Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How to Host a Holiday Exchange Party

I love holiday exchange parties! You name it...cookie exchange, ornament exchange, handmade gift exchange, white elephant exchange, secret santa exchange, whatever! You name it, I love it. Why? Simple. Because I love to get presents. Okay - I love to make and give presents, too. But let's be real - don't we REALLY like to GET presents? I'm just sayin'.
Heather shares this same love - the exchanges, I mean. Except I think she might be one of the rare ones who actually really truly likes the giving more than the getting. Why can't I be that person? Anyhow, this is why we hosted our annual cookie and handmade gift exchange Monday night. Stay tuned for our blog post with great pics...

So what to do for your own exchange? I thought I'd throw out ideas today because the planning and hosting is truly my favorite part. I am going to do this as a two-part series. Today will be about the planning; tomorrow about the hosting.

First, buy our Cookie Exchange or Holiday Exchange Party Pack. How can I NOT say that? You knew it was coming. Seriously, it will make your life easy so that you can focus on the "exchange" part of the party.
Decide what you want your guests to exchange. Consider your group. Unless it is your knitting circle, you might not want to ask everyone to bring a hand-knitted present. Rather, broaden the scope. There are great options everywhere for handmade. Think out of the box. Food gifts can be a great idea, for example.

If you are going to go with a small niche, stick with a niche that has wide appeal. A tea exchange, for example. Except for a dear friend of mine (you know who you are) who has a strange aversion to tea, I can't imagine anyone who doesn't like a cup at least every once in a while - hot or cold. Tea gifts make beautiful presentations and introduce everyone to new tastes and herbal combinations. DELISH! Country Living has some great ideas on tea gifts - like this Green Tea Peony.

Or these Spicy Tea Infusions.

There are so many good blog posts out there on the gifting part - like this one on making handmade ornaments. Stephanie at Under the Table and Dreaming gathered a ton of great ideas and put them in one spot for us to explore.

And check out Heather's post on the beautiful ornaments she made for our exchange!

Next, consider the number of people you are going to invite and get the invitations out early! I know my calendar fills up quickly during the holidays so the earlier I know, the better. Perception is reality, if your invites are phenomenal then folks will expect the same of your party. Like these cute cookie exchange invitations...oh! those are from our Cookie Exchange Party Pack. There I go again.

It is always nice for your guests to leave your party with a nice token...a great little "thanks for coming" gift. Favors for your guests don't have to be expensive or involved. For our cookie exchange, Heather made adorable envelopes for guests to hold their different cookie recipes and I whipped up pillow boxes with handmade gift tags for the girls to take home for use during the holiday season. (Both favors included in our Cookie Exchange Party Pack) These small pieces of gratitude made everyone feel special and helped the evening to be even more memorable. Here are some other ideas:

Check out these favor buckets from a party featured on C.R.A.F.T. - empty paint cans are super cheap at a big box home improvement store. Wrap them in decorative holiday scrapbook paper and VIOLA! Doubles as a container to take home goodies as well.

Or send your guests home with a nice hot cocoa kit to enjoy with their own family while they relax in front of the fire. This one from Whipperberry might be the most beautiful presentation of such a gift I have ever seen. I know I've used this photo before, but man I love her site!

Or, if you have basic sewing skills you could use extra fabric to make this simple mug cozy from Hazelnuts. You can find the tutorial here.

You get the idea - the possibilities are endless. Just have a plan - don't wait until the day before to decide on favors if your plan is to make them yourself. Trust me when I say I speak from experience on that one.

So I think that gives you enough to think about for the "planning" part. Tomorrow I'll post some tips for the "hosting" part. Till then...



Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...