Monday, July 28, 2008

A Traditional Housewarming Gift

Hubby and I were scheduled to visit some friends yesterday in their new home and I needed a housewarming gift. I remembered reading somewhere about a centuries-old tradition of giving bread and wine to new homeowners and I knew there was more to it, but I couldn't remember. Thank goodness for Google!

I found several websites that were helpful in explaining the history of the tradition and how to put a more modern spin on the gift. The basic version is bread, salt, and wine, each representing different wishes for the new homeowner's future well-being. Today people tend to prepare a gift basket with the different items and include a poem to explain the tradition. I also saw versions that included honey (so that your life is always sweet), a candle (so you always have light), olive oil (to bring good health), a coin (to ensure good fortune), a broom (to sweep away bad spirits), wood (to maintain peace, stability and harmony), a plant (to ensure life), and there are many other possibilities.

There's a scene in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" where George and Mary welcome the Martini family to their new home. They present the family with the three basic items: "bread, that this house may never know hunger; salt, that life may always have flavor; and wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever." Who could ask for more?

For our gift I included a loaf of artisan bread, a container of sea salt, and a bottle of red wine. I couldn't help but add a little more to it, so I wrapped up a set of six crystal red wine stems to have something to drink that fabulous wine from (the stems were manufactured by Seneca Glass in the 1950s...I am an antiques dealer, after all!).


  1. PJ, How wonderful! I had heard of the tradition but had not read up on it myself either. This would be nice for me to do for Kevin and Lauren when they get to their new home in PA. I'll have to make best wishes to the "newlyweds to be". They have a great momma!!

  2. What a thoughtful and unique thing to do...your son and his fiance look very happy and you blessed them with all that was important...I love that tradition and had never heard of it..thanks for sharing

  3. I had never heard of that, that is very sweet!

    When my first child was born, one of my husband's relatives came over...and she made me lick salt from my hand, take a shot of whiskey and then eat some bread...some sort of Yugoslavian tradition...the whiskey was so hard going down, but I did feel better about a couple of minutes later, lol ;)

    Nice to meet you :)

  4. That is so wonderful to do:) I'll have to remember that!

  5. Pam you're alwasy so full of such wonderful ideas I just LOVE this!!!! What an exciting time in all your lives!!.....What an awesome mother-in-law you are going to make!!!


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