The Ornament Exchange

I love a good party. I do. You know what the main ingredient for a good party is? People, of course! Friends. With it being Christmastime and all . . . well, tis' the season for holiday parties. I think this is my third or fourth year hosting an ornament party. One of the fun aspects of an ornament party is that everyone gets a gift to take home. The last two years I've had guests fill out their tree description so we can match ornaments to trees. This greatly helps with the people actually liking the ornament they receive. :)

This year I split things up and did two parties because I have rather a small, cozy house, and that worked best. I will just tell you, I had SO much fun at both parties! And it's all about just coming together for conversation and laughter. Now, I am by no means an expert at party-throwing. I have girlfriends whom I do consider experts at this. For me, I just pull it together and hope it goes well. But for those of you like me (non experts) I can give you a few tips for pulling together a quick party.

Party tip #1. Just dive in and do it, if you're so inclined! You can easily talk yourself out of having friends over, but it usually turns out to be a blessing to both you and the people you include. Don't be afraid to host. It doesn't have to be a big deal. It doesn't have to be perfect. No one cares. It can still be really fun.

Party tip #2. This one actually comes from Jennifer Anniston! Ha! I read somewhere that she said the key to a good party is really good food. Good food totally helps! But don't be fooled into thinking that good food needs to be made from scratch. Seriously, make something easy or even buy a party tray. Veggie trays, fruit trays, cheese and crackers--tried and true never goes out of style. Don't create a menu that's going to make you nuts with anxiety.

Party tip #3. Be ready with conversation starters or ice breakers. You know how at parties, people (women) tend to pair up with the people they know and just talk to them? Right! So having conversation starters (and things like that) help with getting everyone to talk to each other. I like it best when at my parties, we're all sitting and talking. All of us. Not paired off. That will happen at some point and that's okay, but if you're hosting, try to draw everyone into conversation and give everyone space to talk and share. That's a good way to get to know people.

Party tip #4. Accept help when it's offered. I have friends who come in and they're super comfortable at my house, and they just pitch in and do stuff. Some people like bringing stuff. Let them. The longer you know people and the more frequently they've been at your house, they'll start to feel at home and that's great. I love that feeling.

Party tip #5. Be friendly and welcoming! This is what we all want anyway: people to accept us. So open up and let people in and try to make them feel accepted. I feel grateful when people come over. That goes back to what we were saying before. People are the main ingredient!

Party tip #6. Use what you have. I'm always tempted to go buy a ton of new stuff when I have a party. Then I remember that I'm being crazy and that's totally unnecessary. Use what you have. Or buy really inexpensive party trays or platters.

Party tip #7. Try to keep a pulse on what's going on. If someone looks bored or lonely, be aware and do something. Introduce people. Every now and then, take inventory. If food needs to be warmed up or glasses need to be refilled, you can ask for help or you can take a few seconds and do those things.

Party tip #8. Have coffee. It's just a good idea.

Party tip #9. Clean house. I'm just sayin'. You don't have to hire Merry Maids, but it is important to clean the bathroom sink. ;)

Party tip #10. If it's a Christmas party, have Christmas music! Jingle bells, loveys!

So those are my thoughts on a holiday party. I know this season can be hectic. Work parties every which way and so on. I think this year has actually been more low-key for me and Jeff, which has allowed me to have friends over without feeling stressed. And we all know sometimes you just have to say no to things. That's totally okay. This year we weren't able to do a family-photo Christmas card. You know what? Not a big deal. We'll try to take some good family pics on Christmas for the kids' scrapbook and that will be that. We went lighter on gifts. That's okay. We prioritized things that mattered to us and that feels good.

I love Christmas. I love hosting get-togethers for my friends. (Girls, thank you all so much for coming and for making the ornament exchanges SO fun. I appreciate you all.) What can I say? I love the magic of twinkle lights and appetizers on a cold night with friends. Good stuff.

1 comment

  1. Just reading this and I love it! I love the cute dessert pictures and tips.... I love party-ing or rather get together as I would call it... My family in kenya always finds a reason to throw a party --- oh our soccer team won for the 10th time this month Yaay -- time to party! My friend is doing a xmas party but bringing 3 families from very disadvantaged or have less or very little background to join us and I am just excited to hear from these ladies, their story and journey and learn from them. its nice time of the year! the best time of the year!


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