Great Gifts for Friends Moving Away
Your friend is about to move away and start a new chapter of their lives, and you need a proper send-off present. What to give them? If you need inspiration, check out this list of 18 great gifts for friends moving away, from scented candles to wine subscriptions:
Custom Photo Album
Help your friend relive your best memories together by gifting them a custom photo book full of your top moments. You can make them a traditional scrapbook, or get them a professionally printed bound book that they can leave out on their coffee table. If you’re part of the same friend squad, crowdsource pictures from the whole gang and split the costs for an affordable yet heartfelt group gift. Whenever your friend starts missing you all, they can look through the photos and recall all the wonderful times you had together.
Digital Picture Frame
If your friend is a little more technologically inclined, instead of getting them a physical photo album, you can splurge on a digital picture frame that will rotate through their favorite photos. You can get a small frame for under $50, though a bigger one can cost upwards of $100 or $150. So if you want to go big, this might be a better candidate for a group gift. Make sure to choose a frame that matches their color scheme since they will want to display the frame in a prominent place in their new home.
A quality travel mug can make moving go so much easier. It keeps hot beverages warm and cold drinks cool, and stops spills from happening. If your friend doesn’t already own a quality travel mug, they will be sure to appreciate a gift of one, especially if they will have to travel far to get to their new home. If your friend already has a nice travel mug, you can get them another sturdy beverage holder, such as a good water bottle or insulated wine glasses they can take outside. You can add to the gift by including their favorite coffee, tea or wine along with the mug.
Local T-Shirts and Other Items
Help your friend show off their hometown pride in their new city by giving them some near gear featuring their favorite shops and town. Local t-shirts, stickers, bottle openers and other branded accessories are a great way to remind them of home and give them something practical. If your friend already owns way too many t-shirts, you can put a new spin on this gift idea by having a t-shirt quilt made out of the local shirts. Raid your closet and ask friends to donate local t-shirts that they no longer wear and then get them made into a quilt (or get crafty and do it yourself).
Scent is a powerful trigger for memory, and you can harness that power by giving your friend a scented candle that reminds them of their hometown. Get them a state scented candle that smells like their whole state, or opt for a city candle that represents their hometown. You can also get them a candle that’s tied to a specific memory, such as going to the beach together or picking apples in an apple orchard. If you want to be super timely, you can also give them our New Home candle to help them make new memories in their next place.
Think friendship bracelets, but for adults. Websites like Etsy offer many high quality, handmade sets of jewelry, including necklaces, earrings and, yes, bracelets. Choose one with a meaningful inscription, or get it personally engraved so it’s totally unique to you and your friend. You can also get more creative if neither of you wear a lot of jewelry—for example, get matching keyrings. Make sure to get something that’s actually your friend’s style. You don’t want to buy them something that just sits in the bottom of their jewelry box. The whole point is to get them something they’ll wear often so it reminds them of you!
Moving is stressful, and your friend could definitely use some self-care before, during and after the move. Help them chillax by giving them a self-care kit full of all their favorite products. Think bath bombs, face bombs, scented soaps and lotions, fuzzy socks, a fluffy bathrobe—everything they need to pamper themselves. If you really want to spoil them, get them a gift certificate to a spa or massage therapist in their new city. Make sure to do the research and pick a place that has good reviews, or ask your connections for recommendations in the area.
Art and Decor
This category can be a bit tricky because you need to know your friend well and have a sense of what decor they have planned for the new place. But if you’re best buds, giving your friend some art or decor for the new place can be a great way to remind them of you and help them decorate their new place. See if they have any Pinterest boards you can snoop on, and ask whether they’re planning to repurpose their current decor or get something new. When in doubt, you can always get them a gift card to their favorite home decor store.
Games and Activities
Do you always play Apples to Apples whenever your friends come over to your house? If so, give them a copy of their favorite board or card game so they can use it to entertain friends at their new place. If your friend has some young children, you can also put together an activity bucket for the kids to keep them occupied while their parents pack. Include coloring books, puzzles and other age-appropriate activities that won’t make a mess and that kids can do on their own. Trust us, your friends (and their kids) will be super grateful for this going away gift.
If your friend’s future involves lots of travel, they will be sure to appreciate any helpful gear you can get for them. A lot of the gifts will depend on where your friend is moving to and what they are planning to do. For example, if they’re planning to do a lot of international travel, a universal power adapter will keep all their devices charged and ready to go. If they’re planning to camp a lot, equipment like a solar-powered light or a cooler will come in handy.
While more practical than some items on this list, you can be absolutely sure that a gift of packing materials will be put to good use. Typical items include cardboard boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, moving blankets and permanent markers. Take stock of what materials your friend already has and then offer to fill in the gaps. Better yet, bring over the supplies and offer to help your friend pack up their place. As you work, you can write them nice notes on the inside of the box flaps to give them some encouragement as they unpack.
If your friend has never moved before, they might lack some basic household tools that will really be helpful when they move into the new place. A basic tool kit might include a hammer, a screwdriver and a tape measure. You can also get them hardware such as Command strips or a picture hanging kit. If you do go with this idea, make sure to also get your friend a sturdy bag or a rugged plastic case so they can carry everything around easily. They’ll think of you every time they hang a picture in their new home.
Cleaning supplies are basically the first thing you need when you arrive at a new place, but it’s all too easy for them to get lost in the move. Get a large crate or two and fill it up with basic essentials that your friend will need right away: paper towels, disinfectant, all-purpose cleaner, rags, dish soap, sponges, hand soap, toilet paper, toilet bowl cleaner, etc. Make sure that the crate gets packed last so they can easily access it as soon as they arrive.
This idea is best for people who are just moving out on their own and getting established. If your friend has always shared a kitchen with someone else before, then they will definitely need to get some of their own appliances. Ask them for a list of what they need. Tea kettles, blenders, food processors, rice cookers and toasters are all likely to be on there. Many of these products are available for $50 or less and aren’t too big to transport. If you’re looking for something a bit more fun, coffee accessories or an at-home bar kit are also fantastic ideas.
Food and Beverage Delivery
During a move, feeding yourself is just one more hassle on top of everything else. Look into getting food and beverages delivered to your friend’s new place so they can cross at least one thing off their to-do list. See if any of their favorite hometown businesses ship goods to their new address. A pint of their favorite local ice cream or a glass of their favorite hometown wine is sure to put a smile on their face after a long day of unpacking.
If you’re not sure what else to get your friend, go with a tried-and-true backup and give them a gift card. Then, they can use it to buy whatever they want, whenever they want. If a gift card feels a little impersonal to you, pair it with a heartfelt handwritten card and a smaller gift, such as a travel mug or a scented candle. While gift cards may seem boring, they’re way better than giving the recipient something that they simply won’t use, so don’t be afraid to fall back on this idea.
Cards and Letters
Speaking of a handwritten card, you can turn this into the main event of your goodbye gift. Instead of only writing your friend one card, write them one letter a month for a year, for a total of 12 letters. Put a date on each one, indicating when your friend should open it. You can just make it simple and have the dates be at one month intervals from their move in date, or schedule them around events such as their birthday. This is the goodbye gift that will keep on giving, and all it takes is a paper, a pen and some time.
Help with Moving
When a friend is moving away, one of the best gifts that you can give them is your time. If you’re on a budget that doesn’t really allow for gifts (or even if money is no object), helping your friend pack up and load the car will be a huge help to them. They will appreciate not only the assistance, but also the chance to spend a few last hours with you before they move. Spend the afternoon boxing things and then order pizza, open a bottle of wine and celebrate your last few moments together—until you can visit them at their new place, that is.
We hope that this list helped spark some ideas when it comes to gifts for friends moving away. Having a friend move away can be bittersweet, but you should take time to celebrate this milestone in your friendship (and to plan a trip when you can see each other again!). Change is hard, but having friends who support you–even from afar–will make it much easier.