Cancel Your Secret Santa & Have a Swap Instead

Please don’t think I’m a spoilsport, because I absolutely love parties and would happily commit myself to a lifetime of party planning tomorrow! But I frequently feel like Secret Santas, Pollyannas, and other holiday gift exchanges have an underlying tone of waste.

May I instead suggest a swap? It has the same element of surprise as a Secret Santa. You still end up with something to take home or enjoy at the party. And best of all, it doesn’t even have to be clothing. It can be office appropriate, or it can be silly and fun.

So grab a box of wine, round up your old books, makeup, or clothes, and bring those to the party instead! If anything is left at the end, make sure no one wants it & then donate it to the thrift store.

CLOTHING SWAP PARTY – The Classic. Everyone brings the garments they are tired of and dumps them on a couch or conference room table. Then open the wine, start rummaging, and find something new to take home! If two people want the same item – I’d go by Tara St. James’s rule: Have a walk off. The group chooses a winner, who gets to keep the item. **If the idea of this makes you uneasy - I’ve had clothing swaps at work a ton of times, and I scored some great pieces this way. VARIATIONS: kids or baby clothing swap, family clothes swap, cocktail dress swap or loan for holiday parties.

BOOZE SWAP PARTY – Please don’t do this with anything that’s spoiled or could make someone sick. :) Everyone brings that bottle of peach schnapps or gin or Irish whisky that has been sitting in the cabinet FOREVER, and you have a sticky sweet party of weird drinks! VARIATION: Bring that bottle of wine you’ve been avoiding! **White wine should be consumed in 3-5 years from bottling, red in 5-7. Please please do no consume anything that could put your health at risk.

MAKEUP, NAIL POLISH, HAIR TOOLS SWAP PARTY – Be safe & always toss makeup if you’ve used it near a cold sore or while sick, and disinfect new makeup with alcohol. Bring clean makeup, nail polish, or hair tools you no longer want to a friends’ house, and try out what your friends are tired of. You may find a new favorite!

BOOK SWAP PARTY– Bring your cookbooks, young adult fiction, pop science books, etc. and invite meeeee!! I’m always looking for a good read! VARIATION: DVD swap. Do you still have DVD’s?

SPORTING EQUIPMENT SWAP – Does anyone else have a pair of roller blades they used once? A backup pair of golf clubs? Maybe it’s time to swap them for a squash racquet or swimming cap!

KITCHEN UTENSILS SWAP – We all have some kitchen gadgets that we could clean out! Bring your immersion blenders, Zoodle makers, and second sets of knives to the party and trade for a whisk, Kitchenaid attachment, or potato masher!

What else could you swap? :)