Thoughtful ways to welcome a new neighbor

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A woman with cookies
A couple dozen chocolate chip cookies always make a great gift for new neighbors
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Wondering what you should do to welcome your new neighbors?

Before so many families became two-income earners, the calls or notes that said Come for coffee tomorrow to welcome a new neighbor were frequent and easy. These days with more complicated work-and-play schedules in every family, new neighbors may find themselves going it on their own for a while. There are, however, plenty of creative ways to welcome a new neighbor.

Homemade Cookies

This is an old favorite with a new twist. Nothing beats knocking on the door with a plate of homemade cookies or a plant. Since your new neighbor may be as busy as you are, add a note with your name, your family-members' names and your telephone number. Make it easy for the neighbors. If your children are of similar ages, you can add that to the note, too.

City Maps

A neighborhood get-acquainted map is another great idea. If you already have a block-group or neighborhood association, this is a perfect task for a member to undertake. If not, it's easily done. Walk or call around your block and gather the same information you put on your cookie-plate note for everyone on the block.

This can be as elaborate as a photocopied map of your block with all the houses number coded or a simple as a hand-written list. Once the task is done, you can add other new neighbors who move in and keep this as a quick way to connect with others. 


Neighborhood List

Especially if you welcome a new neighbor from a different city or state, a you-can-ask-me neighborhood list can be a great gift. Newcomers spend a great deal of time, as you remember from your last move, acquiring local services like dry cleaners, reasonable electricians and good babysitters. Anything that shortens that list for a newcomer is much appreciated.

Knowing that you have a starting place to find out about local pediatricians, scout troops, tree and lawn services, handymen, optometrists and club memberships is all a good idea. This is the information that enables you and your neighbors to live some parts of life on 'automatic' and will help make a new neighbor start to feel connected with a new community.

A paper list of any kind may seem a slightly dry way to welcome a new neighbor. But the information will definitely prove useful as time goes on, and there's an added dividend to doing the work of putting it together.  You may find out things about your neighbors that you never knew. 


Meeting the new neighbors can mean gathering over cider and doughnuts on a Saturday morning when you're all out raking leaves. Perhaps all your neighbors can give up a Sunday afternoon for an early potluck dinner or a drop-by-with-the-children coffee-and-cake social event. This may actually be the time when all the talk about having a block party or a neighborhood garage sale can come to fruition. 

The main thing to remember when you welcome a new neighbor is that you are also helping to become a better neighbor and helping your neighbors do so as well. There's nothing better than being able to say: We live in a really good neighborhood.

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