Housewarming parties have always been hallmarked by gift-giving. And while today’s housewarming gifts tend to be things like glassware, charcuterie boards or books, this wasn’t always the case. The tradition of housewarming parties began during medieval times, where it took on a very literal meaning. Central heating wasn’t around yet, so homeowners had to rely on fireplaces to stay warm during the cold winter months. This meant that housewarming parties of centuries past often involved gifts of firewood to help the family stay warm and healthy in their new home.
But today, as accustomed as you are to throwing a housewarming party, you’d likely be concerned if a guest showed up with a pile of firewood as a gift (and rightly so). Your new home might not even have a fireplace! But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate your purchase.
Housewarming parties are a rite of passage for new homeowners, though, in today’s climate, you may be wondering if you should even throw one at all. But there are plenty of ways to go about celebrating that keep everyone safe and happy. From backyard festivities to Zoom parties, our guide will help you throw the ultimate pandemic-friendly celebration.
What traditionally has made a great housewarming party?
Whether you plan to go all out when decorating your home for a housewarming party, or you want to go the more low-key route, there are a few elements that make any housewarming party great. The first? A guest list full of close family and friends. Other must-haves include food, drinks and activities to keep everyone entertained all night long. Here’s a quick to-do list to make sure your party goes off without a hitch :
1. Make a guest list
2. Set a date and a theme (if you want one)
3. Send out invitations – You can mail out traditional invitations, send an evite or just create a Facebook event page
4. Get plenty of snacks and drinks
5. Buy games or activities for everyone to play – Not the game type? Turn on your favorite movie in the background or make a playlist to set the mood
6. Give the house a final deep clean
7. Set the stage – Add mood lighting, decorate, create a food/drink station and make sure to set out enough utensils and seating for your guests
Of course, you can always add or remove some of the steps above to better tailor your to-do list to your housewarming party specifications. As long as you make your party representative of what you want your life in your new home to be like, you’re off to a great start.
Options for hosting a (safe) housewarming party
Given the pandemic, it’s safe to say that housewarming parties aren’t what they used to be. While people are still buying up homes left and right (especially it’s a smart home that makes the pandemic a bit easier), get-togethers have slowed to a halt. New homeowners looking to celebrate their big purchase throughout 2020 may have had to trim their guest lists significantly or considered canceling their parties altogether.
But the celebrations don’t have to stop in order to keep people safe — quite the opposite, in fact! From backyard (socially distanced) parties to drive-by or Zoom get-togethers, there are plenty of options available that let new homeowners show off their digs while keeping everyone healthy.
Backyard housewarming party ideas
Backyard get-togethers are always a hit, and given how much safer outdoor events are than indoor events, it’s a no brainer when it comes to hosting a housewarming party. Still want to give tours of your new place? Make sure to only bring a few people indoors at a time and wear your masks. If you set up enough games, the rest of your guests won’t even realize you’re gone. Check out our suggestions for backyard housewarming party themes below.
• Say aloha to our new home-a
Throw a Hawaiian-themed bash in your backyard, complete with leis for the guests, a tiki bar and plenty of games like limbo and hula hoop competitions.
• Home is s’more fun with friends
Set up tents at least six feet apart and get a bonfire going — complete with all the s’more fixings — for a camp-out party guests of all ages are sure to love.
• Let’s ketchup with a housewarming BBQ
Grill up something juicy and set up plenty of tables throughout your backyard so that everyone can chow down safely. Bonus points if you set up an outdoor handwashing station and plenty of games to keep the party going.
Drive-by housewarming party ideas
Drive-by parties are all the rage. From birthday celebrations to light shows, every celebration of the year has gotten the mobile treatment lately. Homeowners can use this trend to their advantage by throwing a drive-by housewarming party. Not only is this kind of party easy to plan, but it also means you don’t have to worry about cleaning up the inside of your home. All you have to do is mow the lawn, set up a table of food by the street and grab some lawn chairs to make the perfect party. Pick a theme from the options below.
• A honkin’ fun housewarming party
Invite your friends and family to drive by and celebrate your new home purchase without having to leave their car. You can even have house- or car-themed treats set out in the yard for guests. Just make sure to warn your new neighbors, as there will likely be a lot of honking.
• A drive-in for our move-in
Roll out the red carpet and decorate your yard to create a drive-by party fit for the stars. You can even project your favorite movie on your garage door and invite your guests to slow down and watch.
It’s housewarming paw-ty time
• Given that 33% of millennial homebuyers bought their home for their dog, having a pup-themed housewarming party is bound to be a howling good time. Invite everyone to bring their dogs along and pass out treats for your human and canine friends to thank them for stopping by.
Virtual housewarming party ideas
While you may be on the brink of Zoom fatigue, a virtual housewarming party via Zoom or another video service is a great way to show off your home safely. Creating a fun theme can help keep the night from feeling like another virtual work meeting. Maybe a classy dinner and champagne event or a spirited drinking night, try out any of our virtual housewarming party theme ideas to liven things up.
• Let’s get into the housewarming spirit(s)
Test out your skills as a mixologist and create a craft cocktail recipe named after your new home. Make sure to send out the recipe a few days in advance so that everyone can gather the ingredients, then have fun discussing how your creations turned out before you give a virtual tour.
• A pa-jammin’ housewarming party
2020 left us all exhausted, so why not let everyone stay cozy? Ask guests to hop on the call in their pajamas and get ready to crown the winner of craziest PJs at the end of the night.
• Be our (virtual) guest
Turn your housewarming into a fancy soirée with a Zoom dinner party. Put on your best outfit, cook your favorite meal and light a candle to celebrate remotely with friends and family. You can even ship a bottle of champagne to your guests’ doorsteps to toast to your new purchase together.
8 housewarming party games and downloadables
Once you’ve decided what kind of party you want to throw (as well as your party’s theme), the next step is to plan out the games and decor for the ultimate get-together. Lucky for you, our team has gathered plenty of games and downloadables to help you kick off your first year in your new home with ease.
1. Housewarming sign
When hosting a drive-by event, your home’s decor will need to be focused on the front yard. One of the easiest ways to highlight your new home and thank your guests for swinging by is through a customizable yard sign. Download the interactive PDF below and update it with your address or your new home’s nickname. Attach a few of them to a table full of treats by the street before the party starts to kick the night off right.
2. Cornhole and tour game
Cornhole is a classic backyard party game. And it turns out there’s a major safety bonus as well, as it helps keep everyone at least six feet apart. Use this game to your advantage by rotating your guests in and out of your home. That way, everyone gets a tour and stays entertained while they wait outside. If you don’t have a cornhole set, you can also play other socially distanced games such as lawn bowling, Ladderball or Kan Jam.
3. Champagne label
Toasting your new home is a must during a housewarming party, no matter if you’re physically with your guests or not. Send your guests a bottle of champagne to use during your housewarming Zoom party and add a fun, celebratory label to the bottles before shipping for a night they won’t forget.
4. Homeowner history game
Find out just how much your friends know about you with a homeowner history game, perfect for Zoom and backyard parties alike. Have your guests grab a pen and paper and make their best guesses to tough questions like :
• How many roommates did I have before buying this home?
• What city am I from originally?
• What day did I officially move in?
• How many houses did I tour before buying this home?
• What’s my real estate agent’s name?
• How long have I lived in this city?
Bust out this game at the beginning of the party to break the ice. For a prize, give the winner a gift card to a home cleaning service or a package of cookies shaped like keys.
5. Advice booklet
There is often a steep learning curve when it comes to owning your first home. You can no longer rely on your landlord or your condo’s maintenance team to fix your dishwasher when it breaks. You’re on your own now.
Get a head start on learning the ins and outs of owning a home (like how to protect your stuff with personal property insurance) by asking for advice from your friends and family. These printable advice cards are a great addition to any backyard or Zoom party, and once you’ve collected all your friend’s advice, you can turn the pages into a cute coffee table booklet.
6. Lip syncing competition (home edition)
Once the drinks have been flowing, have your guests take turns lip-syncing and performing their hearts out. But this competition has a housewarming twist. The song has to mention a house or home in some fashion, so make sure to give your guests some heads up to find the perfect song. Expect to see powerhouse performances of classics like “Brick House” by The Commodores or “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and be prepared to crown a winner at the end of the night.
7. New home trivia
One of the most important parts of a housewarming party is the tour of your new home. After all, the point of the party is to show off, right? You can easily turn the tour into a fun game with this interactive new home trivia downloadable. Send it to your guests after the tour is complete and see how much they can remember about your new place.
You can quiz them on anything from the number of windows on the first floor to the color of your bathroom cabinets. We even included a few fill-in-the-blank questions so that you can customize the game to your home.
8. Famous houses guessing game
Monica’s apartment from “Friends” may be easily recognizable, but how many would recognize her apartment building when they see it? Or what about the house from “Home Alone?” Test your guests’ pop culture knowledge with a slideshow of houses from famous movies and TV shows (or just send them this quiz to take). No matter if you’re hosting your housewarming in person or virtually, your guests are sure to love battling it out to be crowned the King or Queen of pop culture. Make sure to add in houses from some of the following shows and movies for a quiz that’s sure to puzzle :
• 10 Things I Hate About You
• Breaking Bad
• Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
• Full House
• Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
• Home Alone
• Modern Family
• Mrs. Doubtfire
• New Girl
• Fresh off the Boat
• That ‘70s Show
• The Brady Bunch
• The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
As a new homeowner, there are likely a few stressful things on your to-do list, like building an emergency preparedness kit or getting an insurance binder, but throwing a housewarming party shouldn’t be one of them. Come to think of it, getting a home insurance policy shouldn’t be either. If you’re still looking for coverage for your new home, give us a call to get your home protected in a snap.
Housewarming Party 101 : How to Host The Ultimate In-Person or Virtual Celebration by Sarah Hollenbeck | Hippo