Neighborly advice

How to say thank you to good neighbors

When we moved from New York City to the suburbs of New Jersey, my husband and I weren’t expecting a welcome wagon. We figured we’d eventually get to know the people in our new community, but there was no rush. Then, a couple days later, there was a knock at our front door. Our city skepticism kicked in, and we wondered what was wrong.

Our new neighbors were simply stopping by to introduce themselves, bringing a bottle of wine and welcoming us to town. We chatted for a few minutes, exchanged contact information in case of emergencies, then became lifelong friends.

They helped with shoveling when I was pregnant, and our kids picked up their mail and watered their plants when they were on vacation. We did neighborly things for each other and oftentimes said thank you with an appreciative gift.

My favorite present is still the family photo of us in our driveway the day we returned home from the hospital with our new daughter. They snapped it and framed it, and it brings a smile to my face every time I pass it.

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Other gifts we’ve shared with them and subsequent neighbors have included lots of homemade dinners and treats, several entertaining pieces to show off during parties, a set of slate garden markers (helpful when watering those plants), a beer-making kit and lots and lots of wine.

It’s great to have people looking out for you, and even better to show you care.

What’s the nicest thing a neighbor has done for you? Feel free to share your story below.

This week’s picks

Home sweet home: Whether the label sports the city you currently live in or your neighbors’ hometown, these Homesick candles can tug at the heartstrings through sense of smell. The hand-poured jars are made of all-natural soy wax and burn 60-80 hours. $29.95

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Sign language: Memorialize your friendship with a wooden sign they can hang in their house and take when they move to remember you. Customize the handmade, hand-painted artwork by selecting the board color, print color and family names. $26

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Mail call: If your neighbors can never find their keys, try gifting them this easy-to-use magnetic key holder, which doubles as a mail holder. Measuring only 6×8 inches, it’s handy in a small space or entryway. $16

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