Picture this scenario. You open your mail and along with bills and magazines, you spot an envelope postmarked from your BFF, cousin, co-worker, or someone else in your social circle. You open the envelope and happily discover that it's a housewarming invitation! You're so excited to attend the party and share their happy news but have no clue what to get them. Oh no. What should you do?!
Don't panic, we're here to help. Take a look at our list of the best and worst housewarming gift ideas below. No, we didn't make this list up. We actually asked our AOL Shopping readers to reveal the best and worst housewarming gifts they've ever given or received. Here are a few winning housewarming gifts that will have your friends or family singing your praises. Just stay away from the lousy gifts at the bottom of the page.
"My husband and I have gotten a lot of gifts over the years--some good, some bad, and some downright god-awful. The best gift we've gotten? That one goes to my cousin who sent us a Cuisinart Bread Machine
. The bread maker isn't God, but it sure is close! We've saved a ton of money on bread (haven't bought store bread since the machine showed up) not to mention the bread is world's above anything you could buy in a store." -- Billie
"My husband and I were newspaper editors at the time, and a co-worker brought us a housewarming gift that was both thoughtful and personal to us. We were given a tray of wooden blocks that had words on them. You set this tray on a table in your living area, and people can re-arrange the wooden block words to create sentences and thoughts. As people who worked with words every day, we found this gift to be special and geared toward us. The Words Cubed Poetry For Your Table
is simple and inexpensive but fun." -- Patricia
"When friends or family members make a big move, it's always nice to extend a warm congratulations their way. The gift should speak to their style and personality. Give them something they can use on a daily basis such as a set of wine glasses
, gourmet culinary good or an her garden. The best gift I received upon moving into my new apartment was a membership to Wine of the Month Club
. Nothing is better than relaxing in my apartment with good friends and a good bottle of wine. It's the gift that keeps on giving." -- Lauren
"After my husband and I relocated across the country, we were a little nervous about getting settled in. There were all kinds of things to worry about, including city navigation, where to buy groceries and more. We were so relieved to get a housewarming gift that addressed some of these issues. It was a grab bag of sorts, chock-full of city maps, a list of strange words and how to pronounce them, a car sun visor
(since we moved to Arizona) as well as a gift card for a nearby movie theater. We were beyond grateful!" -- Wendy
"I do love plants as a traditional housewarming gift. Then I realized, not everyone cares to care for live vegetation. My friends forget to water and are embarrassed when I come by and see the sick or dead remains of what was supposed to be beautifying their space. Instead, I've switched to giving pretty colored water bottles
with a built in filter. We all need to keep hydrated and with six different colored tops, every member of the home can have their own personal bobble or give each person a couple of colors to choose from. No need to worry about clean water to go anywhere you do, just fill er up and your all set. Lightweight and easy to clean. It feels great giving a gift that is good for the environment, good for the recipients and easy on the wallet." -- Susan M.
"Another friend of ours surprised us with a brand new Blu-Ray Player
. A simple looking Sony model, it's the perfect upgrade to our aging DVD player, and does everything a Blu-Ray player needs to do: plays Blu-Ray's and DVD's. Another one of those items that's great to have around before you move in so yo can have a bit of entertainment while unpacking or while eating the meal you just cooked in the Aroma Rice Cooker!" -- J.
"I move a lot because of my fiance's job and there's always something I forget when moving into a new home. The best housewarming gift I could ever get would be a throw blanket
. It's not a major item that I usually remember to bring but is always necessary. If you're napping, watching TV, reading or just sitting around with friends and family it's always something good to have around. It's as simple as $15 from Walmart but considering I always forget one, it would be a great gift." -- Erin
"The best housewarming gift I ever received was a set of Caldrea Cleaning Products
, in the Basil Blue Sage scent, from my best friend when I moved into my new house. I had all my cleaning supplies packed up in boxes, along with everything else I owned. After receiving this kit, I could actually start to clean my house without having to worry about going through a mound of boxes during my first days of living there. I liked that the set came in an adorable little bucket, which I used to mop my floors, and everything included was eco-friendly and pet safe as well, which is something that my friend knew about me. Plus, the scent was heavenly, and my new home smelled great." -- Susan P.
"After moving into our new home, we received about four different kinds of products (think Glade
) that were designed to make the house smell better. While that's a fine gift that has its utilitarian purpose, it felt a bit generic and the scents weren't ones we'd choose ourselves." -- Wendy
"The worst housewarming gifts are knick-knacks. Yes, it's nice to have personal items around your home but it's not very often the gift giver's idea of cute is the same as yours. Their kitchen full of pig figurines
and piglet clocks is probably far off of the look you're going for. Leave the small things to the homeowner." -- Erin G.
"Positively the worst (and funniest) housewarming gift I have ever received was a candy basket
from my new neighbor. Now, although this type of gift may seem to be thoughtful, useful and considerate, there were some speculations which I was expected to follow after being handed the basket. First of all, the basket was tiny and had 4 small pieces of what appeared to be broken up candy canes...hmmm. Secondly; my new neighbor asked that I return the basket after "enjoying" its contents....ok." -- Renee
"When I moved into my home 5 years ago, I received 2 gifts that remain with me to this day. My sister-in-law gave me a decorative and contemporary stainless steel fruit bowl
. I'm sure she had no idea that fruit bowl would remain a source of inspiration, guilt and complete mismatch in my kitchen, foyer, or any other place I move it to in an attempt to find a home for it. While the bowl will always be meaningful to me, it really doesn't match my personal style or any of the decor in my house. Thoughtful: Yes. Wise: No." -- Kristen
"The absolute weirdest gift I ever got was a giant ceramic chicken bowl
. Standing almost two feet tall, it was too big to be a centerpiece. It was marked as food grade paint, but the bowl was too narrow to be used as a serving dish and too big to be used as a personal dish. There was a hole so it could have been hung on the wall, but it was kind of oval. So it didn't hang flush. It rocked. And did I mention It was shaped like a giant chicken? It came from someone I love and respect who was so pleased when I opened it. So I could never quite bring myself to ask what it was intended for. I still have it, packed away. Somewhere." -- Shellie
"When I was 25, I moved into a co-op in Brooklyn Heights. Just a small studio, a simple box of a place, but I was excited. After spending a miserable weekend moving in a van full of hand-me-down furniture and second-hand appliances -- which involved having to bribe the doorman to keep the migrant band of homeless men away from my stuff -- I took a look around. Boy, did my apartment look like crap. I decided the fastest and easiest way to remedy the situation was to throw a big housewarming party, because people bring cool gifts to housewarming parties, right? ... A friend came, and tossed me a blue plastic ball. "What is this?" I asked him. "Oh," he responded, "it is a Play and Freeze Ice Cream Ball
, but make sure to clean it before using it." I opened the lid of the ball. The rich and heady smell of mildew escaped. "Like I said, you need to wash it. And it really doesn't work, so I wouldn't bother." He smiled and grabbed another beer from the fridge. And so it went that night." -- Jared
"When my husband and I finally finished renovating our 100 year old home in Missouri, I was relived. I was frightened too. I feared the housewarming gifts. Over the years I had received everything from a phone shaped like a motorcycle
to an ashtray featuring a wizard
from well meaning friends and relatives." -- Melanie
"So there I stood seven summers ago, sweeping leaves from the tiny patch of sidewalk in front of my very first owned-home. It didn't matter that it measured only 800 square feet. That evening as I awaited my friends and family to pack in for a housewarming, I felt as if I had purchased the moon itself. The worst gift...the tackiest seashell toilet seat
I have ever seen. OK-the only
one I had ever seen, but that was enough. How on earth would I ever explain its absence from my one and only bathroom?" -- Elizabeth
"Bad housewarming gifts are generally not
useful and have a theme that distracts from the decor of the house. For example, an animal salt and pepper shaker set
is not a good housewarming gift. Most houses are not designed with an animal theme. Therefore, the salt and pepper shakers will not match the other china, and they will be distracting. This is especially not a good gift if the couple does not like animals." -- Mara
You've heard from a few of our readers. Now it's YOUR turn. Have you ever gotten a terrible housewarming gift (one that had you wondering "What is that!?"). Or, maybe you've received an amazing housewarming gift that you still use to this day. Tell us about it in the comment section below.