Sunday, February 21, 2010

Toasted: A Housewarming Tradition

A housewarming gift comes from cultural traditions the world over. But for the most part, a housewarming gift comes from the heart, an act of giving from one friend to another. The true meaning of housewarming can be found when one friend sees the need of another, and tries in however small of measure to give something to help. May the roof above us never fall in And may we good companions beneath it never fall out. -- Irish Blessing From round bread loaves and salt to a classic kitchen gift, the tradition of housewarming gift giving has a long and venerable history. That history of a housewarming gift continues today as an effective means of bringing new neighbors together. The Tradition Boris removed his cap and wrung it nervously. A member of Russia’s ruling party was arriving in full regalia. The entourage moved through the village as merchants offered respect. Boris nervously ran to his cottage and asked his wife, Yelena, for the gift they had prepared for this moment. As the dignitary approached the outskirts of the village, Boris walked forward holding a round loaf of bread with a mound of salt in the center. “What’s this?” asked the dignitary. “Bread - for good health. Salt - for long life,” Boris said nervously. “For me?” queried the dignitary. “With glad welcome,” replied Boris as Yelena anxiously brushed back a strand of hair wondering if the gift would be well received. All was quiet while the dignitary lifted the bread and inhaled the fresh baked scent. “Such a wonderful welcome,” he said with a large grin. The village folk broke out into cheers as a new tradition was born. … While there is no definitive way of knowing exactly how housewarming gifts truly originated, some historians believe a scenario like the one above may have merit. Some will look back further to the birth of the Christ child and the gifts of the Magi. However it originated, the idea of giving a housewarming gift in honor of new neighbors or friends has long been celebrated. It has proven useful in either breaking the ice with those we have not known or celebrating a new chapter in the lives of those we have long cared for. Meaningful friendships have begun by observing this housewarming tradition. Housewarming Etiquette Housewarming gifts should be practical. A kitchen gift or cooking gift is always appreciated as neighbors or friends begin life in a new home. Housewarming gifts do not need to be overly expensive to be gratefully received. A very expensive housewarming gift given publicly can actually cause uncomfortable moments for the recipient as well as any other guests who may be in the home. So Many Choices While items for the outdoors may prove useful in some cases, a kitchen gift or cooking gift proves especially welcome in most scenarios. Even single men often find the kitchen of unique interest when seeking to entertain guests, so a housewarming gift for the kitchen may be appropriate more often than you might think. A Good Neighbor In a society that is increasingly mobile, a housewarming gift may be the perfect opportunity to lend support for someone who may be distanced from family. Your simple act of kindness in this housewarming tradition may well result in long term friendship and mutual support. In a society where we often don’t know our neighbor’s names, a housewarming gift provides a welcome means of connecting neighbors.

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