Etiquette: What Do You Give to Someone Who Is Moving?

by William McCoy

When a family member or close friend is moving, you don't have to rush out and buy a gift, as moving and gifts aren't linked in the same way as weddings and gifts. If you're a generous person, either with your time or your money, however, think of what the person needs and offer a moving-day surprise.

Share Your Thoughts

A greeting card is ideal. It doesn't cost much, making it suitable if you're on a budget, but it allows you to share in the other person's exciting news. Tailor your congratulatory message to the person's new home, while also giving him your best wishes for the future. For example, write, "I hope this new home is everything you've ever dreamed about."

Lend a Hand

Many people favor assistance over a gift when they're moving. In the weeks leading up to a move, pledge your support on moving day and in the days that follow. Few people who are moving will turn down an offer of packing, carrying boxes or furniture or helping to unpack at the new house. If your vehicle is large enough to help, offer to carry items between houses. Other ways you can help include cleaning the new house or even barbecuing for the everyone on moving day.

Gift Cards

A gift card fits any occasion, and you can tailor this type of gift to your friend or family member's move. A gift card for a home improvement store or big box store comes in handy as your friend works on renovating or furnishing the home, while a restaurant gift card provides an excuse for a night out in the weeks that follow the move. Another idea is a homemade gift card, on which you pledge your assistance with tasks such as painting or landscaping.

Sentimental and Practical

It can be difficult to buy an item for someone who's moving, especially if you're not sure of the person's decorating tastes. Instead of trying to find a perfect wall clock or piece of art, think about a framed picture of you and your friend or family member in her first apartment or a blank, multiple-window picture frame to allow her to document her new memories in the new home. Practical gifts include a vacuum cleaner, barbecue or basket of snacks to enjoy on moving day. Toilet paper is a hugely practica gift because new homes are often missing it and it can be difficult to find once packed.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

Photo Credits

  • Jeanne Studio/Demand Media