Breaking champagne against the bricks? Celebrating a new house with kids
October 6, 2017 7:13 AM   Subscribe

What are some meaningful and fun traditions or ways to celebrate a new home with youngish kids? And conversely, what are some ways to say goodbye to the home that they were born in?

Tomorrow, we're moving into the home that ostensibly will house our children (5 and 7) until they are launched into the great wide open in ten+ years. The home we are moving from is the one in which they were born and the youngest is feeling sad about leaving it.

Any ideas about how to make the first few days and nights in the new place extra special, or ways that we can launch our lives inside of it? One idea is to start a growth chart on a special wall.....and that's all I've got, folks.

NB: the new house is only five blocks away from the old house so everything else in their lives (school, friends, parks) will remain the same.
posted by thenewbrunette to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My husband and I drink champagne on our houseiversary (the day we closed on our first home) every year. Maybe get some sparkling grape juice and plastic champagne flutes and make that a ritual, starting with the moving date.

As far as leaving the old house, have everyone write down their favorite memory that happened in the home, or their favorite part of the house and put it in an envelope. Leave it on the countertop for the next occupants.

Etsy has a lot of people that will create custom prints of your old home. Buy one of those, frame it, and put it up in your new place. My ex-roommate made one of these for herself and gave me a print, and I love it so much. A lot of big things in my life happened in that apartment, and it's wonderful to have those memories in that way.
posted by Fig at 7:36 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]

I'm partly repeating Fig here, but write the old house a letter, thanking it for all the fun you've had. Leave it there. Keep a copy to remind yourselves, and read it while you walk to the new house. While you're walking, plan some fun things you'd like to happen in the new house. And then when you get there, write a letter to the new house, to introduce yourselves and tell it all the fun things that are about to take place there over the coming years.

Hide treats all over the empty house and have a hunt so the kids get to know the new spaces.

Can you find a spare wall somewhere inside? Every year, let the kids do hand prints on it, and watch them get bigger over the years. In each hand print, write some great things that happened that year. I wish we'd done that.
posted by dowcrag at 8:14 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]

A widespread and diverse housewarming tradition is bread and salt, with extras added in depending on culture and meaning. I'm most familiar with bread salt wine and honey, but I've also seen a broom, coins, oil, incense, candles, fresh fruit, milk or cheese. Anyway, generally speaking it's about bringing life into a home, clearing out any negative vibes, and welcoming the new residents with delicious and satisfying food and drink.

Baking fresh bread in your new kitchen is a great way to make a house smell fantastic, and you can involve your kids in the process. If you aren't up for doing bread from scratch something like a premade pizza dough can be played with and formed into rounds by the kids, basted with a little oil, sprinkled with salty cheese (Parmesan) and herbs, baked and cut into strips and dunked in the sauce of your choice. Pair with wine and favorite juice and consume with ceremony.
posted by Mizu at 8:18 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]

Plant a tree in your new home's yard! They can water it and watch it grow, and it will be a constant friend to them.
posted by halation at 8:33 AM on October 6 [11 favorites]

Pineapple is a traditional sign of welcome, especially in the context of welcoming someone to a new home (or welcoming a traveler to an inn, e.g.). So, clearly, it's time for a Pineapple Party. Perhaps SpongeBob can be yoked into the occasion.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:54 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]

I was going to say what halation did. Take your kids to home depot or wherever, pick out a tree together (I'd get an apple tree), find a suitable spot in the yard together, dig the hole together, drop it in and bury it together. Have them water it. Maybe give it a name. Add watering Jerry or Ralph to their summer chores. It'll give them some sense of ownership over the house and the yard they will play in.

The other thing I recommend is letting them pick out the paint for their new bedroom. Let them help paint. Whatever color! Paint is cheap and can be repainted in a few years.
posted by TomFoolery at 9:03 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]

I also like the idea of just having an official Moving In Celebration Dinner -- maybe not on the day full of boxes, but maybe after the first week, so you've cought your breath a little. Candles on the table, lowered lights, and some kind of reverent toasts. Could embellish as desired -- everybody's hopes for the next year (or several), etc.
posted by acm at 10:57 AM on October 6

Encourage your children to find a pretty or interesting rock from the old house and place it in a strategic place in the garden or yard of the new house. You can have a little ceremony whereby the old house "gives" part of itself to the new house. Your kids can "give back" to their old house a small gift basket to the new owners with a letter included telling them how much they loved their old house.
posted by Aha moment at 11:16 AM on October 6 [6 favorites]

Tie up the new house with a bow (er, a thread bow, probably) and then have a ribbon cutting. It can be kind of a challenge to go around an entire house with a strand of sewing thread, so it would be a good group activity, then once you've done it & tied it off, you can have a little ceremony of breaking/cutting the thread before you enter for the "first" time.
posted by janell at 11:26 AM on October 6

The entire family might carve their initials somewhere unobtrusive in the old house as a goodbye -- basement, or attic? Take one last picture of the kids on the old front steps today, and a new one at the new house.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:27 AM on October 6

When my parents finally sold and moved out of the house my sister and I grew up in I had a custom cat's meow house made. I sent in 3 or 4 pictures and made up a little "story of the Bowmaniac House" that they printed on the back. I had them make 3 and gave one to my parents and sister at Christmas and kept one for myself.

It made my mom cry on Christmas and really what else can one hope for? Anyway, it might be a nice little keep sake to give to the kids to have in their rooms?
posted by bowmaniac at 12:02 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]

Takeout Pizza picnic in the new house the night you get the keys. No furniture, sit on the floor, soak up that that ‚new house‘ feeling. Kids love it.
We thought we were being original when we did this but our realtor says it‘s a thing.
posted by The Toad at 12:34 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]

If you're religious, most faith traditions have a house blessing that a clergyperson will come recite at your new house (possibly while flinging holy water at it or waving branches around or similar!). You could also look at a couple house blessings and see if you want to write your own little goodbye-and-hello for the old and new houses using that as a starting point.

(I put my growth chart on a piece of trim, and adhered it to the wall with command adhesive, so that I could take it with me when I moved ... you could even do one piece of trim for each child, that they could take with when they moved.)

We took some bricks from our old house when we moved. I mean not from the wall, but from the garden patio. (We replaced them with new ones, never fear!) We've arranged the bricks in our new garden. It's nice.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:30 PM on October 6

Logging children's heights at birthdays on part of the house (ie., a particular doorframe).

Is there any excuse to replace wallpaper/repaint the kids' room(s)? Let them choose (but provide guidance... or let them redo their rooms on their own dimes when they hit their teen years).
posted by porpoise at 6:02 PM on October 6

Make the kids responsible for moving something from the old house, and putting it in new house. Something like a painting, or antique, or pictures that they have seen their whole life.
posted by 445supermag at 7:41 PM on October 6

Have your kids create a treasure chest to hide in the old house for the next kids to find.
posted by tinker at 6:01 PM on October 7

One tradition is to take a piece of firewood burned in the old house and put it into the new house and burn it there. This only really works if you have a fireplace in each house, though! If not, you could just cut off a matchstick-sized sliver and burn it in a dish.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:33 AM on October 10

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