The origin of the housewarming party is unclear–some say it’s rooted in the medieval tradition of literally warming the house with the community bringing gifts of firewood, while others say it stems from the idea of lighting a candle on the first night to ward off evil spirits. However it came about, it’s one of the more fun aspects of moving into a new house! Nowadays, most housewarming parties are typically casual affairs where friends and neighbors bring small gifts or potluck dishes and enjoy a tour of the new home.

Most of the time, the actual housewarming party takes place months after move-in. People usually need time to unpack, decorate and organize before they invite the whole neighborhood over to have a peek! In these cases, it makes more sense to either bring something practical like a Target or Home Depot gift card or something small that you know they’d use like a luxury candle or a nice set of grilling utensils. The typical gifts of a new doormat or set of kitchen towels won’t be as useful when they’ve already been living in the home for a couple months.

Advice for the New Homeowners

  • Send out invites with plenty of advance notice! How casual or formal you go is up to you but giving your guests fair warning is always appreciated.
  • Don’t worry about making the home picture-perfect. Your guests will understand if you’re not completely settled in yet!
  • Plan easy-to-prepare finger foods and decorations so that you’re not stressed on the day of!
  • Accept that people will wander and consider locking doors or setting up signs if there are areas you don’t want guests snooping around in!

Do’s and Don’ts for Housewarming Guests

  • Make sure to RSVP, if needed! There’s nothing worse than surprising someone with an unexpected plus one or bringing along kids to an adults-only soiree!
  • Don’t show up empty-handed! Even if they request no gifts, a nice bottle of wine or a vase of fresh flowers never hurt anyone.
  • Feel free to ooh and ahh over the house, but don’t explore on your own. There may be areas they haven’t decorated yet or aren’t ready for guests to visit.
  • Don’t leave a mess! Clean up after yourself so that the host isn’t left with a ton of work at the end of the night!