The History Of Gift Occasions

One of the most common occasions for buying gifts for the home is the housewarming party.  In years gone by the party was held within three months of moving into a new home and its purpose was for the people who had moved in to show off their new residence to their friends for whom it was customary to bring household gifts.

Origins Of Housewarming

The presents were either something for the house like a picture, plant or glassware or some plonk to be enjoyed at the party.  The housewarming term comes from the days when a new home was literally warmed by fire, obviously in the times before central heating was widely installed. Gifts for the home would be mainly firewood and the guest would start up fires in all the fireplaces in the residence.

Making the fires had a dual purpose – apart from obviously giving the house some warmth the tradition was supposed to keep evil spirits at bay by setting up a protective barrier of warmth

Gifts for home housewarming parties have changed. Gifts for early parties in past generations would be foodstuffs like pies, bacon, eggs and flour for breadmaking.

Housewarming And Newcomers Parties In Other Countries

Going back even further and to old Russian folk custom the gifts were even more basic – bread and salt.  When the emperor and his wife visited a village a visit the upper class landed gentry and traders showed their hospitality by giving their VIP guests a loaf topped with a mound of salt.

Newlyweds coming to live in the village were given the same combination to make sure they had the basics in life. The bread and salt combination was a figurative gesture meant to make sure the newcomers’ pantry would always be adequately filled. In some cases sugar, to ensure a sweet life, was handed over.

Wedding Gifts

Another occasion when gifts for home come flooding in is a wedding.  Once again things have moved on since couples ended up with five toasters, enough towels to fill a hotel and a couple of dozen wine glasses.

It started a few years ago with a list on a piece of paper passed around friends and family who crossed off whichever item they were going to buy.

The scene was all too familiar. Friends and family sat in the pub, questions like … Who’s got the list? Has anyone bought the towels yet? Has the toaster been crossed off yet? etc, etc.

Now technology has taken over. Couples decide which store they would like the present from, an electronic list is created and gift buyers can either go online or use an instore screen to choose what they are going to buy.