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13 Tips for Hosting a Stress-Free Housewarming Party

What good is a fabulous new home if nobody sees it? Throw a housewarming party to show off your new digs to old friends and new neighbors — but don’t fuss over the invites, food and festivities. Embrace the we-haven’t-completely-unpacked-yet look (hey, cardboard boxes make for excellent breakdancing surfaces!), and host a stress-free, toned-down gathering with these dozen tips.

 

  1. Wait a few weeks — at least. Tempting as it may be to invite the whole gang over right away, wait until your home is in reasonable shape (furniture in place, most boxes unpacked) and you’ve settled in, which could even be a few months.
  2. Email invitations a few days or a few weeks ahead. No need to get fancy with invites, and emailing them is quick and easy. (And let’s be honest: Who can find where the stamps are packed, anyway?) As with any other party, ask guests to RSVP so you can plan the food and drink.
  3. Organize it as an open house. If your guest list is no match for your home’s small square footage, throw an open house, which means people can drop in anytime during a span of several hours — say, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. — rather than everyone showing up at 2:00 p.m.
  4. Tell your new neighbors to stop in. What better way to get to know the local folks than to invite them to your soiree? Then, next time you see them at school or the grocery store, you’ll already be buddies.
  5.  Set up a housewarming registryPeople are going to want to bring you something, and they’ll want it to be something you’re actually going to use in your new home. Fill your registry with things you really need and want, and include items at a variety of price points. Once the party is over and the gifts stop coming, use the remainder of the registry as a checklist, and shop for yourself!
  6. Give it a theme. Up the fun factor and pick a theme! A popular one: Stock the Bar, where you serve your favorite cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and guests bring wine, liquor and gifts like glasses, coasters and shakers. Other favorite themes involve gardening, crafting or recipe swaps.
  7. Set up a bar. Clear off a table in a central location (but away from the front door) and stock with liquor, soft drinks, glasses and napkins.
  8. Keep the food simple. Since most of your cookware may still be in boxes, or you’re too busy unpacking to prepare a feast, order bite-size foods that can be kept at room temperature, as well as pre-cut fruit, cheese and cookie platters.
  9. Use paper products. Save time on cleanup by using paper plates made from recyclable materials; they’re sturdy and totally appropriate for such a casual event. Bonus: If you’re still living out of cardboard boxes, you won’t have to hunt down the one that contains your appetizer plates.
  10. Get the living room in order. You should have the main party spot — likely the living room — as unpacked and organized as possible. Take the drop cloth off the sofa and tables, and lay the rug down.
  11. Plan a grand tour. Give guests what they came for — a guided tour of your new home — or invite everyone to wander on their own. Don’t worry if you still have some boxes to unpack and the windows are bare: It’s all part of the “just moved in” charm!
  12. Set the atmosphere with music. Check out the housewarming playlists on Spotify, or make your own upbeat grouping. Bonus points for sneaking in moving-related songs, such as “Our House” by Madness, or “Movin’ Out” by Billy Joel.
  13. Let the games begin! It’s goofy, but good fun: Make up a trivia game about your house, your town or even your habitat history (“How many roommates did Jeannie have when she lived in Chicago?”). Or group people into teams, and then send them on a mini scavenger hunt throughout your new place.



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