How to welcome new neighbors with a good first impression

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KIt can feel scary to knock on your new neighbor’s door: What if they do not accept the gift basket? What if you do not hit it and then it is awkward every time you cross roads while taking out the trash? While your hesitation is completely understandable, etiquette expert Pamela Eyring, the owner and president of The Protocol School of Washington, says getting to know your neighbors is an important act of human-to-human compassion.

“Being kind feels good emotionally,” Eyring tells Well + Good. “It builds collaboration and comes in handy when neighbors need each other or need assistance.” For example, a good neighbor will let you know if your pet has broken loose from your yard, or take your child home if they peel their knees on their bike.

The reverse is also true: Taking a moment to meet with your neighbors will help them feel safe by asking you for a hand if they need it in the future. Like, maybe they should be out of town in a month and need someone to keep their monstera plant alive. And hey, it always feels good to make another solid.

Before bringing a welcome gift to your neighbor, Eyring has a few tips to ensure that your introduction is friendly, culturally sensitive and the first step towards a satisfying relationship with the neighbors. Here is your etiquette lesson.

How to welcome new neighbors

1. Keep it simple

Even the simplest gift can impress your neighbor. So if you think you need to be super original in what you give them, think again. “Traditionally, people show hospitality when they welcome through pastries and flowers. Pastries like homemade chocolate cakes or a loaf of pumpkin bread are a nice gesture,” says Eyring.

Just be sure to skip the nuts when baking them a nice dessert, as over three million Americans have nut allergies, she says. The recipe below can be adapted to be nut-, dairy- and gluten-free – so it is a total winner.

Try this easy to make pumpkin bread:

2. Be careful with the presentation

“Wrapping the treat in beautiful cellophane with ribbons makes it even more desirable and shows more time investment. The time you spent can be perceived as a more authentic welcome,” says Eyring. If you are not into cellophane, use the inside of a shopping bag instead of a cool, brown paper bag aesthetic.

Give something that enhances their new home

Let’s say your new neighbors have a beautiful backyard, but it could use one few more plants. “Flowers in a pot as such a Dutch garden variety is another great gift. Your new neighbor can show it off in their home and then plant the bulbs outdoors to get more flowers,” says Eyring. Consider giving them something that will beautify their green space and grow with them.

4. Keep cultural sensitivity in mind

“Gifts that are culturally sensitive are a must,” Eyring says. “Do not bring a bottle of wine as a welcome gift to those who may not be consuming alcohol.” Consider doing a little research beforehand so that your gift is appropriate and kind. You will start on a high note.

5. Welcome your new neighbors with local delicacies

Finding a local gift for your new neighbor is a great way to introduce them to their new zip code. Offer them fresh eggs or buy a picture frame designed by a local artist. That way, they get to know the area in a unique way (and it gives you a great opener.)

6. If your new neighbors have children, offer them something too

So your neighbors have kids? Gather them a little too. “For kids, water toys or a tub of colorful chalk provide a fun and inexpensive surprise,” says Eyring.

7. Stay in touch

Once the initial introduction is made, be sure to keep the conversation going. “An easy way to make a new neighbor feel welcome is to wave from your car or sidewalk as you cross paths in the neighborhood,” Eyring says. You can also hand over a list of some of your eateries, or offer them your number in case of emergency.

It really is up to you how much energy you want to contribute to this relationship. Sometimes it will be enough to say hello; other times you may want to establish a friendship with your neighbor. Either way, your warm welcome is complete.

‘Welcome to the neighborhood!’ Gifts

UrbanStems Flower Delivery

Send your new neighbors a bunch of flowers and a note for a simple “welcome to the neighborhood” gift.

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