The holidays are the perfect excuse for gathering friends, family or coworkers together for a party. One of my favorite holiday themed get-togethers are ornament exchanges. Ornament exchange parties can be easily adapted to a variety of themes and everyone leaves the party with an ornament to add to their home collection. Below are a few tips for hosting your own ornament exchange party.

Set the tone for your party with the invitation. Be sure to specify that you’ll be exchanging wrapped ornaments and set a price limit for guests to spend (usually between $5-$10). Consider making it a DIY ornament party if you and your guests enjoy getting crafty-the results usually make for fantastic conversation!

There are no set guidelines for what time of day to host and ornament exchange or how many people to invite-whether it’s a casual morning coffee for 8 or an evening soiree for 30, plan the type of event that suites your lifestyle best!

The same anything-goes spirit applies to the menu-a full dinner party suites works just as well as a small potluck gathering.

Most ornament exchanges use one of two methods to exchange the gifts…the most straight forward method is to number each wrapped ornament as guests arrive and then have guests draw a number to pick a gift. Tip: it’s a good idea to have an extra wrapped ornament on hand in case someone forgets to bring one!

The method of ornament exchange I prefer is a little more fun! Have all of your guests sit in a room large enough for everyone to form a circle. The host then reads a story aloud containing a lot of “right” and “left” words. Be sure to read the story slowly and clearly for your guests. Each time you read “right” the guests all pass an ornament to their right, the same for left. By the end of the story the ornaments have made a round robin trip and it’s a mystery whose ornament is where! You can find many such ornament exchange stories to read aloud online, here is an example of a classic story with a right/left twist.

Hosting an ornament exchange is truly one of the most fun ways to gather with friends around the holidays! Have you attended an ornament exchange? What is your favorite type of holiday party?