MISS MANNERS: I had a fire and lost everything. I rebuilt and am now in my new home. Some things are not finished yet; it will take a while. But friends and family are asking me whether I plan to throw a housewarming party. Do I throw it myself?
My neighbors are curious about the house, also. I was thinking of having an open house, where I set a time -- say, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. -- and offer some finger foods and let everyone come and go.
Some friends said I should register at a few stores in case someone wants to bring a gift. I do not want to look like a bride or anything. But I lost 34 years of possessions, my five cats and a bit of my mind. And insurance doesn’t begin to cover those losses.
GENTLE READER: What you went through is heartbreaking. It sounds, however, as if you are seeking permission, not advice -- permission to treat your friends as supplemental insurance.
If, out of their kindness and feeling for you, they wish to send you any unsolicited presents, you will, of course, respond with an effusive letter of thanks. But the commitment they make as friends is to emotional, not financial, support. And a registry is an announcement that you expect people to buy what you need. (And yes, that goes for brides, too.)
You can throw your housewarming party in whichever form, and at whatever time, you prefer, without any fear that you are putting a burden on the friendship.