Ornament Exchange Party

Lots of ideas for hosting an ornament exchange party

An ornament exchange party is a fun and creative Christmas party theme. There are a number of different ways to run an ornament exchange. Here are some ideas for planning a great holiday get together.

Ornament Exchange Party Invitations

Get your party started right by sending some fun invitations. Be sure to let your guests know whether they should bring one ornament or multiple, whether they should be handmade, if there is a price limit, and if the ornaments should be wrapped.

Here are some options for your Christmas party invitation wording:

  • “The tree is up, the lights are aglow, it’s time to celebrate with folks we know!”
  • “Great friends and good cheer, it’s that special time of year!”
  • “The air is getting colder, the holidays are near, it’s time for celebration, with friends we hold so dear.”

Here are a few invitation ideas that would be fun for an ornament exchange party:

Christmas Ornament Invitations
Ornate Holiday Personalized Invitation
Ornate Holiday Invitations

How to Run an Ornament Exchange Party

There are a number of different ways that you might run an ornament exchange party. The biggest decision that you need to make is whether you would like everyone to bring enough ornaments so that your guests go home with a variety of new goodies, or whether each person should just bring one special gift to trade. Here are some ideas:

If You Would Like People to Bring One Ornament

  • An Ornament White Elephant — Here is how to play:
    • Each guest brings one wrapped ornament.
    • On small pieces of paper write numbers for the number of guests at your party. Example, for 15 guests have 15 slips numbered 1-15.
    • Have each guest pull a number from a hat. The number they pull is the order in which they will unwrap an ornament.
    • The guest who pulled #1 goes first. They unwrap an ornament and show the group.
    • The guest who pulled #2 now has the option to unwrap an ornament or steal the ornament from Guest #1. (An ornament can be stolen only once per round.) If Guest #2 stole from Guest #1, then Guest #1 can open a new ornament (or if there are more open gifts when you get to Guests #3 and up, they can also steal an open ornament from someone else.) Play a round until someone chooses a new, wrapped ornament.
    • Continue the game until everyone has an ornament.


  • Numbered Ornaments — Put a number on each wrapped ornament and display them in a group. Then have each guest pull a number out of a hat to determine which ornament they receive.


  • The Right/Left Game — This game involves telling a story using the words “right” or “write” and “left” throughout. Everyone sits in a circle holding a wrapped ornament, and whenever one of the words is spoken in the story, Christmas party favors & supplieseveryone passes their ornament either right or left to the player sitting next to them. When the story ends, each person gets to unwrap and keep the ornament they wind up with. There are many different versions of the right/left story, or you could even write your own, personalized for you and your friends. Here is one version that you might use:“I’m a person who always likes things done right. I write notes to myself, and I write notes to my husband to make sure things get done right. Well, one day I wrote a note to my husband, asking him to deliver some cookies to Susie Wright’s home. My husband left the house right before 9am Friday morning, with Susie Wright’s cookies. Right before he left I made him take his cell phone in case he got lost. Sure enough, he did. Right about 9:30, he called me and said he was lost and that he was sure I did not write the directions down right. He said he made a left at the first light and a left at the second stop sign. Right when he got to the next street, he made another right. Then, right after the fire hydrant, he made a left and ran right into a dead end. I realized that he was indeed right and that I had not gotten the directions right. I apologized and told him that instead of making a left at the first stop light and a left at the second stop sign, I meant that he should have made a left at the first stop sign and a left at the second stop light. He then could have turned right on the second street and Susie Wright’s house would be on the left hand side of the street.My husband then said that the right thing to do next time was to just sleep in!”


If You Would Like People to Bring More Than One Ornament

A Handmade Ornament Exchange — Are most of your friends crafty? Ask everyone to design their own special ornament and bring multiples so that everyone gets to leave with special treasures from each of their friends. Check out bhg.com for some amazing ideas for making your own ornaments.**If you are planning on having a large group and don’t want to ask everyone to make too many ornaments, ask them to bring a set number such as 12. Then when it is time for the ornament exchange, have everyone sit in a circle. One guest starts by passing their 12 gifts to the 12 people sitting directly to their left. Then they sit down and the next person passes out their ornaments. Each new person starts from their place in line so that by the time all of the exchanging is done it will work out that everyone has 12 different ornaments from friends.


Special Touches for an Ornament Exchange Party

If your party is held during the holidays, your home is probably already well decorated for your event. Here are some items that you might like which can put the perfect touch on an ornament exchange party, available from our friends at Beau-coup.com.

Mini Holiday Cake Favor Pops
Mini Holiday Cake Favor Pops
Falling Snow Holiday Ornament Place Card Holders
Falling Snow Ornament Place Card Holders
Porcelain Snowflake Ornament with Personalized Tag
Personalized Porcelain Snowflake Ornaments


If you enjoyed these ornament exchange party ideas, you might also enjoy these parties:

white elephant party
White Elephant
ugly Christmas sweater party
Ugly Christmas
Sweater Party
Christmas cookie party
Cookie Party


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