A press release landed in my inbox last week: The majority of Americans know the names of their neighbor's pets but not their neighbor's kids. Crazy, right?
When we lived in Vail, we knew most of our neighbors...but not all of them. In fact, we had some regrets when we moved out because we wished we had made a greater effort to get to know the people around us.
Tim & I have made a commitment to be much more intentional about being neighborly wherever we end up after this year of traveling the country in an RV.
I did a bit of brainstorming and came up with 7 ways that you (and I) can get to know our neighbors better:
1. Give a "Welcome to the Neighborhood" gift when a new family moves in. Even a small gesture goes a long way. Perhaps homemade cookies? A pie? A bouquet of flowers or a few fresh tomatoes from your garden? Include a little tag with your name, e-mail address, or twitter handle (whatever you feel comfortable with). Check out this FREE Welcome to the Neighborhood printable.
2. Have an ice cream sundae party. Serving dinner to a group of strangers can be an intimidating and overwhelming prospect. Throw an ice cream party instead. Buy a few gallons, plastic bowls and spoons, and toppings (or you can have each guest bring a topping - M&Ms, cherries, whipped cream, bananas, strawberries, Reese's, etc.).
3. Open your backyard. If you want to host a meal, you certainly don't have to plan a formal dinner at your dining room table. Go outside and serve hamburgers, BBQ chicken, or stew from a Crock-Pot.
4. Keep popsicles in your freezer. As kids run about the neighborhood in the summer, it's nice to be able to have a quick snack to offer. Popsicles are just the ticket - no preparation required!
5. Ask for an egg. If you're baking cookies and you realize that you don't have an ingredient, don't jump in your car to go to the grocery store. Ask a neighbor.
6. Create a Facebook page for your neighborhood. Start up a page with your neighborhood's name - "West Hills Neighborhood" or "Sunset Ridge Street." Set up a few guidelines and invite your neighbors to join. Everyone can then post announcements, get-togethers, business ventures, etc.
7. Use WhitePages Neighbors to "cheat" when you forget someone's name. WhitePages Neighbors is a new service that allows you to type in your address and find the names & contact info of people who live near you. It also allows you to organize a block party and send out postcards to your neighbors...FREE.
How many of your neighbors do you know? What do you do to get to know the people that live closest to you?
WIN IT! One winner will receive a $100 VISA gift card to plan a neighborhood meet-up of your own! To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Wednesday, July 27 at 11:59 p.m. All generic comments like “Enter me!” or “Love it” will be disqualified. Winner must provide a US mailing address.
* WhitePages is compensating me for this post and is also providing the $100 Visa Card for the giveaway.
*UPDATE* The winner is #196 Sandy. Congratulations!