throwing a housewarming party
Parties and Get Togethers

Five Tips for Throwing a Housewarming Party

Throwing a housewarming party as an adult homeowner is a different ordeal than throwing one as a college student who moves to a new rental every two months. I mean, it’s fun either way, but when you’re young and don’t actually own the property you’re living in, housewarming parties are really just an excuse to drink, aren’t they? Whereas when you’re an adult, you want to say, “Look at this piece of construction I purchased! It has four walls and a roof and I actually care about cleaning the carpets!” You may even have transitioned to real, grown-up furniture. You know, pieces that were clearly purchased to complement each other and require a coaster. Either way, throwing a housewarming party really doesn’t need to be a big ordeal. Here’s five tips to get you started.

1. Don’t worry if you’ve lived there a while.

This only works up to a certain extent, but it took me two full months from our move-in date to even start thinking about throwing a housewarming party. No one seemed to think that was odd. Actually, no one even mentioned it. Throwing a housewarming party should be fun and you want to show off your house; if you can’t do that, what’s the point? We are a very busy family, plus I’m pregnant, so unpacking and all that jazz took quite a bit longer than it’s taken me in the past. We also needed to do some projects that took precedence (building a fence, installing a dog door, etc.), schedule around my husband’s Saturday school, and pick a day when I’d have a baby-sitter so I could prepare. I’m surprised it only took us two months to throw it, actually.

Of course, there has to be some sort of deadline on this. I don’t think throwing a housewarming party six years after you’ve moved in will make any sense. Could you call that a barbecue instead? It might ruffle less feathers. I checked a few websites, but there doesn’t seem to be a general consensus on how long is too long. For us, we took a couple of months because of packing, but perhaps you’ve moved into a fixer-upper and need a little more time. If I knew you were hard at work, I wouldn’t mind waiting a year to go to your housewarming. On the other hand, if you want to throw it before you take stuff out of boxes, kudos to you. Does anyone actually care what’s in the boxes? Not unless you’ve been recreating Seven, probably.

What’s in the box?!

2. Invite your neighbors.

Neighbors? Do people actually talk to their neighbors these days? Yes! I do, anyway, and I totally recommend it. Do you know how nice it is to have someone next door to borrow a tool from or a babysitter down the street? Those are a couple of benefits of neighborhood friendships, but there’s also the possibility you could wind up becoming, I don’t know, actual friends. Think about it. You chose the same neighborhood. There’s a good chance you have a similar income. If you both have kids, you found the same school district to be worthwhile. It can’t hurt to find out what you have in common.

The possibility of friendship is not the only reason to invite the neighbors though. Ever had an awful neighbor? Yeah, they exist too. You might as well find out who they are right away. I’m not suggesting they’ll show up to your party; they won’t. Awful neighbors never do. But, they’ll know you’re having a party, so if they have issues with parking or noise or anything like that, they can let you know beforehand. If the awful neighbors don’t out themselves, maybe some of the other, nicer neighbors, who do show up to the party will fill you in. They’ll also let you know if the neighborhood has a Facebook page and other things like that.

3. Don’t decorate.

I mean this sincerely. If you’re throwing a housewarming party, don’t decorate. Put the balloons down, Becky, I see you trying to sneak them in your cart. No, not even for the mailbox to let friends and family know which house is yours. If they can’t read the house numbers already on your house or mailbox, you need new friends and family. If you don’t have house numbers somewhere, you should get them, or you’re never going to be able to order pizza.

Still concerned? Try an address sign like this.

My reasoning for this is pretty simple. When people attend a housewarming party, what do they expect to see? A house. They want to see how your regular decor is done, not whether you are a streamer or plastic tablecloth kind of person. If you have a fixer upper and there’s something you’re trying to hide, put some boxes or a plant in front of it. Or, hey, leave it out in the open and see if you can get any suggestions for it. I did put a plastic tablecloth on my dining room table when I threw my party, but that was not for decoration. That was so people could spill whatever they wanted and I wouldn’t have to clean it.

4. Serve a combination of packaged and homemade food.

Speaking of spillage, you should serve food and drinks at your party. Depending on where you are in your life, you might want more food or more drinks, but you’re going to have to serve something. You may already have twenty fabulous recipes figured out, but even if you do, throw something store-bought out on the serving table. Why? Remember how I told you to invite those neighbors? Well, you’re probably a completely new person to them. They might not trust your cooking just yet. You know there is always someone who participates in the office potluck that just shouldn’t,  and it makes everyone wary of eating strangers’ cooking unless there’s a health inspector grading them on it.

Baby cup for baby guests only, pasta salad for all.

Personally, I’m a big fan of homemade dips, and they’re easy to make, so that’s always a good option. This Chili’s queso knock-off was a big hit if you want to give it a try. As for the store stuff, Costco brownie bites worked really well, and of course we had the standard fruit and vegetable trays. I made sliders (turkey and barbecue) for the main dish, since they’re both pretty easy and I’m always in a time crunch. Your menu doesn’t really matter here, as long as you choose things you know you will eat if your guests don’t. But, the reason you need to feed those guests is pretty simple. They’re probably bringing a gift…

5. Don’t ask for gifts when throwing a housewarming party.

Crazy, right? You don’t ask for them and they show up with one anyway. I think back in the day there was some sort of etiquette rule about gifts and housewarming parties, but I could not be bothered to look that up. Just don’t ask for anything. Is it your first house? They’ll bring you decor things, whether you want them or not. Are you quite young? They’ll probably ask you what you want. Did you just get married? Then you just had a whole registry they chose from, don’t be greedy! For everyone else… Be prepared for plants and wine. Seriously. I wound up with more wine than what I started with, and the only reason I had any wine at all was to serve to our guests. Not that I’m complaining; once I evict this baby next month, that wine is all mine!

Empty pre-party, stocked post-party. Only at housewarmings.

Your younger friends and your neighbors probably won’t arrive with gifts, but that’s fine. It is not anyone else’s job to furnish your house. You don’t buy friends gifts when they purchase cars and other expensive items, do you? I thought not. I don’t think it matters if you mention anything about gifts on your invitation or not. When people see the word “housewarming,” if they’re the gift-giving type, they’re going to show up with something even if you specifically ask them not to, so just leave it alone and don’t make it awkward later. Well, that’s about it. Congrats on your new house, go out and have a fabulous party!

What all do you need for your housewarming? Hint: It's not decorations.#party #housewarming #housewarmingparty

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  1. robin rue says:

    Love this. My sister’s house is NOT clearly marked at all so we had a wicked hard time finding it when we went there the first time.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Noooo!! I hope she got that fixed, but if not, I’ll allow her balloons or something. We did have one problem with directions because it’s a new development and Apple doesn’t have it in GPS yet. But our house number is pretty obvious, so there wasn’t much we could do about that besides tell everybody to use Google instead.

  2. I always thought decorating for a housewarming party was a good idea. Thanks for the advice! Guess I never really thought about it like that before lol.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      I know some people just love decorating (I don’t), but when I go to housewarmings, my goal is to steal all the great home decor ideas they have. I can’t do that if they’re showing off all their great party decorations instead. Lol.

  3. My husband and I love hosting people at our house and we will continue to do so for as long as we live!! Food, drinks, friends and games – um, what’s not to love?!

  4. Tiara Wilson says:

    These are some incredible tips. We’ve never really had a house warming party and this is so interesting. We’re looking at buying, so these are helpful!

  5. Megan says:

    I’m laughing about the wine/plants part because that’s what happened to us. I love hosting parties, I always find the more laid back they are the more fun everyone has!

  6. What great tips! When we got our house last year I thought about having a housewarming party, and then realized I didn’t really like other people, so I changed my mind. I’m a bit of an introvert. I just showed pictures on Facebook and was like, “here’s our new home!”

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      That sounds much easier. 🙂

  7. Akamatra says:

    These are great tips and I enjoyed reading your funny intro! We didn’t throw a party for this house, is four years a ltitle late?lol

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Um… you can call it a housewarming, but I doubt you’ll get all the plants and wine. Lol

  8. Claudia Krusch says:

    Using a sign in the yard with the address is a great way to be sure your guests can find you. It is always fun to have a house warming party.

  9. I love your tips! I’m all for combining prepackaged food and homemade, saves time and you’re totally right about not trusting just anyone’s cooking lol 🙂 Better to keep it simple then frustrate yourself and freak people out with overkill

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Exactly. You’re the only one who cares what you serve. Everyone else is just thinking “Free food!”

  10. I’m hoping to move houses soon, so this is defs something I’ll have to remember when that time comes! Such fantastic tips.

  11. We’ve just moved – and a housewarming party is in the horizon. Great tips 🙂
    Katja xxx

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Congrats on your new house! Have fun at the party. 🙂

  12. I love a good house warming party and I think you are right to say to not expect to receive gifts. Because it puts less pressure on you and them too x

  13. Elizabeth O. says:

    I think it’s okay to celebrate a little later. I mean you can’t expect people to have everything arranged a week or two after they’ve moved in. It’s just too much pressure, lol.

  14. It’s awesome to be able to throw a hassle free housewarming party. Doesn’t matter when you decide to throw it, it’s always just fun when someone does. These are great tips!

  15. It’s good to be friends with your neighbors. I have a good relationship with mine and it’s nice having people around you that you can trust and rely on.

  16. We haven’t thrown a housewarming party at our current place, and I think it’s because it’s SO small that it would be impossible to fit everyone in.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      You can have a whole month of housewarming parties, one person at a time. Lol.

  17. This is such a great article. House warming parties are a great way to finalize a move.

  18. ROSEY says:

    lol on the house numbers for pizza. I like your tips. I was surprised at the ‘don’t decorate’ but it makes sense.

    1. Beth Davidson says:

      Decorating is just such a hassle, and there’s no obvious theme for housewarming, so I definitely say skip it. The pizza thing is for real! I delivered back in the day and those houses always drove us crazy. Put up a sign!

  19. Oooo great tips!!! I never bought about not having decor! Totally makes sense

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