As a child, my family lived what could be considered a somewhat transient lifestyle – and I can certainly see how the life of a military family like mine would appear that way. Sometimes only staying in a city/state/country for a year or two before moving meant we had very little time to waste when it came to building relationships, friendships, community – the crucial ingredients to making our newfound destination feel like home.
Unsurprisingly, many military families have turned the concept of “welcoming” into an art form. Shortly after moving into each new home, neighbors would arrive on our doorstep with food (the universal language of hospitality and friendship, as far as I’m concerned) and a warm smile, often with their entire family in tow. I absolutely loved these impromptu gatherings, and the fact that some are so solidified in my memory is a strong indication of the positive impact those heartfelt welcomes had on me, and likely my entire family.
I grew up understanding both the importance of community and the need to more-or-less expedite it! Welcoming new neighbors with intentionality had the effect of kick-starting relationships. In every-day American neighborhoods, that feeling of “sink or swim” doesn’t hit quite so hard or so quickly upon moving into a new home, but there is still a wonderful opportunity to build connections early on.
I’ve noticed when visiting with other local women that there seems to be a recurring desire for friendship and community where we live. I mean, what a gift it would be to have good friends within walking distance, don’t you think?!
If you, like me (and many others in my neck of the woods, it seems!), have the desire to cultivate friendships right in your own neighborhood, read on for some recommendations on how to start things off on the right food – I mean foot.
Pop this all in a cute bag or basket. Bonus points if it’s something your new neighbor can reuse – even more bonus points if it has a design that calls attention to the area like this super cute tote.
You can’t coordinate arrival, so an impromptu front-door visit is great!! The most crucial component of this whole approach is to introduce yourself and kickstart that friendship. Go over at a time the new neighbor is most likely to be home (and not at dinner time or after dark – we’re going for good first impressions here!), knock on the door and be ready to share a friendly smile. Remember, while you may feel the butterflies start to flutter as you stand on their doorstep, this act of kindness is something that will deeply resonate.
For more ideas to create a lovely housewarming gift for new neighbors, I suggest taking a look at these 15 unique DIY ideas. There are some fun twists to the welcome gift concept that I’m considering trying out!
If you don’t have anyone moving in near you, but would still like to grow relationships with your current neighbors there is always opportunity! A few small changes in your routine can create moments for you to engage with them. Pausing as you both arrive home at the same time to visit in the driveway or popping out to say “hi” when you see them working in the yard or on a walk. Even something as simple as spending more time in your front yard and porch rather than the backyard can create frequent opportunities to connect with those near you.
Let us know what you think of these ideas and suggestions. Do you have favorite memories of people welcoming you to a new home? We’d love to know what made them memorable!