I hope you had a great first weekend of the year! Did you have some fun in the snow if you are in the East Coast or are you still recovering from the holidays while really letting the fact sink in that the-new-year-is-officially-here and thinking about how-can-i-make-this-a-kickass-one?
Because December was a hectic month last year with my New Orleans getaway and endless holiday parties, most of which was celebrating new additions to the family (I have a 6-month old nephew and my cousin visited with her 3-month old daughter.), I decided to postpone our friends’ traditional Christmas party for a Post-Holiday Regifting Party the past weekend, which I now highly recommend.
Now, what is a Regifting Party? It’s basically a White Elephant Exchange with a twist: everyone still brings a wrapped present but the rule is that the presents people bring must be gifts given to them that have been languishing in their closets or shelves, or that they think other people can appreciate more than they do. I know, I know, something about it might feel wrong to some people, but I see it as a good way to recycle those things you don’t have the heart to give away, get some shelf space for the things that you really love, and to share gifts that are not useful to you, but others might find useful. For example, I have 2 Rabbit wine bottle openers, both were presents, and received another one this year. While this makes me question what people think about me, I don’t think anyone really needs more than one of these so I am happy to share the almost magical ease of opening up a bottle of wine with this contraption. That being said, here are a few tips to have a successful Post-Holiday Regifting Party without any friendship drama. In my case, an additional challenge was having a party that both my single friends and married-with-children friends can enjoy.
For a fun Post-Holiday Regifting party with a mixed crowd:
- The guest list must be open to all invited so that no one will bring a present that someone in the party has given them.
- Everyone brings presents that are new, unused, and unisex, and it might help to have an average dollar value so that the presents are about the same value. You can encourage guests to wrap gifts in newspapers, magazines or old giftwrap to drive home the “recycling” theme.
- Make sure that kids are kept busy and are not unwittingly “used” to give an unfair advantage. If a toddler helps you open a present and you hand it to them, chances are they might not want to give it up whatever it may be (esp. if it’s “Mommy’s” or “Daddy’s”). You don’t want your single friends who would potentially want to “steal” feel awkward and be the one that makes the kid cry. You can always have presents to open or other activities for the kids while the parents are playing the game.
- Venue: Have the party at a venue where you can designate an area where everyone can put the presents and where everyone can see the present being opened so they can figure out their plan of attack when their turn comes. Also, in the case of a mixed crowd of all ages, make sure there’s enough room for everyone to do their thing. In the spirit of my New Year’s Resolution theme, SIMPLIFY, I decided to just do it at a restaurant instead of our annual party in a party room that has a fee and where you have to set everything up. I called up a friend who owned a bar/restaurant (If you want to try out some authentic Filipino dishes with unique cocktails and a happy hour that goes on everyday until 9pm, try Ugly Kitchen) who graciously opened up early for our party, since we decided on a late lunch, again to accommodate the different ages, instead of a dinner party. It worked out really well, there was enough room for catching up, and kids can roam around the place and got kicks of being able to sit at the bar.
- Food: I luckily did not have to deal with this because of the venue, but if I were to have it at home or at a party venue, I would have done food stations to make mingling easier like:
- Hot chocolate station with cute extras like peppermint sticks, marshmallows and whipped cream
- Meatball station with meat and veggie options with a side of gravy and lingonberry sauce (go Ikea!)
- Mashed potatoes with flavor additions like garlic powder, greek yogurt with scallions instead of sour cream, and cheddar cheese
- Cheese and crudites plate, I would say 3-4 kinds of cheese, fig jam and crackers, and some veggie and dip you can pick up at the store if you’re pressed for time.
- Chili and bread station if you want something heartier.
- Desserts can be a mix of cake pops, peppermint bark, pretzel sticks half dipped in chocolate and sprinkles, cookies and any other easy to eat options.
- Cocktail bar you can have a signature drink for the night that guests can mix up themselves by providing a recipe at the station.
6. Decor: I have been known to go all out in my party decor, esp for my past themes of Mad Men and Black and White Hollywood. While the pictures were always fun, I feel like it was a bit of a waste since I am always left with party supplies. I would say if you have any leftover party supplies, put them up and maybe have some fun posters saying things like, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”, “Reduce, Regift, Recycle”, etc.
I hope these help if you decide to throw a regifting party!
Finally, in keeping with the arctic theme today, here’s a wonderful link of images of Michigan’s frozen lighthouses by Thomas Zakowski. Enjoy!