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Housewarming Gifts: Gracious Gifts

Martha Stewart Living, September 2000

Breakfast Basket

A healthy breakfast is often the last thing on your new neighbors' minds as they struggle to unpack and resume normal lives. Line a basket with vintage tea towels and fill it with everything they need to start the day off right -- coffee, tea, milk, sugar, orange juice, scones, butter, and marmalade. All they have to do is find the kettle and French press. Include a card with your name, address, phone number, and an invitation for coffee when they're ready to return the basket.


Fried Chicken Dinner

A real meal can be hard to come by in the early days of unpacking. Requiring no cutlery or plates, fried chicken with biscuits, here served in a vintage cake tin, is delicious. Include paper napkins so your neighbors won't need to have anything on hand. And everyone knows fried chicken tastes even better the next day.



Picture-Hanging Kit

A new house finally feels like home when the pictures are hung. Gather all the necessary hardware -- including wire, nails, and hooks -- to make a tough job less daunting. For a single friend, include a coupon promising an afternoon of help in a task that can be impossible to tackle alone.




Fill a bucket with the basics any new house needs: light bulbs, an extension cord, paper towels, a tape measure. Include maps and other useful neighborhood information, such as trash-collection and recycling schedules, and train timetables. You might also want to type up a list of your recommendations for the best local dry-cleaner, grocer, hardware store, and pizza shop, among others.


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