The Cosy Home guide to house warming gifts

We’ve all given housewarming presents and either held or given housewarming parties, but there’s more behind the tradition than you might realise.

If you’ve just moved in and you’re thinking of having a housewarming party, you need to get your skates on! Tradition dictates that the event needs to happen within 180 days of moving in, and the act of inviting in friends and filling the house with good intentions helps to ward off evil spirits. And if you’ve ever wondered why it’s called a ‘housewarming’, it’s because traditional presents were logs of wood – friends and neighbours would come over with kindling and fill the fireplaces to warm the house for the new owners.

Rather than turning up with a pot plant or a few cut flowers, we’ve put together some ideas for housewarming gifts based on tradition – but with a modern twist.


Yep, that’s right, the fruit. Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering it in the Caribbean in 1493, and due to its usual appearance and delicious flavour it quickly became a favourite holiday souvenir for sailors to take home. A pineapple displayed outside a sailor’s lodging meant that the owner was in residence and ready to be hospitable. That’s the reason you can still see stone pineapples on top of gateposts in front of some houses. These days, it might ironically be considered a bit stingy to turn up with nothing but a fresh pineapple (not to mention a little odd!), so try one of these pineapple-y accessories instead.

Copacabana golden cushion, £18 from Arthouse.

Pineapple chopping board, £32.95 from Printer + Taylor.

Bread, wine and salt

This is a very traditional gift, in fact, the giving of these three items may date back thousands of years. The symbolism of the bread is that the house may never know hunger, the wine is that prosperity and joy may fill the house and the salt is that life there may always have flavour. Rather than turning up with a loaf of Hovis, try these alternatives:
Charlotte Watson cream upright traditional bread crock, was £56 now £50.40 from Amaroni Home.
Bloomingville Cecile ceramic salt and pepper mill set in grey, £39 from Cult Furniture.
Set of four gold champagne flutes, £35 from MiaFleur. 


The origins of giving acorns as a gesture are German. Acorns were believed to have protective properties, and were placed in windows to ward off evil spirits. The ancient Norse thought they protected against Thor, god of thunder. Again, it’s unlikely your recipients will be overly grateful if you arrive with a bag of acorns, so take a look at these ideas:
Compton mirror, £229 from The Chandelier and Mirror Company. The frame is highly ornate with acorns intertwined with oak leaves.
Rustic ornamental sparrow perched on an acorn, £7.50 from The Farthing. Made from polyresin, this would work inside or out.


This one’s American in origin, and refers to the ‘burden’ baskets woven, plaited, twined or coiled by American Indians, still made today.  A relatively modern tradition is to place them at the the threshold of houses to encourage visitors to lay down their burdens before coming inside, preserving the atmosphere of harmony inside the building. Baskets for the home cover a wide range, from log baskets and fruit baskets to storage baskets and crates, but we like these rustic style baskets which give a nod to the original idea:
Oval rope storage baskets in pink and grey by Rice DK, £75 for a set of two from Berry Red. 

Medium rattan 32cm storage basket in electric blue and Aruba green by French brand Rose in April, £35 from Bobby Rabbit. 

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