LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – There’s no place like “gnome” for Hillcrest neighbors – who have been anonymously gifting gnomes to each other as a gesture of neighborly good will.
It’s a trend that started a few months ago with tiny statues of gnomes appearing on neighbors’ front porches. Mike Saxby received his first gnome soon after moving into a new house, a gesture he says felt like a welcome to the neighborhood.
“I came home one day from something, and this thing was sitting on my plant stand,” Saxby said, holding up a gnome positioned in a yoga pose. “I see this as someone saying ‘hello, thanks for being here, welcome to the neighborhood.'”
Weeks later, the gnome was joined by a solar-powered dragonfly, which could be added to a front lawn or garden. After posting on popular neighborhood app Nextdoor, Saxby realized he wasn’t the only one receiving gifts.
Dozens of neighbors from April to just days ago posted about receiving gnomes, from tiny yard decorations to plush toys and everything in between. It’s called getting “gnomed” and is meant to be a gesture of neighborly good will, with the recipient able to forward the act on to a new neighbor. During the holidays, the trend has taken on new life.
“Maybe it is spreading,” Saxby remarked, after seeing other nearby neighborhoods post about their gnomes, too.
Leo Hawkins with Hocott’s plant nursery and gift shop knows a thing or two about gnomes, having stocked seasonal statues of garden gnomes and lawn decorations for years.
“That’s the attitude we need,” Hawkins said when asked about the anonymous giving, pointing out how the store pays it forward on holidays, too.
Hocott’s has an “elf squad” tree for hospice patients and will be donating a portion of all Christmas tree proceeds to fund meals for veterans, generous ways to give back that Hawkins says is just how Hillcrest works.
“People need to be more open, more giving, and willing to communicate and share,” he said.