Christmas Exchange Challenges

Christmas Exchange Challenges

When you think of Christmas Exchanges, most people think of cookie exchanges.  I am challenging you to think outside the box today.  Exchanges during the Christmas season do not have to be limited to entertaining activities at your home, such as cookie or ornament exchange parties.  Some other items that work into exchanges (or could also be tagged as borrowing) include kitchen equipment, clothes, dinners, and much more! Think about the different types of exchanges that you could have during the Christmas season and make a list in your Christmas notebook.  Be sure to check out the Christmas Organizing Exchanges Pinterest Board for some great ideas for hosting the exchange and recipes.

Challenge #1 – Make a List of Exchange Parties

Decide on any exchange parties you want to do this Christmas and make a list using the Christmas Exchange Ideas planning page to list out the party or get-together exchanges you want to do.  Here is a list of different types of exchange parties:

Food Related Exchange Parties

We all love an excuse to get together, and exchange parties are fun, and everyone goes home with something different.  Here are some ideas for food-related exchange parties you could host:

  • Cookie Exchange – this is the type of exchange most people think of during Christmas.  You and several friends get together, and each brings a certain amount of cookies.  
  • Christmas Treat or Candy Exchange – this exchange works just like a cookie exchange, except you have everyone bring their favorite homemade candy or treat.  Ideas would include fudge, peanut butter balls, Chex mix, tiger butter, etc.  This type of exchange gives more variety, especially if you are not a cookie lover.

Non-Food Related Exchange Parties

Not everyone is up for all the sweets you get with food-related exchanges so let’s discuss other types of exchanges you can host as a get-together or party.

  • Decorations – have everyone bring the decorations they are no longer using and set them out.  For each decoration they bring, they can (if they want) select a different decoration to take home.  At the end of the party, donate any decorations left over to a nursing home or other charity.
  • Wrapping – how about a gift wrapping exchange?  Bring those rolls of paper, extra bags, ribbons, bows, and name tags and exchange them out with your friends for some different ones.  If you are like me, you may still be using paper from that JUMBO roll from 6 years ago that everyone wants to disappear!  A wrapping exchange would be the perfect type of exchange to get some fresh new looks for your wrapping!  You can even have people bring their gifts to wrap and use the supplies up during the party.
  • Cards – do you have leftover cards you have sent from years past?  Have everyone bring their “leftover” cards and swap them out for a fresh set to send out this year.
  • Crafts – do you have crafting supplies you want to get rid of or have extras?  Host a crafting exchange where you have each person bring the extra crafting supplies they no longer need and swap around.  The google eyes you used on a project with your kids two years ago may be just what someone else needs to complete their craft project. 

Challenge #2 – Make a List of  Exchanges (non-party)

Are there any exchanges you can do this Christmas that do not involve a party or get-together but can help you or someone else out?  Add any you will be doing to your exchange planning page.

Some ideas for different exchanges you might consider this year:

  • Equipment – do you need some special kitchen equipment that will make your baking easier that you can borrow from someone?  Examples include cookie press, baking pans, chocolate fountain, roasting oven, etc.
  • Dishes – if you are having a party, you may need additional dishes, glassware, silverware others may be able to loan you extras for your event.
  • Serving Pieces – having a party and need extra trays or bowls?
  • House – exchange a house?  Well, not really, but the use of the house.  Maybe you need a place to go to wrap gifts, or someone has a stove, you need to do some special baking.  For example, I have a convection oven, and if someone needed it to bake cookies or cakes, they could come to my house and bake.
  • Children – no, you can legally exchange children, but you can exchange watching each other’s children so the other person can go shopping or get decorating completed.
  • Cleaning – teaming up to help get your house clean for Christmas can make things go quicker.  Think about finding a buddy to help clean your home, and then you go and help them clean theirs.
  • Grocery Shopping – trade grocery shopping services with a friend to cut down on multiple trips.  If you find out you need a few things you forgot, ask someone to pick them up for you when they go, and you can return the favor.  
  • Dinners – get together with friends and have a dinner exchange.  Coordinate with five other people who have families the same size as yours, and each of you makes a meal that you are good at that all the families will eat and cook for all five families at one time.  The best way to do this is to use the metal throw-away pans, or if you are doing soup, chili, etc., you can use freezer bags.  You will all need to work together on the recipes and when you will exchange them.  If you make freezer-friendly meals, it will work great, so you can freeze them until it is time to trade. This method will give you five different meals to serve during December, but you only had to cook once!
  • Clothes – attending a special event during the holiday season but do not have the budget to buy new clothes?  Consider exchanging or borrowing a dress, wrap, jewelry, etc. from a friend.

Challenge # 3 – What Do You Have?

Make a list of items you have that others can borrow from you during the Christmas season.  Items can include specialty pans and appliances that you have that others may need for baking or a party or get together during the holidays. 

Pass the list around to your local friends and family and let them know if they need anything to let you know what item and the date. 

Things on my list will be a chocolate fountain, waffle cone maker, Christmas tree bundt pan, hot chocolate maker, etc.

What items do you have that others may need just for one event?

Challenge # 4 – Complete Your Christmas Exchange Planning Pages For Parties

Fill out the Christmas Exchange Planning page, or on a sheet of paper, for each activity, you will be hosting. Don’t forget to gather ideas for invitations, favors, collection boxes, etc. and add them to your Christmas planning notebook.  Any parties you will be having at your house, you can also use the entertaining Christmas planning forms to expand the plans for this party.

Information to include for each exchange includes:

  • Exchange Theme
  • Date of Exchange
  • Time of Exchange
  • Location of Exchange
  • Number of People
  • Foood & Drinks Needed?
  • Items Needed for Exchange
  • RSVP Deadline
  • Any Additional Information
  • Date to Send Invitations