Planning a Housewarming Party: Invitations, Gifts and Themes

Family gathering

Moving into a new and larger home can often give the new occupants an empty feeling. The house literally feels empty. Hosting a housewarming party will fill the house with family and friends, as well as providing a few great gifts after they are gone. Here's how to start planning a housewarming party:

  1. Find a friend to host: Hunting, buying, and moving into your new home is a lot of work. It would be easier on you if a sibling, parent, or friend were to do the hosting.
  2. Invitations: Make postcard invitations using photos of the new house with the address showing in the picture. This will help your guests to find the home more easily. You can take the pictures yourself and print the cards on photo or postcard paper from your own printer. Add printed address and return address labels to the back, and print the party details like date, time, and driving directions on larger stickers and add to the other side of the card.
  3. Place: A housewarming party should be held at the new home, of course! However, you can dictate whether it will be outside or inside.
  4. Time and date: You can have an open house where people come and go all day as available, or a party with a definite arrival and ending time. Unlike other parties, housewarming ones are effective on holidays and birthdays and can even be combined with the usual festivities (except perhaps Christmas or the birthdays of your in-laws).
  5. Party themes: Make the party activity-related. If there are rooms to be painted or a garden that badly needs planting, plan the party around getting that task done. You can have a painting party, where most of the guests show up early and help paint, or a garden party where each guest brings a plant, and actually plants it. (Yes, you can let them know which plants you prefer.) Of course, if you feel bad putting your friends to work, you can go a different route with your theme. If you have a pool, you can throw a pool party, for example.
  6. Gift registry: Chances are that although you probably have plenty of items for your new home, there will also be plenty you still need. It is OK to register in advance for gifts. However, don't be surprised if your guests put together their own housewarming gifts for you.
  7. Fundraiser: If you are more interested in presence, than presents, you can ask for donations toward your favorite charity in lieu of gifts.
  8. Food: Keep it simple. You are just getting oriented with your new home; this is not a good time to exercise cooking skills. It is also unlikely that you have money for catering after closing on a home. Ask everyone to bring a dish and you can provide beverages and dishes.
  9. Things to do: Besides the hard work of painting and gardening, there are plenty of fun things you can do at the party to add to the beauty of the home. You can have your guests make abstract paintings, which you can then hang around the house. (Supply a limited number of paints so they stay in your color palette.) Use disposable cameras or have your guests bring their digital cameras to take pictures of each other and interesting views of the home and its details. Have these pictures blown up and transferred to canvas. Or if you want people to just relax out back, you can put together some simple games.
  10. Remembering it later: Provide a guest and/or prayer book for the guests to sign and write their good wishes. Add photos of each person next to their signatures so you will remember them and the occasion years later.

Hopefully these ideas offer some help when planning your housewarming party. Good luck!


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It's good if the guests bring the food. That makes it much less stressful for the hosts, and adds to the variety of the menu.

By Sadaf Farooqi

wish more people would do this.

By James Goetz