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Plan an Ornament Decorating Swap Party

If your child (or hey, maybe this applies to you) has A LOT of friends and the thought of buying gifts for every single one of them makes your wallet shudder, consider hosting an Ornament Decorating Swap Party! The concept is simple, each person at the party makes an ornament knowing that it will go home with someone else – everyone leaves with a sweet keepsake from a friend that will hold memories for years to come. 

  • Decide who to invite. It helps if everyone knows each other, but this could also be a fun time to make some new friends if your child floats among many groups! Have your child help sending out invitations – yes, in the mail! Children don’t often get things addressed to them in the mailbox, so it’s a fun surprise. You could provide all of the craft supplies, or for a little more spontaneity, invite each guest to bring a bunch of one kind of decoration.

  • Make sure there are snacks. The goal here is to have everyone sitting around a table or on the floor chatting and crafting for a while – this won’t last long if they get peckish! Cheese trays and finger foods, hot chocolate, and baked goods are always a winner. You could also do a potluck and invite guests to bring their favorite holiday classic to share.

  • Provide a few different kinds of ornament bases. There are so many different ways to make ornaments – you can go the recycled route and use old cardboard boxes cut up with a potato stamped shape on it, you could get Styrofoam balls that ribbon and fabric can be pinned to, you can use popsicle sticks or twigs to make stars or trees for a more rustic feel, the possibilities are endless! Make sure you have some options for bases and different ways to affix the decorations your guests bring.

  • Let imagination run wild! Give the kids the freedom to create as they please, without restriction on what their ornament “should” look like – they’ll come up with something incredible, I promise. Remind them that their ornament will go home with one of their friends, but it will be a surprise who takes home which one, so to make it represent the creator!

  • Once the ornaments are all complete, it’s time to swap. You could have them place the ornaments in a circle and play some holiday music as the kids walk around them, when the music stops, you’re standing in front of your ornament! Another option is to tell a passing story like this one, The Left/Right Night Before Christmas. However you do it, making it a game and totally random will keep it fun!

  • Make sure each guest has a bag to transport their ornament home in, along with any leftover snacks. Touches like these will make the party sparkle with thoughtfulness, and won’t leave you with mounds of snacks you can’t cram into your pantry!

While gifts are a fun part of the holidays for kids, activities like this are a good reminder that it’s really all about spending time with those we love! What are other ways you like to spend time with friends and family at the holidays? What else would you include at your Ornament Decoration Swap Party! Let us know in the comments!

Originally featured on 12/21/21

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