Welcoming a new family to the neighborhood is really important. Not only are you given the opportunity to make new friends, you can also make them feel special.
Here are 4 inexpensive things that you can make using items from home that would make a great house-warming and welcome to the neighborhood gift.
1. Treats in a jar-I like to make these at Christmas time; but any occasion will do. They’re very easy to make, fun to decorate, and they make a great present. I like to make brownies in a jar so here are the ingredients and how you can make them. You’ll need a 1 quart mason jar, 1 2/3 cup of granulated sugar, ¾ cup of cocoa, 1 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of baking powder, ¼ teaspoon of salt, ¾ cup of chocolate chips, and ¾ cup of chopped nuts. You should always keep in mind that the recipient may be allergic to nuts so I usually omit them. You want to carefully layer each ingredient as they are listed (in order), wiping the inside of the jar after each one. You can use either a paper towel or a small white cloth. As you add the ingredients press down firmly before adding the next one. It’s really important to do this especially after the cocoa; otherwise the layers will “run” together. After everything is added set the jar aside. Now that the hard part is over (which you’ll see really isn’t so hard at all), you’ll want to decorate the lid. Some people purchase a decorative piece of fabric from a craft store but if money is tight you can always use a small colorful napkin such as the ones you buy for birthday parties. This fabric will be placed in between the top cover and the lid itself. After placing the fabric the next step is to work on the ribbon. I like to use colors that coordinate or by theme, but you can use any color or style that you’d like. Wrap the ribbon around the lid, tie a knot, make a bow, curl the ends with scissors, and ta-da, you’re finished with the preparation. The final step is to attach the recipe so the recipient knows how to bake the brownies. You can hand write them or type them. I prefer to type them because my handwriting isn’t always legible. Here are the directions: Pour brownie mix into a large mixing bowl; stir. Add ¾ cup of melted butter or margarine, 2 large eggs, 3 teaspoons of water, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract; stir well. Spread into greased 13×9 baking pan and bake for 18-25 minutes at 350 degrees. So not only is your neighbor getting a thoughtful gift, they are also getting a sweet treat.
2. Gift baskets are another great and inexpensive gift. If you’re anything like me I have baskets that I have no idea where I got them from or how long I’ve had them. I usually use one of those; as long as they’re in good condition. To make the basket nice to look at you can thread ribbon throughout, add a few bows, or even paint it. Whatever you think looks nice is perfectly fine. The recipient won’t be critiquing your work; they’ll be too busy being appreciative. In the basket add a variety of things like a map of the area, a magazine of things to do in the city, coupons for an inexpensive family outing, a gift certificate for a local restaurant, or seeds that they can use to plant flowers or veggies. If the new neighbors have small children you can add a few fun things like playing cards, sidewalk chalk, or bubbles. Not only will the adults like it so will the little ones.
3. Pots-Whether you have a green thumb or are someone who just doesn’t have any place to keep small yet important items, this craft can be used in many ways. The materials needed are a clay pot, paint, a paintbrush, craft clue, buttons, beads, or anything else creative that you can think of. You can purchase a small or medium sized clay pot at a craft store or at Wal-Mart which will be very inexpensive. To get started I suggest that you wash the pot and dry with a paper towel. I’ve left it overnight just to ensure that it’s completely dry. After the pot is prepared you can paint it. Use any color you like or a color that you think the new neighbors would enjoy. Allow the paint to dry and then glue on buttons, beads, etc. You can also apply glitter or use spray glitter to give the pot a little shine or you can draw designs throughout. Again this pot can be used to plant flowers or hold kitchen utensils, spare change, paperclips, or anything else that may need a place.
4. Probably the least expensive gift that you can make is a dinner dish. You already have the ingredients so you don’t have to make a trip to the store. However it would be nice if you try to find out what they like and plan the meal accordingly. I usually make an American dish because you can’t go wrong with that.
Because we’re a military family we’ve been the new kids on the block many times. So we’ve really appreciated being welcomed in a special way. If you’re friendly and creative I guarantee that your new neighbors will be appreciative and you can make a new friend; without breaking the bank.