Housewarming: it is a concept we all know well. Celebrating a new start in a new space, usually offering a small gift to congratulate the homeowner as they embark on their next phase of life. However, this well-worn concept has a surprisingly long history dating back to The Dark Ages at about 500 A.D. long before crystal stemware and coffee table books on the Obamas were available.

 

Traditionally, a housewarming party in medieval times was held to, quite literally, warm the house. Neighbors, which was a loose term at this time in the world, would come on horseback (or on foot if your divining rod wasn’t as accurate at finding viable water sources as you might have thought) with kindling and logs to light up the fireplace. A housewarming fire was erected to welcome friends not only for warmth, but also to cast off any nefarious spirits that might be hanging around the ethereal watercooler chatting casually about their demise for their newest and unexpecting victims.

 

So, what makes a great housewarming gift exactly since logs and kindling probably won’t cut it these days? Intentional housewarming gifts transcend simply wrapping up pretty things in a pretty package to show someone you are celebrating their new abode. Intentional gifting is about celebrating the concept of growing new roots and finding items that anthropomorphize these sentiments. To be intentional, think about offering up something that is special to you with the intent for it to become part of the homeowner’s new place. In a way, this takes a lot of the pressure off of gifting for the recipient and turns it into an exercise in self-reflection. Think more about how you can gift something meaningful that has the ability to harmoniously meld into the new owner’s first home and ultimately life. 

 

“Our Live Beautifully Box was curated to be the perfect, thoughtful housewarming gift for anyone embarking on the journey of nesting into a new space”, shares 211 to Waterloo owner, Lisa Odai. This beautiful gift box includes a Dream Luminary Candle by Lollia in the scent White Tea & Honeysuckle, incense sticks with a handmade burning dish, a mini apothecary bottle full of matches and a copy of Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone, . “Not only does the Live Beautiful book make a stunning addition to a coffee table, but Calderone offers glimpses inside the homes of other creatives and helpful tips on how to bring elevated design elements into your own space. I think it makes the perfect gift of inspiration to a new homeowner who is most likely feeling overwhelmed looking around at a new blank canvas”, Odai adds. “I love the way every person’s house smells differently! When you walk into someone’s home for the first time, you get to experience a unique and very intimate part of who they are. Smell is such a powerful sense, so the addition of the candle and incense infused with essential oil are to help inspire the creation of the homeowner’s new olfactory identity.”

 

Society has never spent such an exorbitant amount of time at home due to COVID-19 social distancing, mask mandates and travel bans so now more than ever leaning into the notion of making your house your home has become supremely important. A house, in today’s topsy-turvy COVID world, is now also often a school, an office, a gym, pet care and day care all somehow smushed into one chaotic dwelling.  “A global survey found that 88% of business organization all over the world mandated or encouraged all their employees to work from home as the virus started to spread at exponential rates. Furthermore, about 97% of the organizations immediately canceled all work-related travel” according to review42.com reporting from a study by Gartner, Inc. To further complicate your next housewarming gift, keep in mind that this new piece of real estate is most likely not just going to be an oasis to retreat to after work, it will also be a stressful office-homeschool-gym-barking dog daycare all in one. Although a bottle of wine can suffice as a perfectly fine way to celebrate a special occasion, the 211 to Waterloo’s Charcuterie Box offers an artisanal collection of entertaining essentials and gourmet treats to kick it up a notch and bring a 5-star dining experience home. “This box includes a handcrafted solid cherry wood charcuterie board made by my friend and local Atlanta artist, Jenny McCartney”, Odai remarks. “Every board is one-of-a-kind and made using a carefully selected piece of timber designed to celebrate the natural markings and grain.” The Charcuterie Box also includes luxury housewarming gifts such as a stainless steel and acacia wood Twine Cheese Knife featuring holes on the blade to easily cut through creamy soft cheese, as well as a set of two nesting bowls made by Savannah-based artist Jennifer Huskey, a jar of Bella Cucina Artichoke Pesto to put in the nesting bowls and a gorgeous piece of Savannah Bee Co. honeycomb. Another fabulous food gift offered is the Perfect Provisions box including LUCID Olive Oil made by family- run California farm, Brightland utilizing only Coratina olives which are picked and pressed on the same day in a certified organic mill. This box also includes two flavors of Atlanta-made Beautiful Briny Sea Salts made with natural ingredients and a linen Mierco Tea Towel that is and long-lasting and it gets softer with each wash. Use these housewarming gift ideas to nonverbally urge your loved one to practice relaxation, good food and selfcare despite the household chaos.

 

On a global scale, housewarming is an important concept but has a slightly different philosophy and name depending on the region. The Danish term hygge, refers to finding comfort and pleasure from a cozy atmosphere. This Scandinavian lifestyle mentality encompasses a feeling of contentment and well-being found through cherishing the little things. When putting together your housewarming giftbox for a family member or close friend don’t lose sight of the little things that evoke comfort and pleasure. “The Coffee Break Box is our ultimate housewarming gift for those that love nothing more than nestling in on the couch with a steaming up of rich, velvety coffee”, Odai suggests. This box includes a 16 oz ceramic mug wrapped in protective matte silicon, Morning Mud Coffee by Oliver Pluff which is a unique blend of Columbia Supremo, Brazil Yellow Catuai and Guatemala Antigua beans boasting notes of milk chocolate, caramel, and nut flavors, organic Real Treat Cookies with brown butter, dark chocolate chunk and smoked pecans as well as Rock Sugar Swizzle Sticks that double as an artisanal stirring stick and coffee sweetener. The Scandinavian’s aren’t the only ones with a colloquial concept related to housewarming. The term “surcee” refers to the southern concept for bringing your host a thoughtful and unexpected gift. The word surcee has been passed down through generations of women in the South that understand the importance of showing a metaphysical sense of gratitude in the form of a physical trinket. Here in the South, being true to southern heritage and tradition is an important part of regional identity. When congratulating someone on their new southern abode, it would be particularly thoughtful to include something locally sourced or regionally relevant. “Both cocktail-centric boxes we offer, either the Make Mine a Margarita Box or the Great Cocktail Box would make an excellent housewarming surcee”, Odai offers. The Great Cocktail box includes WithCo Old-Fashioned Cocktail Mix made in Nashville using only fresh ingredients with no preservatives or additives, Rustico leather coasters, a sphere ice ball mold designed to slow the melting process to prevent watered-down cocktails, a Viski Gold Jigger and a Withco Garnish Kit offerings a collection of dried citruses. The Make Mine a Margarita Kit includes the same Withco Garnish Kit and Viski Gold Jigger but instead a Withco Agave Margarita Mix, W&P Mason Jar Shaker for a little southern charm and cocktail napkins by Ben’s Garden. 

 

It’s clear that everyone from medieval knights to Scandinavian hygge enthusiasts and even southerners right here in Atlanta understand and appreciate the value of a housewarming gift. Remember to keep it thoughtful, personal and a source of inspiration for new beginnings. 211 to Waterloo believes that nurturing relationships should always be at the heart of a housewarming gift. To optimize the emotional sentiment, always curate your housewarming giftbox with a specific kind of person, emotion, and moment in mind. By championing small businesses, artists and charities, 211 to Waterloo gift boxes ensure that your gift will be unique, ethical and meaningful. If you happen to be short on time (aren’t we all), don’t forget that you can order Live Beautifully along with any of 211 to Waterloo’s carefully curated gift boxes for same day delivery in the Atlanta area for a last-minute gift. Pro Tip: Don’t forget to always include a custom gift card or greeting card in addition to your welcome home basket or box. Adding a personalized note will ensure that your housewarming welcome gesture feels deeply thoughtful and sentimental for such a momentous occasion. 

September 20, 2022 — Lisa Odai

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