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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

02.28.2002

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etiquette schmetiquette:  housewarming how-tos 1 2 3 4
continued from page 2

who throws the housewarming?
Iím sure there was a time when it was considered poor etiquette to throw your own housewarming party, since housewarming parties were traditionally seen as one of those gift-eliciting parties, like wedding showers and baby showers. But as long as youíre viewing your housewarming as merely an excuse to show off your adorable little home, and provide a fun evening of hanging out and mingling for your friends, I think it makes perfect sense for the person who lives in the house to throw the party him/herself. After all, as king/queen of the house, it's simply practical for you to play host/ess as well.

where does it take place?
A housewarming, naturally, should always, always be held in the home that is being warmed. Itís absolutely essential, of course, that you include very clear, accurate directions in your party invite (a little map is a great idea). Also, itís not a bad idea to string lights around the door, or otherwise decorate the outside, to make locating the house as simple and obvious as possible to guests.

the lowdown on gifts
I have just one major bit of advice to offer to the prospective housewarming host/ess: Do not expect gifts.

Now there will no doubt be certain people out there who disagree with me (but itís a tradition! youíre supposed to bring a gift to a housewarming! and anyway, I really, really need some kitchen knives!), but trust me: unless you have unusually propriety-conscious friends, nine out of ten guests will not arrive bearing any material goods for you. Not because theyíre rude, or stingy, but because they honestly didnít have a clue that it might be expected. If you do get gifts, be grateful and express your sincere thanks appropriately, but it is a bad, bad idea to ever throw yourself a party for the sole purpose of attaining new stuff. Youíll almost certainly set yourself up for disappointment, but more importantly, youíll just plain be missing the whole point. Parties are not about gifts; theyíre about spending time with people.

Apparently, there are folks out there who actually do register for housewarmings, and while Iím loathe to say itís inappropriate Ė I donít like to judge Ė I do know that I, personally, would never ever choose to do so. (See argument above). If you do decide to register, however, itís pretty much universally agreed that itís tacky to include the registry information in your invitation. Same goes for a list of desired goods. Essentially, the only proper way to let people know about your registry would be if they inquired about it directly. It is, however, somewhat less gauche if your housewarming is actually being thrown by your friends, and your friends decide to spread the word about what items would be useful to you.

but wait, there's still more!

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