Our Annual Christmas Ornament Exchange

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Hi there friends! I don’t know about y’all, but I feel like this Christmas season has been extra busy with activities for work, church and with family and friends. We’ve had at least two events every weekend, plus dinners and party prepping during the week. Besides that, my coworker, who was the only other person on my team in our office, recently left the company. So we are in the process of redistributing her work load and preparing to hire someone new. Between my job and my personal life, I’m feeling pretty exhausted!

But let’s be honest, we’re really blessed to be busy because it means there are people who care about us and want to spend time together. And my job is teaching me that change is inevitable and I need to learn to embrace it (not sure that will ever happen, but I can try!).  So on both fronts I’m learning to go with the flow and find joy in the craziness. 🙂

This past weekend was our annual ornament exchange that I host with one of my best friends. This was our sixth consecutive year to host this event, and I seriously think it gets better and better every year! Maybe we’re learning to be better hostesses, but really it’s the amazing women who attend that make this party such a success!

I love hosting parties because it brings people together and reminds us that we’re not alone in this world. Life is truly so much better together, y’all.

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Party planning

My co-hostess and I alternate each year who hosts the party in their home. This year we had it at her house, so she definitely had the heavier workload in terms of party prep. Thanks Jenn! 😉 I arrived about 45 minutes early to help with the set-up and prepare things that can’t be made too far in advance, like the punch. I was responsible for the sweet snacks and the punch, and she made the heartier sides like spinach dip and meatballs. If you want to check out some of the recipes we used, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Invitations

We love this website for creating fun invitations to send by email. It’s so much easier to send electronic invitations and more environmentally friendly than paper. It’s also really helpful for keeping track of RSVP’s, especially since so many people seem to forget to respond to paper invitations these days. Best of all, it’s free!

Ornament exchange

This is the reason we come together for this event – the cute ornaments we get to take home! We ask everyone to bring one wrapped ornament with a price limit of $10. It’s totally OK to bring several ornaments wrapped together if the cost doesn’t exceed $10. This year, I brought a set of glass ornament donuts that were so cute. But I totally forgot to take a picture of them, so here is a similar set.

I always get excited to shop for my ornament, and I usually start right after Thanksgiving. There are so many cute ornaments out there, it’s hard to choose just one! For some ideas, see my Christmas party gift guide here.

How to play: Everyone draws a number to determine which order you select your ornament. When it’s your turn, you can choose to select an unopened ornament or steal an ornament from someone else. Once an ornament has been stolen twice, it is “locked” and can’t be stolen again. So if you’re the third person to have an ornament, it’s yours! After everyone has chosen an ornament, the person who drew #1 gets to go again at the end. Then the game ends!

We also give a fun prize to the person who brought the ornament that got stolen the most. It’s just an additional incentive to bring a really awesome ornament 🙂 This year, my co-hostess bought a Starbucks gift card and this hand lotion for the winner. I suggest to prepare two gifts, because there is usually a tie for the ornaments that got stolen the most.

This is the most fun part of the party because it’s so exciting to see which ornaments people brought. Of course, the stealing part is fun too and definitely leads to a lot of laughs! We always have so much fun playing this game, and I guess our guests do to because they keep coming back every year 😉

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Recipes

Here are some recipes that are the biggest hits for us:

This party is so dear to my heart because it means the world to me to bring people together for good food, fellowship and fun. Every year when I decorate my tree, I’m reminded of these amazing women when I hang the ornaments I’ve received over the years. And of course, getting to share this experience every year with my awesome co-hostess makes the whole thing so much more meaningful and special!

If you’re thinking about hosting your own holiday party, I hope this post inspires you and encourages you to go for it!

Until next time,

Christi

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