housewarming party: a do or don't?
July 29, 2006 7:47 AM   Subscribe

When is it tacky to have a housewarming party?

I'm a 22-year old grad student who just landed a Cambridge, MA apartment with two roommates. I want to throw a "housewarming party" -- but do people do that for rented apartments, especially if they are still being supported by their parents? This whole having-my-own-place thing is new to me, so grown-ups, please advise.
posted by Lisa S to Human Relations (27 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Absolutely fine. I have been to many, many housewarming parties in apartments, especially in Cambridge, MA! However, these were not formal affairs-- just an excuse to have a party in a new place. If you're expecting guests to bring presents or talk about how your curtains match, you might be on the wrong track.
posted by neustile at 7:51 AM on July 29, 2006

If you call it a "housewarming party" without being all married/suburbanite, it feels tacky (well, it's still tacky then, but I guess they don't think so). If you throw a "moving in party" or just a "party", however, that's fine in my book.
posted by reklaw at 7:56 AM on July 29, 2006

Welcome to Cambridge, neighbor. We don't need excuses to party here. :-)

Seriously, you're doing nothing out of place. I'm headed to a housewarming party tonight for a 23-year old in a new apartment in Watertown. They're just parties, but with a grown-up-sounding title.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:59 AM on July 29, 2006

Party = fine
Gifts = not cool
posted by k8t at 8:09 AM on July 29, 2006

It's a "we're new to the neighborhood, and we're having a party" party. If you're inviting friends, I'm sure they'll get the drift, even if you do write "housewarming" on the invitations. If you're inviting neighbors you don't yet know, dropping them a note to introduce yourself and mention you're having a little "new to the neighborhood get-together" might be the right route. We're moving to a townhouse in the fall and plan to have a party just as you describe- we're having it on a Sunday afternoon so it's not inconvenient for anyone to attend, but we figure the new neighbors we click with will stay on later into the evening.
posted by saffron at 8:21 AM on July 29, 2006

I don't think it's remotely tacky. Just a fun excuse for a party - introduce your friends to your new digs.
posted by Amizu at 8:26 AM on July 29, 2006

I've been to tons of "housewarming" parties in rented accommodation. It's just an excuse to have a party. I don't think anyone would expect gifts, nor did I consider that until others mentioned it here.
posted by grouse at 8:31 AM on July 29, 2006

I agree with everyone, I've been to plenty of housewarming parties in rentals. Never brought a gift; never would have even thought to do so.
posted by raf at 8:36 AM on July 29, 2006

My husband and I are having a "housewarming" party in a rented place this evening. Just an excuse for a party. we certainly didn't expect anyone to bring gifts, and were surprised when (one) person asked what we needed. It's just breaking in the apartment... (hopefully not breaking the apartment)
posted by gaspode at 8:36 AM on July 29, 2006

It's tacky to have a housewarming party when it's somebody else's house and you're in the middle of burgling it. Otherwise, I'd say anything goes. People like parties.
posted by box at 8:43 AM on July 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Any excuse to have a party--a new place is a good reason. It's just like any other party, but in a new location. Don't expect people to bring gifts besides a 6-pack or something.
posted by bangitliketmac at 8:47 AM on July 29, 2006

Some people I work with had a housewarming party that listed where they were registered for THAT was tacky. Just having a party to celebrate a new place is not tacky. If you DO want gifts, and want to be slightly less tacky (and really old fashioned) have a pounding party; although usually such an event is held FOR the newcomers by others.
posted by weirdoactor at 8:47 AM on July 29, 2006

I'd say 'Go for it' but warn your neighbours. A simple note in advance with date and time - and an invite if you want - shoudl keep everything sweet during your time there.
posted by highrise at 8:49 AM on July 29, 2006

It's tacky to throw your own housewarming party IMHO. Oy.
posted by bim at 9:13 AM on July 29, 2006

Just another post to say I agree with everyone and I've been to many such parties in Cambridge, too.
posted by jdl at 9:50 AM on July 29, 2006

bim, if you don't warm your own house, who will? That's bizarro.

I've moved a lot (always rentals) and always throw a housewarming! It's just an excuse to party. And if people bring you a nice tchotchke, so much the better, but it's not expected.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:01 AM on July 29, 2006

It's tacky to throw your own housewarming party IMHO. Oy.

How can anyone but the person who lives in the house throw a housewarming party?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:02 AM on July 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've been to a good many similar parties [also in Cambridge, MA, also for people near your age.] It's more or less expected that you'll have one when you move into a new place, rental or not. Yes, everyone throws their own party, and yes, they they call their parties "housewarming parties." No one brings gifts, except for booze, though - as people have said, it's an excuse to have a party and make your new place feel like home, not some kind of formal thing.

[Welcome to Cambridge!]
posted by ubersturm at 10:03 AM on July 29, 2006

Throw the party by all means, but if you don't want to sound like you're asking for gifts and/or don't indeed even want gifts, avoid the use of the word "housewarming".
posted by orange swan at 10:16 AM on July 29, 2006

I nth the sentiment that it's totally normal and cool to have a housewarming party in a rental apartment. I have one every time I move or a new roommate moves in, and nobody brings any presents, they just come and hang out and see the new place and meet my roommates and have a good time.

I don't think this varies geographically, but even if it does I'm from Boston living in San Francisco (and about 1/2 of my friends are Bostonian)

If you're uncomfortable with this still, get three or four pineapples and then when they're ripe throw an emergency pineapple party, because you can't eat four pineapples yourself! (this works best if you have a blender and little umbrellas)
posted by aubilenon at 10:22 AM on July 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

I think that your hangup might be the issue of gifts. According to proper etiquette it's improper to include a request for gifts along with ANY party invitation, including weddings (although for weddings/showers most people will assume a gift is wanted, and they'll ask around to find out where the couple is registered). I think that if you just invite people over and make it clear that you just want them to see your new place and aren't digging for presents, it'll be fine.

I had a housewarming for my first "adult" apartment, and my friends keep asking when I'll have a housewarming for the apartment I now share with my fiance. At my last housewarming some people brought small gifts like candles just for fun, some people brought food, and some people brought nothing. It was fun. Your friends will want to see your new place!
posted by christinetheslp at 10:42 AM on July 29, 2006

Yes, the housewarming party is fairly traditional here in Seattle as well. In fact, I'd go so far as to say "universal"... and it's rarely thought of as a gift opportunity, though of course any time a guest brings beverages or food to a party it is welcome. It's just a "hey, we've got a new place, so let's celebrate!" party.

One guest did bring a gift to our last housewarming and I was surprised, as in all the housewarming parties I'd ever attended or thrown, gifts were never involved.
posted by litlnemo at 11:26 AM on July 29, 2006

Just want to add to the pile on that this is totally normal.

Up here in Winnipeg, a housewarming party is also just an excuse to party in the new place. This usually takes place a few weeks after the we-just-helped-you-move-now-let's-get-drunk party.

A few weeks after that comes the regular party and by then the novelty of the new place has receded and it gets thrown into the regular party loop.

We have nothing else to do all winter up here, and in the summer you have to take advantage of the brief ability to party outdoors, like on a fresh apartment balcony.
posted by utsutsu at 11:43 AM on July 29, 2006

After a fire would be tacky.
posted by jsteward at 12:11 PM on July 29, 2006

The point of a housewarming party is to give you a reason to get all your junk unpacked so that you won't be living in a sea of liquor boxes for six months. There is nothing, nothing, nothing tacky about throwing one in a rented space.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:46 PM on July 29, 2006

It's tacky to have a housewarming party after you've lived in the house 5 years. Or to have more than 1 housewarming party in the same house. Have fun!
posted by theora55 at 6:04 PM on July 29, 2006

It's tacky to have a housewarming party after you've lived in the house 5 years. Or to have more than 1 housewarming party in the same house

Nah - if it's a share house and someone new moves in, it's totally acceptable to have another housewarming. Any excuse for a party!
posted by goo at 2:08 AM on July 30, 2006

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