It was an hour before my friend’s housewarming party, and I didn’t have a gift ready. But with the clock ticking down, I decided I couldn’t show up empty-handed. When I stopped by the grocery store on my way to the party at the last minute, I was delightfully surprised by the practical gift ideas I found there. If you’ve found yourself in the same situation, here are some unique ideas for you.
Most grocery stores sell beautiful potted plants (think orchids or azaleas) in the flower department that are longer lasting gifts than a bouquet of flowers that will wither in a week. Orchids make lovely gifts not only for housewarming parties but also for birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day, and you can always pick one up at the last minute.
Cupcakes, Cakes, or Pies
Desserts are a great gift for many occasions, and the grocery store is a convenient last minute source of cakes and pies. If you’re attending a housewarming event and aren’t sure what to bring, cupcakes are an easy winner with large groups. Gourmet grocery stores also carry individual dessert portions of tarts, napoleons, creme brulee, etc. Buy a box of 10 beautiful panna cotta cups and you’ve got a practical and delicious gift for the housewarming party.
Wine + Gourmet Chocolate
Most grocery stores carry a selection of artisan chocolates that are more expensive and perfect for special occasions like celebrating a new home. Pair a box of gourmet chocolates with a bottle of wine in a gift bag, and you’ve got a great gift for the housewarming that you can pick up at the last minute.
Gift Basket with Olive Oil, Balsalmic Vinegar, Honey, Pasta, Cookies
You can always assemble a practical gift basket of non-perishable staples like gourmet olive oils, pasta and pasta sauces, olives, balsamic vinegar, honey, cookies, crackers, and wine. It’s a very useful housewarming gift – anyone who cooks (some people) or anyone who snacks (all people) will at least get some use out of it.
A handwritten card is always appreciated and is a lovely gesture when paired with any of the items on this list. Even if you feel that an orchid or gourmet chocolates or cupcakes aren’t unique enough for a housewarming, when you add a nice handwritten note to any of them, you’ve immediately made your gift more thoughtful with only last minute planning.
Visit the cheese section of your grocery store and you’ll find a huge variety of high-end cheeses that you could combine to make a delicious cheese board to bring to the housewarming. Pair the cheese with gourmet water crackers and Italian salami, and you’ve assembled a lovely and delicious spread at the last minute.
You may not have noticed the gift card display at your local grocery store before, but most chain stores carry a huge variety of gift cards. You can find practical gifts here that almost anyone would appreciate and use, including gift cards for restaurants, coffee shops, electronics stores, sporting good stores, grocery stores, Home Depot, movie theaters, and the all powerful Amazon.com. Any new homeowner could make use of a gift like this, and it’s easy to pick up at the last minute.
Coffee and Tea
The variety of gourmet coffee and tea carried in your average grocery store these days is growing. If there’s a gourmet or specialty grocery store near you, you can probably even find high quality coffee cups and mugs or tea sets as a nice housewarming gift. You can even run over to your local Starbucks or Peets store at the last minute and find a practical gift for a coffee lover in their merchandise section.
You’re supposed to throw out your spices once a year because they lose their taste over time, but how many of us actually do this? I still have cayenne pepper in my pantry from 7 years ago because I rarely use it. But spices are supposed to be fresh – food is not supposed to last forever just because it’s been dried. So do your friend a favor and refresh her spice collection with new gourmet spices as a housewarming gift. Put the spices in a nice basket, and give her an practical excuse to throw out the old stuff and turn a new leaf in her new home.
Any time there is a holiday coming up, whether it’s Easter or July 4th or Valentines Day or Christmas, the grocery store will usually set up a special aisle with seasonal items and potential gifts for a month before the event. You can find some practical gift ideas in these aisles that are usually not carried by grocery stores but can be appropriate housewarming gifts.
Shopping for a foodie? Check out 15 Last Minute Kitchen Gifts For Foodies & Friends Who Like to Cook.
For other gift ideas: