Exchanging gifts with friends and family is a fun process! Why do so many of us say “I’m going to do this a new way next year!” Well, because sometimes it becomes stressful to find just the right item for each person on your list. Sometimes it gets way too expensive, with the credit card bills mounting up for January and February payment. And sometimes it takes us far away from the meaning of the holiday – whether religious, a family celebration time of joy, or a relaxing break from work or school.
On idea to try to reduce the stress and expense and time and still enjoy the spirit of giving is to do an ornament gift exchange. Whether it’s for a large extended family, co workers, or sorority sisters, etc., an ornament gift exchange lets the group give and receive a gift, enjoy watching others open their gifts, laugh and oooh and ahhh over the adorable selections, and enjoy the togetherness of the holiday season.
The Secret Santa approach is to assign or draw names to each person participating in the exchange. Then the giver can have fun shopping for one special ornament for that person, and find something that really suits them or something that had happened in their life that year. We really think a personalized Christmas ornament is the best option for this type of party!
We like the ornaments are hand-crafted, but it is also common to see exchanges of commercially produced ornaments, heirloom ornaments, or antiques. Usually, a basic standard of cost and style is set, to ensure that all of the ornaments are roughly similar. The ornaments should all be gift wrapped…. which is one fun way to get people to pick your ornament first!
Another exchange idea to have a “white elephant” approach. Everyone draws a number when they arrive at the party. When the exchange begins, the person with the number one picks a gift and opens it to see the ornament inside.The person with the number two can either pick an gift ornament and open the ornament, or “steal” the first ornament, forcing the first person to choose another ornament. Limits may be placed on the number of times an ornament changes hands, and as a variation, the number system may be abandoned, and people may just pick wrapped ornaments at random.
A third way of exchanging would be to have all the ornaments out for view with a bidding type of system! Perhaps this would be an opportunity to raise a little cash for a local charity, or Toys for Tots event.
Holiday foods, music, tree decorating and holiday-related games make this event even more festive. However you decide to conduct an ornament exchange party enjoy yourself. Start a tradition in your neighborhood, workplace, or book club. In fact, you can even draw next year’s name at the end of the party!