Gift ideas for the new homeowner on your Christmas list

So, I was just over at Starbucks and my personal barista asked, “Are you ready for Christmas?” and I said, “Why? Is it coming?” I kind of lose track of key dates sometimes. So, no, I’m not ready for Christmas. And maybe you’re not, either.

In today’s installment I’ll be frantically shopping for gift ideas for the new homeowner, or the ill-equipped old homeowner. In fact, some of the ideas might be OK for an apartment dweller or for even those living in campers or tents. But the ideas are for people who have just recently attached themselves to the newfound joys of living in a thing that thrives on your checkbook.

Let’s start at the front door with what’s commonly referred to as a “welcome mat.”

There is a marvelous array of welcome-mat messages, from your family’s last name, to “Hold On, I’m Probably Not Wearing Pants.” Some express the hope that the visitor is bringing wine or bourbon, others demand to see a warrant.

I’d suggest something simple, like one that just bears the message, “Hi, I’m Mat.” (Poshmark; $39.)

Hi, I’m Mat, from Poshmark.

Your basic homeowners know what their house looks like. And I know what my grandfather looked like. Doesn’t mean I don’t want a painted portrait of him looking regal in my smoking lounge. So, here’s a unique item for a gift: a watercolor painting of your gift-getter’s house, looking young and vernal. Maybe ask the artist to throw a few extra sea lavenders and colorful touch-me-nots around the porch. (Our Home Together; from $40.)

Our Home Together offers watercolors of your house, from $40.

Chances are your new-home-owning friends have moved from another ZIP Code area and are constantly having to go through a long and arduous process of searching through records to rediscover their new ZIP. If only there were an easier way. There is! A throw pillow with your ZIP on it! An unforgettable gift! (Amazon; $24.50.)

Keep forgetting your new ZIP Code? Never again with this ZIP pillow from Amazon.

A homeowner’s gotta have tools. Gone are the days when they could call their landlord and whine about how the electrical outlet’s face plate is loose. Now that your pals have a house, they’re going to find out how often a house breaks. And when your house breaks, you’re going to need a nice collection of tools. You can buy sets with 200 or more pieces, but your friends probably aren’t going to be building a car, just fixing up things around the house, so a 57-pece Tacklife Household Tool Kit probably has everything you’ll need for such issues as installing and repairing small appliances and furniture and leaky faucets. (Amazon; $17.99).

Your basic set of home-fixin’ tools from Tacklife.

Maybe your homeowner has plenty of tools but doesn’t have a clue with what to do with them. Sort of like an octopus with a set of bagpipes. There are entire libraries full of books telling you how to grapple with problems in your home. I happen to like the basically titled “The Home Owner’s Manual,” which will tell you how to monkey around with virtually everything in your house, from remodeling your kitchen to cleaning your chimney. I’ve never cleaned my chimney, but maybe your friends are more conscientious and motivated than I am. (Amazon; $34.44.)

“The Homeowner’s Manual” is the Bible of home maintenance.

New homeowners love to entertain. At first. The enthusiasm wanes eventually, but for a while they’re throwing get togethers at a ridiculous pace. You need a lot of stuff to entertain, but an essential piece is an engraved serving tray for cutting and displaying an array of meats,  cheeses, fruit and assorted hors d’oeuvres. May I suggest this elegant marble-and-wood tray? And be sure to have your name etched into it so  when you take it to other people’s homes, they won’t be tempted to swipe it. (Personal Creations; $34.99.)

This serving tray is a good gift while the party-throwing enthusiasm is still strong.

You can never tell when a “guest” might pop into your house for a quick whistle-wetter, and you can only imagine their disappointment when they drop by unannounced and find you don’t have the chardonnay chilled. This whole sad event will never happen if you have a rapid beverage-chiller which can cool beverages from room temperature to ice cold 90 times faster than in the fridge and 40 times faster than in the freezer. Wine bottles cool to a high of 60 degrees in one minute, low of 50 degrees in 3.5 minutes. This model can also do cans or bottles of juice, beer or soda. (Crate&Barrel; $89.99.)

This beverage-chiller is the answer for those who can’t wait for the fridge to cool things off.

Finally, organization is the key to any well-run household. I have a wall organizer, but it’s so crammed full of junk mail and pre-trash items that it’s been rendered useless over the years, but a new home-owning family doesn’t have to make the same tragic mistakes I’ve made. Here’s a really good organizer that can hold outgoing mail with hooks for jackets, caps, keys and dog leashes and doggie treats. You don’t have a dog, you say? Well, at the risk of spoiling your Christmas, that’s a thing you just might find under the tree this year. (Etsy; $55.)

This organizers has a spot for everything, including dog leashes. Don’t have a dog? Well, get one!

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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