Skip to Content

7 Tips for Hosting a Girls Christmas Gift Exchange

If you’re thinking about hosting a Christmas gift exchange this year, I am here to tell you that you should definitely DO IT!

These are some of my favorite holiday parties every year. I love hosting them and I love participating in them!

My Supper Club has been hosting an annual gift swap since 2015 and my Community Group is on year 4 of our annual Favorite Things Party! Both of these gift exchanges are super fun — and a little different in terms of how they are run.

So today I wanted to share some tips for hosting this type of party (including a few options for how to facilitate the exchange), and of course, share some gift ideas!

How to Host a Christmas Gift Exchange

If you’re looking to host a Favorite Things Party or Girlfriends Gift Exchange and aren’t sure how to do it, I’ve done it a few different ways:

Option 1: Favorite Things Gift Exchange

Everyone brings X copies of their favorite item (at a price point agreed upon by your group) — unwrapped. Each girl sets up her station of gifts along the table, and then we take turns sharing about the favorite item we each brought before gifting one to each girl. The presentation part is always my favorite because usually the presenter is pretty excited or passionate about their favorite item — and sometimes you even get to watch a fun demonstration. And then you get to leave the party with LOTS of fun new items!

NOTE: If you have a LOT of girls attending your party and still want to keep a higher price point without spending a ton of cash, we’ve done a variation of this exchange where each girl still brings X copies of their favorite item. Instead of each person receiving every gift, put each girl’s name in a bowl X times. When your name is pulled, you get to shop the table. For this version, you should leave with the number of gifts you brought. Example: Each girl brings 3 copies of her favorite $25 gift. So each girl’s name goes into the bowl 3 times. When your name is pulled, you pick a gift from the table. Once your name has been pulled 3 times, you’re done shopping. It’s also up to the host if you want to allow girls to steal gifts that have already been claimed. And if so, you can determine how many times the gift can be stolen before it’s “safe.”

Option 2: Gift Swap Game

Each girl brings ONE gift (at a price point agreed upon by your group) — wrapped. Each girl’s name goes into the bucket one time and when her name is called she can pick a gift from the pile or steal a gift that has already been unwrapped/claimed. It’s up to the host if you are going to cap the amount of times a gift can be stolen before it’s “safe!” But let me just say, with the right group of girls, stealing can be SO much fun…and you’ll never forget some of these stories many years later.

7 Tips for Hosting a Christmas Gift Exchange

Alright, let’s get down to the party tips…

1. Send Your Invitations Out Early

Preferably before Thanksgiving, that way girls can shop for their gifts during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. This is a win-win because some years I’ve received gifts (especially holiday beauty kits) that are valued WAY higher than the gift limit — and if you’re allowing stealing — those are ALWAYS the first gifts to be stolen!


2. Set a Party Attire

Oh this is so fun. Each year we’ve done something different and I have loved every attire! We usually rotate between heels and slippers, festive but comfortable outfits, Christmas pajamas, and fancy party outfits. But last year was my favorite attire yet…our Community Group did GLAM PAJAMAS!


3. Serve a Signature Cocktail

I love having a festive cocktail whipped up for the girls as they arrive. Last year I made my White Christmas Margaritas that went viral and they were a huge hit! Other favorite holiday cocktails have been Sparkling Caramel Apple Cider, a Fall French 75 and Christmas Mules — all are super festive and easy to shake up.

Christmas Gift Exchange -- Cocktails
White Christmas Margaritas

4. Make Sure There’s Plenty of Food

This is important — especially if you’re serving those White Christmas Margaritas.

In the past, I’ve served a seated meal before the gift exchange and I’ve also hosted where we just snack on appetizers. I found serving a seated meal beforehand was a lot of extra prep work on top of preparing for the exchange. My preference is outsourcing the snacks to the guests. It is so much easier and gives everyone an excuse to bring a delicious dish.

Christmas Gift Exchange -- Food
Christmas Gift Exchange -- Food

5. Set Gift Rules

Depending on your group, you may want to set some rules around the gifts ahead of time. First, make sure everyone knows this is not a gag gift party — save those gifts for your office Christmas party.

Also, make sure everyone keeps their gift TOP SECRET. I know it can be tempting to spill the beans over lunch with your friend right after you’ve purchased your gifts that you’re really excited about, but I promise it’s SO much more fun when it’s a complete surprise!

Other rules to consider? You may also want to decide if you’re going to allow gift cards, bottles of wine, etc. Oh, and one of our rules is you cannot leave with your own gift!

Christmas Gift Exchange -- Community Group

6. Setting the Price Point

I’ve participated in Christmas gift exchanges with price points ranging from $10-$50. At the higher price point, you take home fewer but nicer gifts. However, my favorite exchanges are the ones where each person gets to take home a copy of EVERY gift from the party.

I’ve found the $10 price point to be the most challenging to buy for too. And my favorite price point has been $30 because you can usually do a nicer gift or two smaller gifts.

Lastly, it’s always better to overspend by a few dollars than to underspend by a few dollars just so everyone feels like they are walking away with a similar valued gift as the one they brought.

Christmas Gift Exchange -- Community Group

7. Set-Up Tips

For the table set-up, I like to create a dedicated space for each girl to display her gifts by setting out a gold charger plate and a place card with her name (I use Fernandina Paper Co.). It is SO fun watching the gifts roll in and fill up those charger plates!

And my last hostess tip — I recommend providing large shopping bags for each girl to put all her gifts inside to take home! That was a sad lesson learned the year a match cloche slipped out of my friend’s arm and shattered on the way to her car!

Christmas Gift Exchange -- Community Group

Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas

Alright, let’s get down to the goodies!

I recently published a Girlfriends Gift Exchange Gift Guide and it was my absolute favorite guide to create because it’s comprised of some of my very favorite gifts I’ve received from previous parties, as well as some new ideas too! I highly recommend clicking over to that post for a deeper dive on these items because I have descriptions and tips that I think you will find helpful.

Favorite Things Party Gift Ideas
  1. Gold Rim Cocktail Glasses: These gorgeous gold-rimmed cocktail glasses are on my Christmas wish list!! These 10-ounce, stemless, hand-blown glasses are perfect for margaritas or martinis or any cocktail really! I originally fell in love with a similar version at Anthropologie but these are half the price! Come as a set of 2!
  2. Silk Pillowcase: This dreamy pillowcase is truly a little luxury that is designed to help keep your hair soft and shiny, keep your skin happy (satin is known to retain moisture, helping prevent wrinkles and blemishes) and is SO soft (but not too silky soft if you know what I mean). HIGHLY recommend!
  3. Barefoot Dreams Cozy Socks: Truly the coziest socks!
  4. Birdie Safety Alarm: A safety alarm that is perfect for carrying from day to night – parking decks/garages, on public transportation, walking the dog, on trails, across campus, when traveling, etc. When activated this alarm will sound a loud siren and flash a strobe-light to create a diversion and to help deter an attack. Available in 5 colors.
  5. Kosterina Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is one of my personal favorite gifts from a previous exchange! I have since repurchased this monthly! I am obsessed with this superfood. It has a rich, bold flavor, smooth taste, and is packed full of antioxidants that promote your overall health and well-being.
  6. Maldon Sea Salt Flakes + Marble Salt Cellar: I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this gift. We’ve been sprinkling our flakes on our roasted veggies this week and they are SO GOOD. They really do elevate the taste of any dish (or cocktail)! This gift also included a beautiful marble salt cellar for storing the flakes and was a HUGE hit at a previous party.
  7. Spa Wash Bands: Wrist towels so you can wash your face without water running down your arms.
  8. Diva Glamorous Wash: This luxury detergent was a super popular gift at one of my previous gift exchanges. It’s definitely a splurge but totally worth it. A little goes a long way (you only use a cap full in a load) so the bottle lasts a while as it is highly concentrated. I use it on our towels and sheets!
  9. Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: My go-to gift exchange gift and a product I’ve shared a million times on the blog! This dry shampoo alternative smells amazing and gives the best hair volume and texture!
  10. Match Cloche: How stinking cute, right?! My friend gifted these one year and everyone LOVED them. This elegant glass cloche comes filled with matches and a strike-on-bottle flint that ensures you always have a light ready. Perfect for your bookshelf, entry table, or bar cart!
  11. Portable LED Lamp: The prettiest Portable LED Lamp! This rechargeable touch lamp features 3 levels of brightness and keeps a charge for up to 48 hours. It’s perfect for placing in areas around your home where there isn’t an outlet, using as a bedside lamp, or bringing outside in the evenings for a little ambiance.
  12. LED Folding Vanity Mirror: This is the perfect travel mirror, that folds up to the size of an iPad and is perfect for storing.
  13. Ona Large Pitcher: This beautiful pitcher instantly became a reader best seller when I shared my White Christmas Margarita reel. And every time I serve wine or a cocktail in this pitcher, I get asked about it. It’s handmade in crystal-clear glass with a thick, cut and polished rim. And it’s an incredible price point for a nice gift.
  14. Clear Stadium Purse: A beautiful clear stadium-approved bag, perfect for sporting events and concerts.
  15. Sleek Chignon Pin: Just twist your hair up, tuck the pin in, and go (kind of like how you would use a pencil in your hair) — and it works on short hair too!
  16. Hair Vitamin Serum: This hair serum has seriously impressed me. It’s a no-rinse treatment that you apply while your hair is wet. It doesn’t make your hair greasy and has tremendously helped restore shine and a silky smooth texture to my hair. I will continue to repurchase these forever and ever.
  17. Laneige Holiday Mini Set: A limited edition set with five minis of LANEIGE’s best-selling Lip Sleeping Masks! This set of minis helps deliver long lasting moisture and reveal smooth and supple looking lips.
  18. Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray Anti-Frizz Treatment: One of my favorite gifts I received at a gift exchange and have since purchased many more times! This stuff is seriously AMAZING. This moisture-repellant, anti-humidity spray covers each hair strand with an invisible waterproofing cloak to combat frizzy hair. And I really love how it doesn’t weigh down my hair at all which is important since I don’t wash my hair every day. Oh and it lasts for days — even if you shampoo your hair!
  19. Sunburst Earrings: One of my favorite pairs of earrings in my collections. I get so many compliments every time I wear them!
  20. Peter Thomas Roth Masking Minis: This mini kit includes the 5 bestselling masks, including the cult-favorite Blue Marine Algae Intense Hydrating Mask, Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer, 24K Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift & Firm, Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask and Cucumber Gel Mask Extreme De-Tox Hydrator.

Previous Christmas Gift Exchange Parties

If you’re planning to host the party for your friends, here are a few previous party posts from the years I’ve hosted them!

Also, if you’ve gifted or received a great item from a party, please share in the comments!

You'll also love


Wednesday 22nd of November 2023

Always LOVE these gift nights of yours! We do the gift exchange every year with our wine club and we do a normal secret Santa gift for our bookclub. I think I need to try a Favourite Things party x


Tuesday 21st of November 2023

Favourite things looks like so much fun! And setting rules is so important- I still remember a weird instance from YEARS ago where a guest stole back their own gift so they could give it to the specific person they apparently wanted to end up with said gift? It was so strange and kind of put a weird end to the gift game (but does make a funny story now!)


Monday 20th of November 2023

Hey there! I wanted to ask about your wall color in Friday's post:) Was that in the house when you purchased or is this a color you chose? If so, could you send the color?

Thanks so much!!


Monday 20th of November 2023

It's Sherwin Williams Rosemary!


Wednesday 30th of November 2022

I love seeing the gifts that are shared at your parties! I often use them as last-minute inspiration for my own family and friends. Great post!