When you move to a new duty station, and into a new home and don't know a soul, there's something extra special about someone near by taking the time to introduce themselves ... while holding food.
Maybe it's all the boxes. Maybe it's the idea that if you locked yourself out of your home right that second you wouldn't know a soul. Maybe it's that all that unpacking just makes you really hungry.
The problem is, when you're the one getting the new neighbors, taking the time to come up with some kind of presentable food offering, put on pants and haul yourself over there is really daunting. And, what's worse, if you don't make it happen within that first-week window and then perpetually avoid introducing yourself because, ya know, you should've-but-you-didn't, you will spend the rest of your time near them feeling like the jerk who couldn't slap together rice krispie treats.
And no one wants to be that guy.
That's why I recently decided to break the no-welcome cycle, get my act together, and take a few neighbors a proper how-do-you-do. Here's what I came up with:
The perfect new-neighbor welcome gift:I wanted to put together something both tasty and useful without spending a lot of money or time working on it. A little Pinterest cruising helped me rule out elaborate gift baskets (too much work) or a gifted welcome mat (more than I wanted to spend).
Instead I came up with this project -- a bag of homemade treats (easy!) paired with a note card full of local tips such as the best dentist and a number for a local babysitter.
Interested? Here's how I did it.
1. Bake something delicious and easy to package.
I decided to go with chocolate chip cookies -- simple and yummy. Don't have a great chocolate chip cookie recipe? I use a version of this one to make a giant batch. Drop the vanilla down to 1 tsp and omit the salt, and you're in business.
2. Gather your welcome bag supplies.You could just take your new neighbors a plate of delicious cookies and be done with it. You really could.
Or, you could take them something that says "I'm a crafty helper person."
Here's what you'll need:
-- Delicious treat
-- A small paper sack or other container
-- Some twine or string
3. Print and fill-out your welcome card.I love this printable because it is attractive AND helpful. If you wanted to find a problem with it, you could say that it is clearly designed to give to someone who has kids. I'm not crafty enough to make my own version for a childless neighbor, but if you wanted to do that and share it with us, we'd love to post and share it here.
I printed mine on some nice card stock, used my paper cutter to slice it up and punched a hole in the corner so I could tie it to the bag.
For the record, you can check out the post this idea originally came from over here. Many thanks to that site for sharing such an awesome printable card!
4. Assemble your bags.Since my paper bags were just paper and not lined with anything, I stuffed some parchment paper in them to keep the buttery deliciousness of the cookies from leaving grease spots deliciousness marks. If you checked out the blog post this idea came from, you'll notice that she used tin tie bags -- the kind your coffee comes in. Alas, I couldn't find any at the craft store so it was the ol' paper kind for me.
I strung a single piece of crafty string through the cards, folded the top of the bag down and knotted the twine in the back. Ta-da! So easy, classy and helpful looking. I get warm, fuzzy feelings just thinking about someone bringing me one.
5. Delivery time!We took our bags down to what turned out to be a house full of Army LTs recently returned from Afghanistan and a neighbor with two little boys.
Now, go out and meet the new people around you!