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You're invited: Housewarming in style.

Welcome to the neighborhood! Your dream home is finally finished and you've just recently moved in. Pretty sure you are excited to invite your family, relatives and friends to come to a housewarming party. But do you know the history of such tradition? The term housewarming can be traced as far back as the medieval period. It is the act of "warming" a new home especially during the days where there was no central heating. It is when family and friends come to the host's home to give wood to be used in the fireplace to add warmth in the home. For us Filipinos, we do this beyond tradition because it is really about sharing our good fortune of finally being able to purchase a home with our loved ones.

But housewarming has certain responsibilities as each subdivision, village and community has different safety requirements and inviting guests over could be a concern for your neighbors.

In order to avoid dispute and to have a safe and organized party, it's better to ask the homeowner's association for the rules and regulations in organizing one. Coordinate with the village gate guards and ask regarding the parking space for your guests if there is one, and it's better to inform your street neighbors so that they will be given a heads up. Doing these will certainly give you brownie points for being the polite and friendly new neighbor.

When all of it has been said and done, below are guidelines of the things you need to prepare and think of for a stress-free housewarming party:

1 Send E-Invites

This is the first step to letting your relatives and closest friends know that you are having a housewarming party. Since everyone has gone mobile, use it to your advantage by creating and sending a housewarming electronic invitation. One of the many websites that offer this free service is where you can keep track of who are attending the event. You can even specify whether your guests can have a plus one or not.

2 Bless Thy Home

Invite your favorite priest or the one who has christened you from birth would be great to serve as the house blessing celebrant. It is important to pray and have this before the party starts to drive away unwanted spirits and bad juju from your dwelling.

3 Grand Tour

Prepare and clean the house for the grand tour of your newly purchased home. Take them in each section and give a brief description of whose room it is or why you have decided to have a minimalistic or modern or rustic design of your home. Just make sure that you keep the tour moving by not dwelling too much on minute details unless asked.

4 Theme It

Design your home with a theme in mind and ask your guests to come in style by letting them know the theme of your party. It could be rock and roll legends night, masked party, 70's flower child or fan-favorite Marvel villain, it could be anything you want as long as everyone will be having fun dressing up and socializing the night away.

5 Food and Drinks

When it comes to serving food and drinks, one has to caution with thy guests allergies. Ask and confirm each guest if they have certain food allergies so that you can eliminate this from your grocery shopping. This is crucial because a peanut or shrimp could turn a fun party to a long night in the hospital.

6 Games and Surprises

Entertain your guests by having a karaoke ready to see who can really carry a tune. Or have board games to keep them having fun while having a friendly competition during your party. Monopoly, Pictionary, Scrabble and Word Finder are excellent multiplayer games that will surely make each one excited and interested till the last round.

7 Make a Floor Plan

Imagine your relatives, childhood friends, college friends and colleagues are all in your home to celebrate with you as you become the proud owner of a new house and yet all of them are segregated in their respective circle as if you are just monitoring a conference breakout session. Classic scenario. Don't fall into the trap by making a floor plan. Make sure that you put the food, desserts and drinks in opposite sides of the room so that people will be encouraged to mingle, walk around and get to know other relevant people in your life. Who knows, your party could be a place where two strangers could be significant others.

8 Loose Change

Go to the bank and ask the teller to break your hard-earned 500 pesos to a loose change of 1 peso each to throw away or paagaw inside your home and for kids to chase just like an Easter egg hunt. This is to bring good luck and fortune in.

The road to having a fun and memorable housewarming party can easily be achieved with just a little bit of planning, organization and preparation on the part of the host. Smile! You're now a proud member of the home village association.

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Title Annotation:Home & Garden
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Nov 4, 2015
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