Fischer: A first-time homebuyer’s gift guide, based on experience
December is officially upon us. For those of you keeping track, there are only 14 more shopping days until Christmas. Just for the record, if any of you happen upon me this festive holiday season, I’ll just warn you now; please don’t ask if I’m ready for Christmas yet. Don’t ask it this week, don’t ask it next week. I’m not, and I won’t be. I’ve decided that, after numerous decades of good intentions, this year I’m just going to embrace the fact that I will not, and do not even intend to, be “ready” for Christmas. My intention for this holiday season is to fly by the seat of my pants. I’m good at it. It’s what happens every year anyway, and Christmas still seems to come. It’s always memorable (in some way or another), so I’m not super worried about it.
On the other hand, like most people, I too am looking for good, clever, unique, thoughtful gift ideas for my friends, acquaintances, loved ones and others I don’t particularly like but am obligated to buy gifts for. Now if everyone in my life were first time homebuyers, it would be easy. There are so many things that new homeowners need that they don’t even know they need. I learned this the hard way.
When I purchased my first home, I made sure to keep a little cash so that I could purchase some of those very items. Of course, the first thing I bought with that little bit of cash was the essential and clearly necessitous patio furniture. It was the middle of summer when we moved into our two-bedroom, one-bath, 1,600-square-foot (800 of which was a shelf basement that only I could stand upright in) 1917 bungalow. Before the ink even dried on the closing documents, we had spent our savings on a set of four plastic Adirondack chairs and a table, all in hunter green (it was 50 shades of green back then). Unfortunately, less than two week later, we realized that we probably should have purchased a lawn mower instead. Hindsight.
After borrowing the neighbor’s lawn mower for the next several weeks, we were able to scrape enough cash together to buy a nice, used mower of our very own. Sadly, it was stolen off of our back patio, where it was parked right next to our new outdoor furniture, less than a month later. We later spotted it, along with my mountain bike, which had also been filched, at our next-door neighbor’s yard sale. I guess they needed it worse than we did. I did confront, but they denied, and then my husband, once again, pulled me inside before I could start a fight. The next day, the kid came over and asked for $5 for cigarettes. I declined to assist.
Back to the subject at hand. To ensure that the first-time homebuyers on your Christmas list get what they need this holiday season, I have complied a short list of must-haves, which does not include hunter green patio furniture.
Besides the more obvious lawnmower, garden tools of all varieties can come in handy for the new homeowner. Shovels, rakes, hoes, garden gloves, a hose, pruners and loppers are all useful gift ideas. For the winter, a snow shovel or two are mostly imperative here in the northern part of Utah, except on the years when we don’t get snow, which have been most of them in the last decade.
Great indoor gifts include clocks, welcome mats, key holders, dish towels, all the kitchen paraphernalia, blankets, towels, bathroom items, house cleaning service or yard care services. These are just a few ideas.
I think about a few of the gifts for my home that I have received over the years. There are specifically three that come to mind that I have used over and over and have found to be indispensable. The first would be my knife set. This has really been the best and worst gift. I use my knives for something or another practically every day. Whether it is chopping vegetables or opening a package or accidentally cutting off the end of my finger and being rushed to the ER for stitches, my knife set has been incredibly practical.
The second most practical gift that has come with me to every home I have ever owned is my basic tool set. I have one in my car, my garage and my closet. Hammer, flathead screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, pliers, wrench, measuring tape, scissors and duct tape.
Which brings me to the third gift, which exists only because the first two are what they are. The well-stocked first aid kit. Happy shopping!
Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.