A whole lot of people have moved in the past year—you probably know a few who have recently purchased a new home or are settling in to a new apartment. And if they plan on hosting a housewarming party to celebrate their new pad, it’s only natural for guests to want to bring a gift.
But before you bust out that baking sheet to make a batch of your famous welcome-to-the-neighborhood cookies, think twice. In this not-quite-post-pandemic period, housewarming gifts that were once considered appropriate may no longer be a good idea. Instead, think of gifts that pose no risk of spreading germs or promote sanitary practices in the home.
“Cautious home entertaining in the coming months can be overwhelming for homeowners, so why not alleviate that pressure with a safe housewarming gift?” says Brielle Galekovic, owner of the lifestyle and entertaining blog The Gilded Bellini.
If you’re looking for a gift that’s memorable and practical at the same time, these housewarming gifts are sure to make your recipient smile.
Wine charms and drink markers
Bring a little bling to your beverages by gifting wine charms or other types of cute drink accessories.
“Wine charms and drink markers are the gift of the season! They can be used right away so people know which drink is theirs and don’t accidentally take a sip of someone else’s cocktail and spread germs,” says Joanna Buchanan, a home accessories designer and expert on entertaining.
Single-serve home bar
During the COVID-19 pandemic, at-home bars became quite popular.
Introduce your friends to the concept by gifting a single-serve bar, like Drinkworks Home Bar (Keurig, $300). It dispenses a selection of bar-quality cocktails, brews, spritzers, and more at the push of a button.
Galekovic likes this product because guests can enjoy whatever cocktail they’d like without the host or bartender having to touch multiple glasses and garnishes.
Customized paper coasters
Any new home will need to have some coasters; no one likes unsightly water stains on their wood tables! Consider gifting personalized but recyclable paper coasters from TieTheKnot (Etsy, $27-plus).
“Who doesn’t love a personalized moment? Plus, the host can entertain without having to clean each coaster after every use,” says Galekovic.
Tear-off cocktail napkins and place mats
Your host might be wary of using cloth cocktail napkins, but also of paper napkins that will go straight into the trash after one use.
“These tear-off napkins and place mats from Hudson Grace (hudsongrace.com, $29+) are compostable and can be reused up to five times. If you’re more comfortable getting rid of them after use, you can feel good that they are not going to end up in a landfill,” says Galekovic.
Napkins come in a roll of 50, and place mats come in a set of 12.
Hands-free hand sanitizer dispenser
If you weren’t a germaphobe before the pandemic, you’re probably an honorary member of the club now. Welcome.
“I like to have plenty of hand sanitizer to go around, but what I don’t love are the drugstore bottles of sanitizer everywhere,” says Buchanan. “An elegant and stylish hand sanitizer dispenser is such a thoughtful gift right now and one they are sure to use in the new house right away.”
Consider a hands-free dispenser pump that comes in five different finishes (simplehuman.com, $60). It’s rechargeable, with each charge lasting three months.
Fancy hand soap
“Since we’re all more conscious of washing our hands, fancy hand soaps make a lovely gift,” says Buchanan. She recommends soaps from the Italian apothecary Santa Maria Novella (us.smnovella.com, $18-plus) because of the company’s rich history and divine collection of scents.
Buchanan also recommends gifting soap from a local soap-maker as an introduction to local shops in your host’s new neighborhood.
Houseplants are often a welcome housewarming gift, but consider giving one that will help clean the air, such as a snake plant or a peace lily. NASA’s clean air study found that certain plants can absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and rid the air of toxins like formaldehyde and benzene, two chemicals that can cause irritation to the nose and throat.
These plants are likely available at big-box chains like Home Depot, but you can add a special touch by sourcing your plant gift from your host’s local nursery or plant store.