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What's a Good Housewarming Gift?

One of my favorite coworkers (who is not only smart and funny and great to work with, but also has amazing style) just moved into a new apartment, and I’d like to get her a little something to celebrate her new place.

I’m thinking of scented candles, tea samplers (but not really sure what kind she likes), teapot & cups, or maybe a throw for her couch (but then I don’t know her color scheme).

I’m hoping for something $15-$20.

What says you?

Edit: Thank you for all your suggestions! I decided on a set of ceramic Japanese tea cups painted with different designs (flowers, a boat, etc.). My coworker seemed to really like them – or she’s just super polite!

  • C.C. - I personally love getting plants, so I tend to give plants out until I realized a lot of people see them as nuisance. But candles are great. I would love if someone bought me candles as a house warming gift. And that’s my go-to gift now and everyone seems to really like it. What girl doesn’t like candles, right? I like Tocca and Henri Bendel candles, but those can be pricey. Target has some great candles that has great packaging and smells awesome too for not a lot of money.ReplyCancel

  • Holly Hoffman - How about a nice coffee table book about something she likes? I love coffee table books, personally, especially about art, culture, etc. Bonus points for showing that you know her interests outside of work! ReplyCancel

    • jerry - good one.. reminds me of kramer's classic idea about a coffee table book about coffee tables! :) ReplyCancel

  • Alex - Tea or teapots! But I am a little biased because I’m a tea nut. Candles are also good I think.ReplyCancel

  • Abigail - Well, a funny/cool teapot is always awesome. Though if she already has a teapot, then it’s just decoration. Maybe something unusual like a sushi book and utensils?

    Scented candles are nice, but I just never get around to burning any. So if she is the type to burn them, terrific. Most apartments frown on that sort of thing.

    In any situation, generally nice cheeses or chocolate are well received. (And they go with anything!)ReplyCancel

  • Margo - When I got my first apt, I got cloth napkins from my mom. They add a touch of class to a dinner party, and are useful at Thanksgiving. Just don’t get red like I did — harder to wash. You can find a lot of them in cute textures or patterns.

    Not something you’d normally buy yourself, but is a touch of luxe.ReplyCancel

  • asgreen - What about a cute tray. It sound like a weird gift but I was given one that can be used for food. I love it so much that I use it to throw my keys and stuff into so I can see it every day.ReplyCancel

  • Saving My Bacon - If your friend is a foodie or wine connoisseur, how ’bout a nice bottle of chardonnay or cabernet and a wine rack?

    I’m currently lusting after a compact wine chilling fridge for my kitchen…I found one online for $99!


  • Kathleen - How about picture frames? Because you work with her, you can just stop by her desk to check out what kinds of frames she likes.ReplyCancel

  • quarterlifegirl - I’d say something consumable…especially if you don’t know her decor, or if she already owns a teapot. I hate getting clutter, even if its very thoughtful it’ll still end up as clutter. I like the cheese suggestion, or wine, or even the selection of teas since she’d eventually consume them. (If it was me, the cloth napkins sound nice!!! But again, you don’t know if she already has them or would actually use them.)ReplyCancel

  • dogatemyfinances - This sounds like an etsy mission. You could get something quirky and cute like a flowerpot or a teapot.ReplyCancel

  • Ash - In general, anything in black or white is usually a safe gift regardless of color scheme or design style. One gift I have always gotten rave reviews for is a bedside water carafe and glass. Crate & Barrell has this very modern design for $20. It can be used for water, as an iced tea pitcher in summer and for mixing 1-2 cocktails in a pinch.

    See http://www.crateandbarrel.com/family.aspx?c=190&f=9512&q=water+carafe&fromLocation=Search&DIMID=400001&SearchPage=1

    In general I love CB for gifts… you can usually wander around & find something that will catch your eye…ReplyCancel

  • FrugalChick - I love soy candles, plants, or even bottles of sparkling wine–sometimes it’s just more fun than regular wine. :)ReplyCancel

  • SavingDiva - I like CC’s idea of a plant! I love plants, but they’re something you never buy for yourself. If you get something like a peace lily, you don’t even need to know how much light the apartment gets.ReplyCancel

  • Onegirl - When I moved into my house, I received several of the Bath and Body Works handsoaps in a pump. I put them in the different bathrooms, and it doesn’t matter what scent/decor you have because you always need soap in the bathroom.

    Other than that, I loved the wine/wine rack that I received. I always use it.ReplyCancel

  • laughing808 - pictures frames
    gift certificateReplyCancel

  • L.A. Daze - http://www.teaforte.com/store/tea-accessories/

    Check this out. They have a bunch of cute stuff. BF got me a sampler set and a tea pot, cup, and a couple of tea holders. I love it because it’s just a great way to enjoy my tea (and I love my tea!). Plus these things are just adorable.

    Egglings! She can crack them open and grow them into little flowers. http://www.redenvelope has them. That site is pretty great in general. Or you can just google: eggling.

    Candles are always nice.ReplyCancel

  • Bro - I usually bring a bottle of wine for house warming. Perfect for your price range, $15 to $20. What type of wine? That all depends on your taste, I would recommend getting something you like to drink, as the wine will more than likely be served the same night. You could also pair the wine with a simple bouquet of flowers.

    For closer friends, I’ve given ceramic vase, crystal decanter, small painting… I tend to stay away from essentials (plates, silverware, furniture) because people tend to have those things. So I stick to small decor items.

    Have a great time at the party.ReplyCancel

  • moody - my favorite housewarming gift was actually a cd. it was an artist that a friend thought i would like. not your normal hw present, but i liked it.

    the runner up was a couple boxes of decadent chocolate cookies.

    i agree with others that consumables are a good way to go. i received a ceramic hot chocolate pot that was cute, but i knew i would never use.

    i like to receive practical presents as well, so maybe you could put together a gift basket. like nice bars of soap, shampoo, and conditioner. or laundry detergent, fabric softener, and stain remover. or any combination of products that go together.ReplyCancel

  • Carmit - Have you considered something handmade? I have found some great – reasonably priced, unique gofts on http://www.etsy.comReplyCancel

  • jen clare - I am totally all about cloth napkins with initials monogrammed! If you’re craft enough, you could even make your own (using bargain but still cute fabric) – just fold edges twice and stitch close and take somewhere to have them monogrammed.

    Make or purchase a set of 6 or 8 and there you go!

    OR… if you REALLY want something cute thoughtful AND thrifty yet still personalized, make (or purchase) the napkins and find washable ink and a cute stamp. Stamp a cute pattern in the corner. Adorable and totally personal! :)ReplyCancel

  • Margo - I read the comments and am delighted I’m not the only one who likes cloth napkins :-)ReplyCancel

  • T - I haven’t read the comments, but I always get people glasses or a decanter set with glasses. It’s so universal and you can do water, wine, martini, funky… doesn’t matter. Everyone can use more glasses and they’re surprisingly cheap AND if they don’t like them, they can totally re-gift them.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Hi,
    I love cloth napkins as well. My favorites are just good old fashioned white cotton cause they can be bleached if they get stained. You can buy or make cool napkin rings relatively cheaply as well.

    What I like to give for birthday/wedding/shower gifts is the ingredients for a mixed drink and a set of glasses. Ex: green apple martini fixings and a set of cool martini glasses. If it is a party you can even make the host the drink so she is trying out the gift immediately. This has always been a big hit for me!ReplyCancel

  • Marisol - How about one of those scent infusers? She can put it anywhere in her house. Lavender would be great in the bedroom for it’s calming qualities.ReplyCancel

  • BW - I’m late to the comment party, and perhaps will be a bit of a kill-joy..

    I just bought my own place a few months ago and am living alone for the first time ever (and loving it).

    My ideal housewarming gift would be something small and a gift card to Target or Home Depot or Lowes…

    I KNOW I KNOW people think gift cards are tacky…BUT here’s my reasoning…
    my tastes are very specific and different from my friend’s. Home decor gifts I have received in the past were not things I would have picked out…if you don’t knwo what colors she like, be careful or go neutral.

    I don’t like candles. They give me headaches, so unless you know she likes candle (most people do, but you never know).

    So I am sorry to be Debbie-downer, but my recommendation is something consumable (wine/champange) or a gift card…..OR what abotu this…is she in a new neighborhood? what about a gift certificate to a restaurant or nail place or boutique in her new neighborhood to encourage her to explore???ReplyCancel

  • Slinky - Anything consumable, and preferably something you know the person consumes at least occasionally. Whatever anyone thinks of, there is always someone out there that will hate it, so I try to find something I know they’ll use. Personally, I’d try to find out what kind of tea she drinks (black, green, flavored, herbal, spice?) and get some of that (www.specialteas.com is good). To throw in an original idea, I’ve sometimes gifted a small box of spice blends from Penzey’s, especially for people just getting their first place.ReplyCancel

  • School Girls - Hey there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    Looks I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding
    one? Thanks a lot!ReplyCancel

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