One of my friends recently moved out of her studio apartment and into a beautiful home. While in the process of transferring all of her things to her new place, she realized she is missing a variety of essential items. She is considering hosting a housewarming party for herself and creating a registry to give guests an idea of what she needs. Although I share in her excitement, I am not sure if inviting friends and family to a gathering (and providing them with registry information) is the right thing to do. If I had the financial means, I would be happy to host a party on her behalf, but I am a single mom on a tight budget. I would appreciate your advice!
Your friend’s intentions are good, but the gift registry isn’t on track. The purpose of a housewarming party is to celebrate a new residence with friends and loved ones. Guests often bring a small gift such as a bottle of wine or something for the house, but it is certainly not mandatory.
Instead of aspiring to get everything crossed off her wish list, the focus should be on embracing the fun and “firsts” of her new place with people she admires. While a housewarming party can be festive, it is not the same thing as a shower. Rather than concentrating on a gifts, I would suggest focusing her attention on making guests feel comfortable in her new space. To get the ball rolling…
- Organize a scavenger hunt where several small trinkets are hidden in different parts of the house. Have small “awards” for those who track down the most items.
- Display a guest book in the foyer and have each person sign it with a special message wishing your friend well. Ask everyone to write down one piece of homeowner advice.
- Invite attendees to vote on their favorite paint colors for the kitchen that will be renovated. Getting input from others is always a good idea. She doesn’t have to go with their picks, but listening to the pros and cons of people who have had prior experience is always helpful.
If you want to assist, be there to set up the drink and snack stations; I am sure she would welcome the extra hands. For those who insist on bringing a gift, suggest something that will help “stock the pantry.” This can be anything from a favorite blend of tea to an array of spices or fresh herbs, and is completely up to the discretion of the guest.
Finally, you shouldn’t feel obligated to host a housewarming party. Your first priority is taking care of your immediate family, and then being a great friend. The fact that you don’t want her to be embarrassed by including a registry on the invitation says you care. If this is a close friend, mention that it may not be the best course of action. Ultimately, however, it’s not your responsibility to monitor her actions, especially considering she is an adult.