The Christmas Holiday is a wonderful time for giving and receiving between friends and family, but good intentions don’t always come in the right color, size or style. It can range from the plaster Roman statue that tia Hilda gave you last Noche Buena to the cashmere Channel sweater that made you look green.
Most of the time, these gifts come with a gift receipt so we are able to exchange them. But other times they don’t. Or we just never get to the store to make the exchange in the end.
As a result we end up having things that look new, yet we will never use, taking up space in our house.
Instead of wasting these items, and other ‘almost new’ things you have laying around, why not host a Swap Party after Christmas this year? Swap Parties are very trendy, especially in these difficult economic times. They’re a fun and inexpensive way to gather with friends and familia and acquire new things you will actually use while purging things you don’t need or want any longer.
It’s simple to organize and everyone who attends wins! Follow these basic tips and I promise your Swap Party will be a big success!
- Invite 10-15 friends over and have each of them bring clothing, accessories and household items that are still in good condition.
- Create a system so that the exchange is even. Give a penny for every item a guest brings. So if Tia Ofelia brings 5 items, she receives 5 pennies that she can use to get 5 items from someone else. Or, give everyone tags or stickers where they can write the approximate values of each item. The goal is to try to make the exchanges as even in value as possible so everyone leaves happy.
- Make sure that there are a variety of clothing sizes so that everyone has a chance to find something they like and that fits.
- Set a minimum number of items that each person must bring. They can bring more but not less.
- Suggest that they bring a variety such as clothes, accessories, children’s things and household items.
- Keep it simple. Cookies and cake or cheese and crackers are fine. The goal of this party is to shop not to eat. However, if you want more of a party feel then of course go ahead but don’t feel obligated. Or, if food is a must for your group simply make the eating part a potluck where everyone contributes something.
- Create space where your guests can spread their items out. If you live in a small space you may need to get creative.
- Have a preset start time when the ‘swapping’ begins so that everyone has time to set their things up and a fair chance to get the nicest items.
- If the idea of a Swap Party is new to all your friends and relatives you may have to explain it in detail on the invitation.
In the end a Swap Party should be fun! The goal is for everyone to get a few items they really like and to get rid of a few things they no longer need.
LAST TIP: If your guests leave you the things that didn’t get swapped feel free to donate them to charity. Then everyone really wins!
Marlene Pratt is the co-founder of Casa Latina, an interior designer and on-air television host on both English and Spanish-language television. Follow Marlene on Twitter at @CasaLatinaToday and Like her FB page