12 Traditional Housewarming Gifts and Their Symbolic Meanings

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Last updated: November 10, 2020

Are you invited to a housewarming party and you’re not sure what to bring? You can play it safe and bring food and drinks, or perhaps a decoration item for the new house. But you could also consider a traditional housewarming gift with a much more symbolic meaning that will leave a lasting impression.

Traditional housewarming gifts vary from culture to culture, but what they share is a symbol of well wishes from the giver to the new homeowner.

It is believed that the tradition of housewarming parties began in Europe, with many of the traditional housewarming gifts outlined below still used today.

Traditional housewarming gifts typically have deeper, symbolic meanings which is what makes these types of gifts extra special. Often these gifts, and the significance behind them, mean a lot more to the new home owner than just any other normal gift.

12 Traditional Housewarming Gifts

Below is a list of 12 traditional housewarming gifts and their symbolic meanings.

If you do decide to give your friend or family member one of these traditional or symbolic housewarming gifts when visiting their new house, make sure you attach a little note explaining the symbolism.

Or even better, you can also try to write a little poem to explain the symbolic meaning behind your traditional housewarming gift.

1. Bread

Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread?
By giving a loaf of bread, you are wishing that “those in this house may never go hungry”.

2. Honey

This sweet treat was once considered as precious as gold, and as a housewarming gift it represents the wish that your recipient “shall always enjoy the sweetness of life”.

Honey is a symbolic housewarming present

3. Broom

A broom is symbol for a home to be “forever clean and free of evil spirits and bad luck”.

4. Salt

If you give salt as a gift, you are wishing that “there always be flavor and spice in your life”.

Salt is a symbolic gift

5. Rice

Rice as a housewarming gift refers to fertility and you typically give this to a young couple. You are wishing: “May the love in your home multiply”.

6. Plants

By giving a plant as a housewarming gift, you are wishing the recipient: “May your home always be filled with life”. The idea behind this is that if they can keep a plant alive and well, they can also care for eachother and keep the relationship healthy.

Indoor plant

7. Wood

A gift made of wood symbolizes this: “May your home have stability, harmony, and peace”. Great examples of gifts made of wood are wooden cutting boards, door signs or small decoration pieces.

8. Candles

Candles often bring scent and light, symbolizing “hope through the darkest times”.

Candles are a traditional housewarming gift

9. Coins

By giving the gift of coins you are wishing the new home owner “luck and good fortune”.

10. Olive oil

Giving olive oil as a housewarming gift means: “May you be blessed with health and well-being”.

Olive oil is a traditional housewarming gift

11. Pineapple

Pineapple, believe it or not, symbolizes hospitality and friendship. Some say that it’s the host that gives away pineapples to their guests to welcome them to their new house and to declare their friendship.

But as awkward as it may be for the receiver, you can certainly give a pineapple as a your next housewarming gift, as long as you explain the symbolism it represents.

12. Wine

A bottle of wine on first glance is really nothing special for a housewarming gift, but wine can also have a symbolic meaning making it a traditional housewarming gift.

Wine is a traditional housewarming gift

Wine symbolizes joy, happiness and prosperity, so if you intend to give a bottle of wine to your host at your next housewarming party, it’s a good idea to attach a little note or poem to explain the symbolic meaning behind the bottle.

They will appreciate it even more!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this list will inspire you to go more traditional at your next housewarming party. No doubt these traditional and symbolic housewarming gifts will be very well received, because it’s always the thought that counts most, more than the actual gift itself.

A little poem or a note along with the gift will leave a long lasting memory.


12 Traditional housewarming gifts and their symbolic meanings

Thomas Dunnett

I created Ten Dollar Treats to help you find fun and unique gifts that won’t hurt your wallet. Gifts that are mostly useful, or otherwise a bit different.

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