9 Gifts to Give the Neighbor You Like
Finding gifts for neighbors is notoriously difficult. First, you have to decide if you're giving neighbors a gift. If so, which neighbors will you give a gift to? Then you have to decide what to get them. I can't help you decide the first two questions — those are personal to you. But if you're looking for gift ideas, here are some of my favorite gifts for neighbors. (See also: 25 Gifts You Can Make Today)
Hot Cocoa and Mugs
Nothing says winter like sipping hot cocoa in front of the fireplace. Pick out two festive mugs and pair them with your favorite hot chocolate. If you really like your neighbor, splurge on some Mexican hot chocolate or European sipping chocolate. If your neighbors aren't big hot cocoa drinkers, you can substitute coffee or tea for hot cocoa.
Cookie Mix in a Mason Jar
If a handmade gift is more your style — or you're low on cash — cookie mix in a mason jar is a budget gift option that still says "thoughtful." Simply layer the ingredients in a jar, then add a ribbon and a note, and you have a creative, attractive, and delicious gift. Gingerbread cookies in a jar add a seasonal flair, but chocolate chip cookies are the classic choice. You can buy 12 mason jars for $10 on Amazon. (See also: 15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake)
When the leaves have fallen from the trees and snow covers the ground, a pretty houseplant can add a splash of life to an otherwise dreary winter backdrop. A poinsettia is a popular holiday choice, but you can also opt for plant that will last through the winter, like a ficus or an orchid, or a plant that's especially good at improving indoor air quality.
Gift Certificates to a Local Restaurant
If you know your neighbor likes to dine out and you have some cash to spend, a gift certificate to their favorite local restaurant is a great gift. Restaurant.com always has great deals on dining certificates (though theirs usually come with restrictions and other terms).
Bottle of Wine
A decent bottle of wine is a stalwart option in the holiday gift lineup. Pick a bottle with a festive label and tie a ribbon around it for a gift that is sure to please your favorite neighbor. And you don't have to spend a fortune — you can get recommendations on good wines under $15.
Date Night Gift Pack
If you're friends with your neighbors and they have young kids (and you like said kids), one of the best gifts you can give them is a couple of hours of free babysitting. Your neighbors get to go on a date, you get to spend a couple hours playing with their kids. Trust me, as a parent of a two-year-old, I would love this gift even more than cookies or wine.
Kindle Gift Card
There's something about winter that makes curling up with a good book very appealing. If you don't know your neighbor's taste in books well enough to pick one out, but know he loves to read, a Kindle gift card is the perfect gift.
If you're a knitter, consider making your favorite neighbor a scarf. Unlike consumable gifts, a scarf will last forever and remind your neighbors of your generosity for a long time to come. A scarf is the perfect knitwear for a gift because, unlike with a hat or mittens, you can approximate size and be confident it will fit. If knitting isn't your thing, there are hundreds of scarves on Etsy for under $30.
If you happen to brew your own beer (or have a friend who will let you borrow her equipment), homebrew is a personal, inexpensive gift for your neighbors. Depending on which beer kit you buy, the price ends up being about $0.50/bottle, or $3.00 for a six pack. Name your brew and design your own labels for a memorable gift. I gave my neighbors homebrew one year — complete with a label featuring my dogs — and it was a big hit. (See also: 10 Homemade Liqueurs to Bottle for Tasty Gifts)
What have you given to (or received from) neighbors?