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Traditional Housewarming Gifts (And What They Symbolize)

Posted By Tipnut On January 4, 2012 @ 11:50 am In Household | 16 Comments

Here are a handful of items that are traditionally given to new homeowners with each holding their own special meaning. I’ve done some research and some say they are rooted in Jewish custom, others say Italian, German, Russian. I think it’s safe to say they each started in the “old country” (Europe) and have carried over to the new (America).

If you’ve always wondered why an item was given and what it meant, here’s a handy reference list for you.


  • Bread: So that this house may never know hunger…or…So your cupboards will always be full
  • Salt: Given with the message “That life may always have flavor”, can also represent added luxury or flavor to life
  • Sugar: Means “So your life shall always have sweetness”
  • Wine: Symbolizes the hope “That joy and prosperity may reign forever”…or…”That your family will never be thirsty”…or…”So you will always be of good cheer”
  • Honey: So that you may always enjoy the sweetness of life
  • Broom: “So your home may always be clean” or “To help sweep away any evil and bad luck”
  • Coin: “So you may dwell in good fortune”
  • Candle: “So that this house will always have light” or “So you may dwell in light and happiness”

You can give a single item, a couple or fill a basket with all of them. Make each a little more special by wrapping in ribbon or raffia, cover jar lids with fabric or lace. Tuck in a handwritten note with the meaning of each item given.

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