Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Gift of a Warm Welcome

There is no better gift from the heart than the gift of a warm welcome - whether to a guest in your home, to a new neighbour, or a new colleague - I love to make people feel welcome. A large part of a successful welcome comes from thinking ahead, predicting the possible needs or desires of the recipient so you can make them comfortable. A comfortable person feels welcome and valued.

Both of these cards were handmade by me and are suited for a house guest or a new neighbour. I used a stencil for the house, cut out of patterned paper and of course each card has its own 'smoke stack' of a flourish or a heart, for me a house with a fire burning suggests a warm welcome.
Welcoming House Guests
Having a card to give a house guest upon arrival makes the guest feel that you are excited to have them come to stay, that you have been looking forward to their stay and have enjoyed preparing your home for them.
I once made a little card/note to pin on my friend's towel which I had laid on the foot of the spare bed. The note was on a small piece of white cardboard, with gold tissue paper glued on, and the words 'Welcome Ra' then pinned on the folded towel. Ra was of course, the name of my friend.
If your house guests have travelled far, it is best to have secured an amount of time free in your day for them to rest, rather than rushing them into plans and activities which if scheduled make the guest feel compelled to participate when they might really just need a rest, a shower, or something to eat.
By anticitpating the possible needs or desires of your guests - food, rest, bathroom, phone calls home, access to internet, some light exercise, medical attention..... - you are able to deliver their needs naturally and easily, a large part of their feeling comfortable and welcome.
For elderly guests, you might need to pen up an exuberant pet dog, and give young children some quiet activities while your guest rests.
Welcoming New Neighbours

A handmade card, and a gift of food or wine may seem old fashioned but you can generally tell whether your new neighbour is the kind to enjoy the gesture or not.

I find the most practical new neighbour gift is the gift of information - if they are completely new to the area they may appreciate a list of good businesses and services, for example the best restaurants in town, the best tradesmen, a good medical practice, and any peculiar business hours. I live in a town where all the businesses used to close at lunchtime on Wednesdays, now all the businesses stay open but the library still closes at 12 each Wednesday. That is the type of thing that may be helpful to a new neighbour and save them a lot of inconvenience and costly mistakes. You can write out the notes in a lovely notebook leaving room for them to make their own notes and find their own favourites over time.

I also like the gift of a Garden Journal, I started mine in 1999, I have a page for each new plant that I put in the garden, all the information for caring for the plant is recorded and then my own notes on my success or difficulties and experiences. You could give the journal (just cover a plain notebook with fabric or a paper collage and a nice title) with a new pot plant with the first page filled out with the info about your gift, that way they can see how to use the book themselves.

Welcoming a New Colleague

The best gift besides a handshake and a smile, is patience. Your new coworker may need time to adjust to new duties, or to the ins and outs of their new work environment. An invitation to lunch is as kind to a new colleague as it is to the new kid in school. It also gives them the chance to find the best places to have lunch in the immediate vicinity.

Be helpful but not intrusive and make yourself available to answer questions when they arise, other than that, I am sure your new work mate will be competant and therefore able to stand on their own two feet.

So I hope this helps you and don't forget to think about any of the things you have personally experienced that have made you feel welcome - they are worth remembering and using to welcome others.


Jace said...

Love the cards, Starry. :) And thanks for all the tips too. Lovely day to you.

Jace said...

Starry, I've given you a blog award. Check it out here. :)