giftcard for a local home store (lowes/home despot or the like) - new residence always needs something
posted by pupdog at 6:09 PM on April 29, 2011

It might be impersonal, but I gotta second the gift card to a big box hardware store. There's a zillion things that I needed from them when I moved into a new house and I was extremely grateful for all of the cards we received. If you know the new address, throw it into the Lowe's and Home Depot store finders and see what is closest as that is what they will be driving to most often.
posted by tommccabe at 6:16 PM on April 29, 2011

I'm not so sure you need to send a gift at all. A lovely handwritten letter of thanks and appreciation will mean much, much more than a gift card that she may not even want to use.
posted by Dolley at 6:34 PM on April 29, 2011

I think a giftcard to the local quirky food shop would be nicer than a home-improvement card. Maybe google the town and see if they have a co-op, or a Fresh Market or Trader Joe's or something like that.
posted by headnsouth at 6:43 PM on April 29, 2011

Candle stick holders? A nice frame?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:43 PM on April 29, 2011

that's really thoughtful of you! I just tried to get my sister and my parents a housewarming gift (they both recently moved to new houses) and they both said 'honestly, the last thing we want is more STUFF.' the fact that you don't know them personally really increases the risk that any object you buy them will end up in the junk pile at some point.

when i first moved in, i was really rushed for time and overwhelmed with all the details. Could you buy them a gift certificate for a nice meal out? homemade meals delivered for a week? (there are lots of services like this - if you named the city she lived in, we could be more specific here) flowers to freshen up the house? in these kinds of situations, it really (really) is the thought that counts. any little surprise thoughtfulness will be super appreciated, i'm sure. nice one!
posted by andreapandrea at 6:49 PM on April 29, 2011

Here are some housewarming gifts that I have received and sent:

Glass water pitcher (Crate and Barrel)
Glass nesting mixing bowl set (same)
Ice bucket and tongs
Placemat with latitude and longitude

Yes it's true that some people have all the stuff they need. But this doesn't sound like that family. And if they don't like whatever you get them they can always return it and get a garden hose or whatever.
posted by bq at 8:29 PM on April 29, 2011

Having been in this situation I'd much rather have a $40 gift card than a letter, no matter how beautifully phrased, and one to a big box hardware store where I could buy something I actually needed rather than a fancy quirky food shop where I couldn't.
posted by joannemullen at 9:15 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

jenlovesponies has it - plant.
posted by asuprenant at 12:12 AM on April 30, 2011

Several cultures view pigs as symbols of good luck and prosperity. A small pig figurine (a pigurine?) or pig-shaped planter with an explanation might be a good gift for a stranger. This is not suggested, of course, if the recipient is from a culture that considers pigs to be unclean.
posted by workerant at 10:10 AM on April 30, 2011

Flowers. To me, a plant is one more thing to take care of, and I live in a woodsy area, so there are plenty of plants right outside my windows. Flowers are pretty, thoughtful, cheery, and temporary. I love them.
posted by theora55 at 11:35 AM on May 1, 2011

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