The History of the Giving of House Warming Gifts
The tradition of the house warming gifts was believed to have been started in Russia but others claim that it actually started in medieval times. In early France, when a new house was raised in the community, the builders of the home would to gather for a celebration meal. Just prior to that meal, there would be the "hanging of the fireplace hook", the last item in completing the house. It was used to adjust the height of the pot higher or lower over the fire where the meal was prepared in the fireplace.
It was also polite for the townspeople to bring gifts to the " Open House" such as wood for the fireplace ( actually used for warming the house ), apple pies, sacks of flour or a side of bacon to ensure that everyone in the home had enough to eat and enough wood for cooking and heat. As time would pass, other gifts that were thoughtful came to have significant wishes attached for the well being of the home and the occupants.
Here are some of the traditional gifts and the good wishes that they represented.
Bluebirds: a wish for Happiness and Good Luck
Pineapples: a wish that the home occupants would always be Friendly and Hospitable
Bread: a wish that no one in the home would ever go hungry
Salt: a wish of Good Luck
Wine: a wish that no one would ever be Thirsty
Broom: a wish that it would sweep away any evil spirits and keep the house safe and clean
Wood: a wish for Harmony, Peace and Warmth always be in the home
Honey: a wish for Sweetness in life
Plants: a wish for a Prosperous life
Coins: a wish for Good Fortune
Candles: a wish that lights the way for a Joyous life
When I encountered this list of the old traditional gifts, it occurred to me that we could make a representative " Housing Warming" gift with numerous items in a gift basket full of good wishes.
Here are some ideas ( modern day substitutions ) for a very creative and expressive house warming gift for our real estate clients.
Substitution for the Traditional Gifts:
Bluebirds: a small porcelain or ceramic figurine of bluebirds found in most gift shops
Pineapple: a small pineapple serving dish found in many gift shops
Bread: a package of gourmet cookies or biscotti
Salt: a nice set of salt and pepper shakers
Wine: that one is easy
Broom: a brush and dust pan set
Wood: a small wood plaque for the Kitchen "blessing the home"
Honey: a decorative bottle of honey
Plants: an orchid centered in the basket
Coins: a small silver coin
Candles: a large white candle suitable for a centerpiece
I think you can see that there is a great deal of latitude in these gifts and you might just chose one like an electric broom or vacuum cleaner, or flower arrangement or several bottles of wine depending on your budget, But the basket above should be well within any budget. If you should make up a basket, don't forget to include what each part of the gift that you add represents. You will be long remembered for not only the gift but for all the good wishes you have expressed.
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