It’s not uncommon these days to live in a neighborhood that’s nothing like the neighborhoods of days past. Once upon a time, everyone spoke to one another and helped each other out when in need. Today’s communities aren’t always as welcoming, with everyone engrossed in their own work and personal lives. This can clearly put a damper on the area’s social scene.
However, you can be the one to change all that by creating a friendlier, help-thy-neighbor vibe that’s been missing since you were a kid. An easy way to start is to put together move-in gifts for the latest transfers to the area. You’ll feel good about handing over a welcome present, and the newbie(s) will be pretty happy to know there’s at least one potential friend in the building or on the block.
Now that you’re convinced this is the right move, it’s time to decide what it is you’ll give your new neighbors. Here are seven inexpensive ways to say hello:
You might be thinking this one’s a little bit obvious, but it’s worth repeating: Baked goods are the perfect welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift. For one thing, baking something from scratch is very heartfelt, and your neighbor will know just how much effort went into your little gift.
If you need ideas of what to make, consider the area: What are the most popular or well-known baked goods in your state? You could whip up something geographically significant, or simply go with your favorite tried-and-true recipe. Either way, you’ll have an inexpensive hello present that’ll make a great impression on your new neighbors.
In a similar vein, you could also gift your new neighbor with something that’s native to your local area. It could be a food item, like freshly harvested honey or barbecue sauce from everyone’s favorite local joint. It could be a bottle of wine or a freshly pressed olive oil. If your area is known for a particular item, such as handmade ceramics or textiles, pick up something on the smaller side to hand over as the perfect welcome to the neighborhood and area as a whole.
OK, so your new neighbor can probably figure out your address and the address of everyone else who lives nearby. Remembering names and figuring out phone numbers can be a bit tougher of a task, though, so spend a little bit of time logging your neighbors’ names, addresses and phone numbers into a book for the new person. This is an especially handy gift for someone who is moving with kids and wants to set up play dates — they’ll have all the numbers of local parents who want to do the same.
You’ve lived in your home for a while. You remember moving in and picking up unexpectedly handy items as you did so. For example, your building might have laundry facilities in the basement, meaning you neighbor will want a large but lightweight laundry basket to bring downstairs. Perhaps you remembered four months after arriving at your new home that you should probably put a welcome mat down at the front door. In the midst of moving from place to place, there’s a good chance your neighbor didn’t think about that small detail, either.
Whatever it was that made your house a little bit more functional could make a great gift for a new neighbor, too. Think long and hard about the essentials: the items everyone forgets while moving could also make a great gift. Bottles of water, toilet paper, lightbulbs, cleaning supplies … your new neighbor would put all these items to good use upon moving in
What’s your favorite local pizza parlor, Chinese delivery or Indian place? Do you have their takeout menus? Since you probably already know your order by heart anyway — and have the restaurants’ numbers saved to your speed dial — gather the paper takeout menus you have lying around and bring them to your new neighbor so they, too, can dine on the neighborhood’s most delicious delicacies.
You’ve lived in the neighborhood for a while and, as such, you know your favorite places to go for lunch, a fancy dinner or a great after-dinner drink. Chances are, your new neighbors will enjoy the same activities — who doesn’t love to eat and drink? — so you can welcome them with a gift card to your favorite local eatery.
This is a great option if you and other neighbors are working together on a welcome package. If everyone chips in, you can fork over a pretty substantial gift card for the newbies to use.
We’ve already mentioned food and drink multiple times on this list because, well, everyone loves food and drink. You can bet your new neighbor will be open to sharing a cold beverage with you to get to know you, especially if you show up on their doorstep with a tasty DIY cocktail and warm welcome greeting. There’s no better way to break the ice than a nice conversation over a drink, either, so you’ll be on the fast track to befriending your new neighbor afterward.
These are just seven ways to welcome someone new to the neighborhood. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which method you use to say hi and welcome to the area — it’s the thought that counts, and that thought will make a great impression on your new neighbors. Who knows? You may just make a new neighbor into a friend, starting with a little bit of effort on their move-in day.