12 Comments

  1. Holly

    On that same note, I thought it was traditional for a friend or family member to through/coordinate a house warming party “for” the new homeowner, or is it still appropriate for the homeowner to through the party for themselves?

  2. Alicia

    I’ve never seen or heard of that. I’ve only seen the homeowners host a gathering of their friends to show off the new place. However, In my circle gifts are minimal or not at all but you are pretty much obligated to take a house tour and say what a nice place it is.

    How could someone else throw a party in your home without you at least co-hosting?

    • Holly

      Maybe it’s a regional thing, because the only housewarming parties I’ve ever been invited to, a friend or family member sent out the invitations, provided the snacks, etc. Yes, the homeowner was “there”, but I guess it was like a “shower” hosted by the friend. Gifts were never mentioned, which I agree should not be, but often people did bring similar small items as described; wine, flowers, plants, etc.

      Thank you for your input, it’s been very helpful. I have a family member that I love dearly, but often find myself scratching my head and referring to my Emily Post. My comment was prompted by the very same occurance where she’s throwing a “house-warming” party and mentioned “they aren’t registered anywhere, but if you like to bring a gift, a Lowe’s gift card, or a pre-paid card would be great.” Uuuuggg… I love her to death and this isn’t the first time she’s made an inappropriate gift request. I don’t wish to hurt her feelings, but I’m actually a bit embarrassed for her. Would it be poor etiquette on my part to bring the latest addition of Emily Post to the party as my gift, even though I already gave them a rather substancial gift card when they first bought the house? Please help…

      • Joanna

        I live in CT, and I’ve never heard of such a thing, either…

        Per my understanding, a housewarming party is really about having a chance to show friends and family the new home. Obviously, those close to the new homeowner should want to share their happiness, and that means showing an interest in the new place. They wait for the party so as to give the new homeowner the opportunity to get settled first, instead of dropping in randomly, and also having everyone there in one shot, as opposed to a million little gatherings.

  3. Nina

    Hi Holly,

    I’m the same as Alicia–I’ve never heard of someone else throwing a house-warming for the newly moved. It is so challenging to get fully moved-in and then have the place presentable for guests, most would want to set their own date for such a party, and organize how food/drink will be served–I would be most alarmed if someone else said they would throw one for me in my new place. And throwing one anywhere else wouldn’t make much sense.

    I also wanted to comment that I’ve always thought the traditional meaning of the house-warming was that the warmth of friends and family together in the home would make it a positive and happy space for years to come. Isn’t the gift folks give at a house-warming supposed to be literally just their presence and support?

    That said, I usually bring something to eat or drink to such an event–I know it’s hard to cook in a new place!

    • Holly

      Of course the homeowner was consulted on date and time and when it would be convenient for them, and I agree it would be defeating the point to have elsewhere (never suggested that.) I’ve never thrown one for someone else, but never heard anyone complain about friend or family wanting to extend such a gesture, either.

      As for you’re advise on a gift… “thank you,” very much appreciated and very helpful. I’ll look forward to checking out your site & blogs in the future!

    • Elizabeth

      VABM – I’m not sure where that email address came from. The moderators on this site are not employed by the EPI, so the following information is just what I’ve gathered by searching around a bit. There is a contacts page you can consult if you need to get in touch with the EPI: http://www.emilypost.com/contact-us. However, if you’d like to ask a question or post as comment here, all you need do is post. If you’d like to submit a question to Peggy Post for possible inclusion in her occasional NY Times pieces, the correct address seems to be weddingmanners@nytimes.com.

  4. VT Reynolds

    From what I can tell, this current trend for new homeowners to host their own housewarming party is due in large part to the fact that they have no friend or family member offering to do it for them. Perhaps also they are major “Type A” personalities who want to take the matter into their own hands. In any case, the self-hosted parties can now be socially acceptable if done properly (i.e., not asking guests to bring a gift, and also not calling it a housewarming party as this title automatically indicates that guests should bring a gift).

    According to the normal tradition (and also according to Emily Post’s 1945 edition of Etiquette), what we think of as a housewarming party truly was a “shower” hosted by friends: guests were directed how to “shower” the new homeowners with gifts (today, we often “shower” the homeowners with liquor bottles, which sounds like a great idea to me!).

    Bottom line: if you want a housewarming party to be thrown for you, find a way to get a close friend to do this for you, and be sure to offer to host a housewarming party for your friend(s) too when the time comes.

    I hosted one for my best friend two years ago, and it worked out perfectly: he was able to showcase his new home, he received lots of fabulous gift bottle, and I brought the food and booze for serving (that was my gift to him). Now if he would just offer to host MY housewarming party now that I have my new place….

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I don’t know what the rule used to be, but housewarming parties are no longer showers. They are an opportunity to have guests over and warm the home with their presence so I don’t see the harm in hosting one youself as guests are not expected to bring gifts.

  5. V.T. Reynolds

    It seems that the housewarming party can go either way when it comes to the gift expectation, as the responses above are about half and half: bring a gift, do not bring a gift (not to mention the Emily Post official response states the same). However, unless I were unemployed or in a financial bind of some sort, I would feel most inappropriate if I arrived at a housewarming with nothing to give to my friend as a token of love and well-wishing for her/his new home adventure, especially since they took the trouble and expense to prepare drinks and a meal. The presence of friends warming the house is #1, but gifts are always appreciated when it comes to parties.

    One more point of consideration: perhaps we should be more mindful of what the rules used to be, in the event that some of those rules have spilled over into the present.

  6. Rmh

    All of the housewarming comments were very helpful. I learned the background of housewarming (showers). Every housewarming party I was invited to we were expected to bring gifts. Sometimes what was needed was listed on invitation. The housewarming party is viewed as an opportunity to share in the joy of a new home. If this is a single person setting up house or apartment for first time friends would bring small appliances (toasters, coffee makers, place mats, etc.) . The housewarming is looked upon as opportunity to help a friend in their new venture to make their house a home.

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