Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

8 gifts for the new homeowner

By the time you’ve hit 30, you’ve endured 27,000 “WE’RE OFFICIALLY HOMEOWNERS” Facebook posts from assorted friends, family, and acquaintances. It’s impossible to contain your jealousy when you see posts like that while you’re living in a $2,000-per-month closet in New York City. You scroll through the pictures of their obscenely large, beautiful homes and begin seething. “Who wants to live in North Carolina anyway?” you say out loud to no one. “I live in the CITY.”

You sure do. But they have a three-bedroom house and a yard and a driveway and two cars and they don’t get into passive-aggressive-note-leaving fights with their neighbors about a wayward stroller blocking their front door because they have their own porch that they OWN and no one can put anything in front of their door.

It’s a different lifestyle, sure. There are pros and cons to both, but when some idiot you knew in high school owns PROPERTY while all you own is a Metrocard and a coat rack, it’s hard to keep perspective. TRY REALLY HARD TO DO IT, IT’S CHRISTMAS. Also, sour grapes are unattractive. Suck it up, buy the new homeowner a gift that she’ll appreciate. You could get them a really big gift, ’cause you know, she’s got a WHOLE HOUSE to store it in. Maybe something really obnoxious, like a drum set or one of those large-scale, old-timey popcorn machines.

1. Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey ($28, Amazon): The New Homeowner has never cooked a meal in her entire LIFE, but here she is, the owner of the to-DIE-for kitchen of your dreams. Two ovens, oversized refrigerator, a really, really expensive gas range, farmhouse sink, ample counterspace—it is gorgeous and you wanted to kill yourself the moment you saw it, thinking back to your tiny apartment kitchen and the fact that you convinced yourself that you don’t really need a toaster because you don’t have the counter space to accommodate one. Deep breaths, it’s fine. Now that the New Homeowner has this fantastic kitchen, you are obligated—on behalf of all of the aspiring chefs with tiny apartment kitchens—to ensure that she uses it. It would be a travesty otherwise. Get her Pickles, Pigs, & Whiskey, a down-home cookbook written by James Beard award-winning chef John Currence that includes 130 recipes with a Southern tinge. Tell her that there’d better be a platter of homemade fried pickles waiting for you the next time you visit.

2. Kyocerta LTD Ceramic Knife ($120, Amazon): The one thing that can help ease your jealousy about your friend’s homeownership is the fact that after someone buys a house, they are b-r-o-k-e. “I got you a knife to kill yourself with when you open up your first mortgage bill,” you can say as you hand this handsome all-black ceramic knife to the New Homeowner. She’ll laugh and then quickly start crying because she is indeed house poor. If you don’t want to be a jerk, though, you can say you got her a nice knife because of all of the cooking she’ll be doing in her gorgeous new kitchen (see above).

3. The Good Guest Basket ($100, Mouth): If you don’t want to bully the New Homeowner into cooking in her enviable kitchen, you can take a different tack, and instead give her a gift basket filled with various artisanal foodstuffs. “It’s not a home until your fridge is stocked with olive tapenade and blackberry jam!” you can declare, not knowing what you’re talking about.

4. Pennant Coasters ($18, Furbish): There is a period when you buy new furniture where you are very careful about not junking it up. You buy a nice new coffee table and promise yourself that you’re going to treat it well, using coasters to ensure against watermarks. Eventually, though, you get real and accept the facts that 1) you do not live in a museum and 2) you are only HUMAN. The New Homeowner just bought a ton of new furniture and has not arrived to the acceptance of being a slob like the rest of us yet. That’s why she’ll love these colorful Pennant Coasters that she’ll use for approximately three weeks before realizing that she’s just not fancy enough to commit to lifetime usage of coasters.

5. Planter Bluetooth Speaker ($80, TJ Maxx): One of the best parts of owning a home is that you can throw parties and not have to edit your guest list because not more than 10 people can fit into your place at a time. You’ve got tons of space inside, and, if you’re lucky, an outdoor space as well. The New Homeowner can host splashy backyard BBQs for 30 people while you’re telling people to meet you at the public park on some random patch of grass that is miles away from the nearest bathroom. It’s fine. Think of it this way: you get to attend their splashy BBQs. You get to go inside into the AC when it gets too hot out. You have easy access to a bathroom that is not the nasty public one at your local park. You win in this scenario. Help make the New Homeowner’s backyard parties even better with one of these Planter Bluetooth Speakers. It’s an honest-to-God waterproof planter: she can stuff geraniums in there and also have it play music wirelessly from any Bluetooth-capable device.

6. Takenaka Bento Box ($24, Harabu House): Remember when I said that your New Homeowner friend is now poor? That wasn’t just a joke. Unless she’s some kind of MILLIONAIRE, she really, really is. Think about it. Not only did she have to drop money on the house, she had to drop money on any renovations, upgrades, everything in the house. Girlfriend ain’t got no funds.Hope you enjoy eating instant ramen in your gourmet kitchen,” you’ll think, smugly. Don’t be a jerk. She’ll get through it, and she’ll HAVE a gourmet kitchen, which is more than you can say for yourself. Help her save her money and get on top of her massive new homeowner debt with this Takenaka Bento Box. She is no longer a person who buys $12 salads for lunch. She is a homeowner. She packs her lunch now. Forever.

7. Veuve Clicquot Metal Fridge ($55): If all else fails, a good bottle of champagne will always play well with people who have just checked the box for a big life stage. Veuve Clicquot is always a good choice, but this special metal fridge packaging makes it even more special, not only because the champs will be kept cold in transit, but also because it looks like a 1950s fridge. Apropos for someone who just achieved the old-school American dream.

8. Britta Trivets ($18 each, Country Road): When you own a home, you also become owner of a bunch of stuff that you never owned before because you A) didn’t have room in your tiny apartment and B) didn’t really think you needed. You probably didn’t need things like ravioli crimpers and trivets. But SURPRISE: when you’re a homeowner, you need all of these things. Mainly because you have space for them but also because you are tricking yourself into thinking that you’re the type of person who is going to make homemade ravioli now that you own a home. Help support your New Homeowner friend’s delusions about the new person she’s going to become now that she owns a home with these Britta Trivets, which will come in handy when she’s serving her homemade lasagna family-style.

Amanda Waas is the creator of You’re Welcome, a gift guide site for all of life’s awkward occasions. Her annual 12 Days of Gift Guides is in full-swing—visit You’re Welcome for countless holiday gift ideas. Follow Amanda on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Amanda Waas
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