How To Host a Christmas Gift Exchange Party

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One of the best parts of the holiday season is getting together with friends and family to celebrate. On a tight budget? Don’t skip the festivities, throw an inexpensive Christmas gift exchange party.

Everybody saves money by giving only one present this holiday season instead of buying gifts for every friend. It’s a fun solution that takes the stress out of holiday spending.

You can draw names, have a “white elephant” Christmas gift exchange, or simply draw numbers for gifts. However you decide to manage the gifts, you’ll all enjoy the holidays shopping-stress-free!

How To Host a Christmas Gift Exchange Party

Holiday Christmas Gift Exchange Party Invitations

The first step in creating a holiday gift exchange themed party is to send out invitations letting guests know the important details. Have the invitations made or make them at home.

Include holiday embellishments like a picture of Christmas lights, a Christmas tree or a pile of presents. On the invitation, note the time, date and location of the party.

Also, make sure it states that it’s a Christmas gift exchange party and have people call to RSVP and find out who their recipient is going to be (if you are drawing names).

As guests call to confirm, assign them to someone who has already confirmed. Every guest should give and receive a gift. Try to match guests who know each other or ask each guest to name three things under a specific price that she would like and pass that information along to the giver.

Party Food and Beverages

Get everyone in the holiday spirit by serving hot apple cider, eggnog and hot chocolate. Make sure to have other beverages available such as water and a couple soda options.

Save money by making the food. Set out vegetable, fruit and cheese platters for guests to nibble on throughout the party. Have a couple hot appetizers available at the beginning of the party such as spinach artichoke dip, meatballs and pigs in a blanket.

It wouldn’t be a holiday party without Christmas cookies or a couple of holiday pies. Use recipes that you’ve already tried, so the day of the party isn’t stressful. Better yet, ask your guests to bring their favorite desserts to share.

Christmas Decorations for the Holiday Party

The host of this party should use the decorations that she normally decorates with for Christmas. Make sure to have the Christmas tree set up and have guests set their present underneath the tree as they arrive.

Purchase ten to twenty unscented candles and place them around the house for a warm ambiance; don’t forget the bathroom. Don’t purchase scented candles, because you don’t want anything competing with the scent of hot apple cider!

A host who doesn’t usually set up a lot of Christmas decorations can purchase inexpensive decorations at the local dollar store.

Christmas Gift Exchange

The main entertainment for this themed holiday party is the actual gift exchange. As guests set down their presents, make sure the recipients name (or an assigned number) is clearly on it. If you are using a numbered gift system, post-it notes work really well to number each gift.

In the middle of the party, have guests find their present underneath the tree and then take turns opening the gifts. If you have numbered the gifts, have a jar that guests can draw a number from to match to a gift.

For numbered gifting, you can also give each guest a number as he or she arrives. When it’s time for the gift exchange the person who got the number 1 picks their present first. Keep going until everyone has a gift.

Additional Ideas for Your Christmas Gift Exchange Party

Set a dollar amount up front for the gift. A range is best like $10-$15.

In advance, pull out all your popular group games and stack them on a table to inspire guests to play. Or look for inspiration on line. There are plenty of holiday party ideas you can print off.

“What’s On Your Phone” is a popular game right now. Just type “what’s on your phone game Christmas” in the Pinterest.com search bar and you’ll find plenty!


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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an author and sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky. When she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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