Housewarming parties are generally informal events, usually with just family and close friends, that are customarily held soon after a person has moved into their new place. The purpose of housewarming parties is for the new tenant to show their new home to their loved ones and allow their family and friends the opportunity to present gifts that help the person furnish their new place.
Studies suggest giving the new tenant around a month to get settled into their new home before throwing a housewarming party. This is so that they themselves, can get used to their new space, unpack some boxes, organize their belongings, arrange the furniture to their liking, and do some decorating.
Once their new place has been converted into some semblance of a home instead of a place stacked with boxes, the tenant can start preparations for the housewarming party. Compiling a guest list should be, if not first, then near the top of the to-do list.
Bear in mind that homes in Japan tend to be limited in space so unless you’ve managed to snag a spacious property or are living more in the countryside, it’s best to keep the guest list limited to close friends and family. That being said, one might also want to consider inviting neighbors as a gesture of goodwill and/or coworkers, especially if you’ve recently just started in a new place of work. By the way, do you have any family, friends, or coworkers looking to move? Village House offers a “Refer-A-Friend” treat where the current tenant can score a month of free rent. Terms and conditions apply of course.
To ensure that everyone, yourself included, has ample time for the housewarming party, invitations should be sent out at least 3 weeks in advance. Invitations can be mailed or emailed. Nowadays, they can even be sent over social media platforms and messaging apps like LINE or WhatsApp.
What information goes onto the invitation is dependent on the individual but in general, it should include the following:
- Time and date of the housewarming party (and possibly when it ends)
- Address and directions
- The nearest train and/or bus station
- Parking instructions if need be
As previously mentioned, Japanese homes tend to err on the small side, which means space comes at a premium. This should be factored in when considering a housewarming gift; so while decorative knick-knacks and plants may seem like a good idea, aim for gifts that have practical and necessary uses: blankets, customized towels, decorative tea towels, funny/novelty door mats, drink coasters and aprons, glassware, silverware, china, kitchen appliances like a blender, toaster, etc.
Whether the gift giver decides to wrap the present or present it in a gift bag is up to them but remember to remove the price tag. It’s considered impolite and in bad taste to let your friend or family member know how much you spent on a gift.
Nowadays one is spoiled for choice when it comes to food delivery services. From Uber Eats to Wolt to Demae-can, there is no shortage when it comes to getting food delivered straight to your door. Depending on the theme of your housewarming party, many of which tend to lean towards informal gatherings, you can utilize one of the aforementioned food delivery services to get food delivered.
To add a personal touch to your party, small appetizers can be made from scratch. Finger foods such as cheese plates, charcuterie boards, hors d’oeuvres, fruit skewers, and canapés are popular among hosts and guests alike as they’re quick and easy to make and easy to eat.
If you’re living alone and want to avoid the inevitable cleanup after throwing a house party, try to serve foods that are easy to eat and clean up like pizza or nabe. Disposable cutlery and plates can also be invested in to avoid dishes piling up in the sink.
It’s also suggested that housewarming parties last no more than three hours, in consideration for your neighbors, and also to dissuade latecomers and party stragglers.
For those attending a housewarming party of someone who does live alone, some potential gifts could include: crockpots or instant pots, rice cookers, spices and seasonings sampler, alcohol, gift cards to a home improvement or furniture store, etc.
To stay on top of the housewarming party preparations, ensure that invitations are sent out early and try to aim for a weekend to hold the event as it allows your guests more leeway in their own busy schedules. Prepare a guest list and tick off those who have responded to your invitation, then make a housewarming checklist so you don’t forget anything.
Try to also ensure that the new place is devoid of obstacles and potentially falling hazards. Guests will undoubtedly ask for a tour of the new apartment or house; so while you don’t have to be 100% unpacked, take care to make sure things are not haphazardly strewn about where guests might trip over them. Village House provides moving support so be sure to take advantage of this service to see how they can make moving into your new place as seamless as possible.
Lastly, plan for the whether – before setting a date, check the weather forecast for a general sense of what the weather might be like. If it does unfortunately rain, leave out an umbrella stand for your guests, door mats to wipe their shoes on, and hangers for their coats.