Neighbors can be some of our biggest supporters or they can make our lives miserable. Which way the cookie crumbles, so to speak, may well depend on how we choose to treat them. Grateful neighbors are willing to overlook minor infractions like a tree that hangs over slightly into their yard or a week when we just didn’t feel like mowing. They are also willing to keep an eye out on our homes when we have to be away and allow party guests to park in front of their homes. Cultivating good neighbors can be very important, and giving thoughtful gifts is one way to do that. Below are some ideas for gifts that are perfect for just about any neighbor.
Prepare a plate of holiday baked goods. Stay away from the dreaded fruitcake and stick with favorites that just about everyone loves like brownies, cookies, muffins and rolls. Place the goodies on a decorative holiday plate. These can be found at local dollar stores and discount department stores for between $1 and $3.
Give them a small poinsettia. Around Christmas time, large nurseries and garden centers often sell poinsettia plants for great prices. They come in the natural colors of red, pink and white; in hybrids that are magenta, purple and speckled; and dyed in colors of coral, blue and more. Ask the store to throw in free plant dressing including foil paper and a bow or a pre-formed plant cover.
Present them with a yard decoration, if they are into that sort of thing. Try a pretty wreath made from scratch with supplies from the local dollar store, a decorative doorknocker or a wind chime. If you want to spend the money, they might appreciate an outdoor lighted character as well.
Give them a Christmas ornament. Choose something that fits in with their overall decor. For example, if they usually decorate in a Victorian theme, give them a Victorian ornament.
Give them a memento. If you have a good picture of their family in your photo library, gift them with a copy of it inserted into an upscale theme. Another possibility is to place individual pictures of family members into individual frame ornaments.
Make a coupon book of various offered services. These can be made by hand or on the computer. Give them a coupon for free babysitting or house sitting. Offer to mow their yard once or twice. Promise to help them with spring and/or fall landscaping. Offer to cook them a meal. The ideas are endless and, best of all, you get to control what you are willing to do.
Share some of your favorite recipes. If they love your tomato soup, give them the recipe for that along with another recipe for sandwiches or some other related food. Put the recipes on decorative cards and have them laminated for safekeeping.
Design a miniature Christmas tree using items that can be picked up at a dollar or arts and crafts store. Or, better yet, decorate it with homemade items like popcorn or paper chains and salt dough ornaments with glitter.
Put together a gift basket with small, inexpensive gifts for each member of the family. Include a dollar toy for each child, bath products for mom, and sports magazines for dad. Or make it a movie basket, complete with a couple of family movies, popcorn, and candy or other goodies.
Give them a bottle of sparkling alcohol-free wine for the whole family to enjoy, along with a set of wine glasses.