When you’re battling boxes, imagine the relief of not having to locate the pots and cook dinner at the end of the day (especially if you have kids). If you have a new neighbor moving in, go over and introduce yourself and invite them for dinner some night soon. It doesn’t have to be a formal affair — in late summer, nothing quite beats a simple dinner of burgers on the grill, a hearty green salad, and grilled peaches topped with ice cream and shortbread cookies.
For moms and dads with kids at home to feed, having a stash of healthy, pre-made dinners stashed away is helpful when you’re too tired to cook. Give new neighbors a leg up in stocking the freezer (and a night off from cooking) by delivering a homemade lasagna or another freezer-friendly meal like homemade pasta with a Bolognese sauce that they can warm up that night — or later in the week.
If your idea of dinner is picking up a roast chicken, baking off a loaf of par-baked bread, and tossing together some greens with blue cheese, Craisins, and a dash of dressing (or just going out) don’t feel compelled to cook for your new neighbor, especially if you fear you’ll scare them away with your cooking.
Instead, let them in on all your restaurant favorites and go-to sources for the best produce, coffee, muffins, meat, fish, and more. And if you create a document with names, numbers, and addresses in a word processing program, updating it and gifting new editions to future neighbors is easy.
This is an oldie but a goodie — I once had a neighbor who did this for me when I moved. For the giver, who would object to or turn down a bottle of Champagne? And for the new neighbor, there is no better way to celebrate the first night in your new home than with a glass of something bubbly.
I find that there is no better way to get to know a new place than by exploring it by foot. If you live in a rural area or part of the country where hiking and biking trails abound, pack your neighbors a picnic lunch and a list of some of your favorite hikes, bike rides, picnic areas, and other outdoor activities (family-friendly, if necessary) to get them started off on the right foot. Literally.
If your new neighbors have kids, invite them all over for a get-together to meet other area children. For those who have a pool, plan an afternoon swim with lemonade and popsicles for both parents and kids to make new friends.
Or just invite the kids over for some crafts, playing on the swing set, or to make and decorate cookies. Your kids will love having new buddies to play with while their mom and dad will likely be grateful for some time without child interruption to focus on clearing away boxes and setting up bedrooms.
Welcoming new neighbors need not be a solo effort. If you live in a small neighborhood where everyone gets together regularly, host a special cocktail party for the new residents. Make a big batch of sangria and put on some good music. Ask guests (aside from the new couple) to pitch in and bring additional appetizers (here are some of our favorites), beer, and wine to ensure there is enough. As guests arrive, ask them to fill out a name tag with their name and one great thing about living in the neighborhood/town.
Even if you love to cook, there are often nights when all you want to do is pick up the phone, order in sushi or pizza for delivery, and relax with a bottle of wine on the couch. So why not gift that to your new neighbor?
Assemble a package of takeout menus, a bottle of wine, and maybe some locally-produced specialty foods like cheese, honey, and/or jams. Short of hooking up the cable internet connection and unpacking for them, it’s a good way to make their night a whole lot better.