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I love hosting parties for my family and friends. Especially during the holidays. Yes, I know you’re thinking you can’t possibly add one more thing to do right now. But wait, I have some tips and shortcuts that will make planning a breeze. We’re going to have the guests do most of the work and have fun doing it! Here’s how you can host a stress free white elephant party.
Host A White Elephant Gift Exchange
If you’ve never participated in a white elephant gift exchange, they are so much fun. Guests are allowed to “steal” gifts–that’s when the excitement really begins.
There are different versions of how to play, but here are the basics:
- Each guest brings a wrapped gift. I set a limit of $10 but it’s up to you.
- Guests draw a number. This designate the order they will select gifts.
- The first person selects a gift and unwraps it for everyone to see.
- Guest #2 has the option to steal the unwrapped gift or unwrap a new one. If #2 steals a gift from someone, that person can choose another gift to unwrap. Once you have more unwrapped gifts in play, there will be more gifts to “steal.”
- Game play repeats until the last gift is unwrapped. To limit how long the game takes, some people set a number of times a specific gift can be “stolen.” It’s up to you to decide.
- Guest #1 has option to steal from any of the gifts in the room. Since they went first and didn’t have the option to steal, they get the final (and best) pick.
When you play the white elephant gift exchange, the guests entertain themselves. You can facilitate the exchange and enjoy the fun with everyone there. Don’t forget to take lots of photos as your guests unwrap and steal presents!
I’m a keep it simple hostess when it comes to decorating for a party. Luckily, we already put up our Christmas tree so it automatically is part of the decorations. I didn’t want to make it look like Christmas threw up in my home, so I kept the color scheme to white and red with silver as the accent. It’s also easy to find decorations in those colors this time of the year.
I didn’t want to throw out the cute cardboard case that the glass Coca-Cola bottles came in, so I repurposed it to hold utensils and straws. To make sure the utensils stayed up, I stuffed some paper at the bottom and used bottles in the back row to weigh it down.
Plan An DIY Menu
I’m a huge fan of DIY menus. It’s less work for me and my guests enjoy assembling their food. Of course not all the food on your table should be DIY. That makes things too complicated and can slow down your guests. Don’t forget to utilize the prepared food department at your grocery store. My Safeway has a great frozen section as well as selection of heat and serve foods in the deli department. Here’s my menu for the party:
- DIY Sprite Fruit Kabob Bar (more on this later)
- Mini quiches (from freezer section)
- Mini chicken and waffles: As a Southern gal, Coca-Cola is my preferred soda. As a nod to my southern roots, I served chicken and waffles–in a bite sized version. I made these with frozen popcorn chicken and frozen mini-waffles. Serve with side of maple syrup.
- Colorful cut veggies and hummus: With all the rich food, it’s good to have something lighter. Yes, I’m the one who actually eats food off the veggie tray at parties.
- Santa hat brownie bites: These are fun and easy to make when you use store bought brownies. I made ours with whipped cream, but you can use pre-made icing too.
- Santa Coca-Cola in glass bottles: I love these for the nostalgia of drinking out of glass bottles. And the cute hats, of course.
DIY Sprite Fruit Kabob Bar
This fruit kabob bar was hit with both the children and adults at our party. Who doesn’t love making fruit kabob garnishes for their Sprites? For the DIY fruit kabob bar, I set out cups of cut fruit with long toothpicks (or short skewers), and striped straws I cut in half to fit the smaller cups. I printed out a sign so people would understand what it was for. Don’t want to make your own, I have a Sprite Fruit Kabob Bar sign printable you can download and trim to size.
Fruit Kabob Bar Tips
- Save time by buying pre-cut fruit. Usually I prefer to save some money and cut the fruit myself, but this is all about stress-free. Safeway had a sale on cut fruit and I was able to a larger variety of fruit that I would have buying them separately.
- Set out medium containers of fruit and refill as needed. This way you don’t clutter up your tablescape with giant bowls
- Leave space for guests can assemble their kabobs and pour their drinks. Guests may not be able to assemble their fruit kabobs with one hand, so I left some room in front of the fruit bar. They can set their drinks down and easily pour their Sprites.
- Buy extra fruit and Sprite. The fruit kabob bar was very popular and we ran out of Sprite quickly!
It’s up to you on which fruits you want to provide. I chose strawberry, kiwi, and grapes because I wanted Christmas colors. But the bowl of mixed berry look so good I added blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. The mangos came in the cut fruit bowl with strawberries so they went into the fruit bar too.
Save the Memories
One thing I always appreciate after a party is when my friends send me photos that they took. Sometimes I’m so busy entertaining that I only take a few photos. One way to make sure you have photos of your white elephant party is to ask a friend to be the official photographer. Give them your camera or smartphone and let them click away.
After the party, save them into a photobook. When you purchase 4 participating Coca-Cola products, you’ll receive $20 at Shutterfly! You’ll automatically receive your unique code at the register via a Catalina print-out (those coupons that print out after you check-out). Then redeem your code online for anything at Shutterfly: prints, photobooks–they have a ton of options. With this promotion, you can mix and match your Coca-Cola products.
And that’s how you can host a stress-free white elephant party.
How do you keep your parties stress free?