In this issue of Party Yak:
Moving or know someone who is? Bone up on proper housewarming party etiquette.
Despite the chilly weather, more people move in the winter than any other time of year. Soon follow the housewarming parties.
Between the two come all the concerns about what is proper and what is not. Can I throw myself a housewarming party? Do I register at a department store for it? Etc, etc.
The answers lie in the purpose of the party, which is to welcome your friends and family to your new home. Of course, that's true in any season.
Should I host my own housewarming party?
Yes, absolutely. No one is more qualified to welcome your guests to your home than you.
Should I register?
There is a growing trend toward registering for a housewarming party the way one would for a wedding. Personally, I think it's tacky but the etiquette experts say it's okay.
Everyone agrees, however, that you should never, ever include your registry information in the invitations. If your guests ask you what you need or about your color scheme, then tell them where you're registered. Otherwise, the flavor of the party changes from "Welcome" to "Come over and bring me presents."
What about an 'empty house party'?
It's just what it sounds like, a housewarming party before you've moved into the house. Nothing gets broken or spilled on the furniture that way; just get the carpets cleaned afterward and you're done. Ugh! You could say that an empty house party embodies the term housewarming party, but not homewarming party, as it should be.
Instead, welcome your guests to your home. Every box should be unpacked, every window draped, all artwork hung, throw-rugs placed and welcome mat out. Don't host your housewarming party until your house is a home.
As a guest, should I bring a gift?
Yes, unless the host has specified that they prefer no gifts. It's one of those things... the host must not expect a gift but the guest should bring one anyway.
Housewarming party etiquette is pretty lenient here. There's always barware or the traditional houseplant, but your host may appreciate a gift card from a home improvement center even more.
A nice bottle of wine or champagne is a great gift; food and drink always make welcome gifts. In fact, an attractive serving platter or bowl, baking dish or soup tureen filled with one of your (or your host's) favorite recipes is one of the best gifts you can give. And a ribbon is all the wrapping you need, or is practical.
Which brings us to What should I serve?
Appetizers are good walk-around-and-mingle food and wine and cheese are good any time of year. But if it's cold, serve a hearty stew or soup. Nothing says 'home' like soup on the stove.
A winter party calls for winter food, warm and inviting dishes in keeping with the theme. Your guests will love Hot Buttered Cranberry Punch to drink or Wassail.
Good winter party recipes:
Homemade Soup, Stew, Gumbo and Chowder Recipes
The do's and don'ts of housewarming party etiquette are pretty simple; they boil down to 'welcome' and 'be welcome.'