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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

02.28.2002

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etiquette schmetiquette: 
h
ousewarming 
how-tos
1 2 3 4

Youíve just moved into a great apartment (condo, house, igloo, whatever), and have finally unpacked all the boxes, pushed the furniture into its proper place, hung the artwork, and generally settled into your brand-new surrounds. Youíre loving your digs, and feeling so proud of your truly superb decorating skills that youíve given yourself a crick in the shoulder from all those self-congratulatory pats on the back. The house rocks. You rock. But thereís still a little something missing. Because after all, a house doesnít feel like a home until youíve had a few Ė or a few dozen Ė of your favorite people in the world, enjoying the fabulous atmosphere created by yours truly, and showering you with compliments on your amazing decorating talents. Which means itís time for you, new homeowner (or renter) to have a housewarming party Ö

But do you throw it yourself? Or does someone else throw it for you? And whatís the deal with the gift situation? The questions abound. Because when it comes to housewarming etiquette, who the heck knows the rules? Etiquette Schmetiquette helps you navigate the tricky territory of the housewarming tradition ...

housewarming versus open house
The words "housewarming" and "open house" are often used interchangeably, but in my mind, the former generally implies that gifts are expected, while the latter is simply an invitation for guests to show up to check out the house. Since Iím generally of the opinion that time shared with friends and family is far more valuable a commodity than any gifts that might be accumulated, I tend to prefer the concept of the open house. Still, call it whatever you prefer -- so few quasi-adults are aware of the finer nuances of the distinctions between the two that youíre equally as likely or unlikely to receive gifts either way.

what happens at a housewarming?
If itís only recently that you and your friends have left the parental nest, moved out of the college dorm, and begun to set up little homes of your own, chances are good youíve had little to no experience actually attending housewarmings. So what exactly happens at a housewarming/open house, anyway?

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