The Friends’ Guide To Gifting: Present Swap Party

It may be a couple of weeks off, but the festive spirit has sent us into Christmas wind-down mode—we’re taking every opportunity to eat well, drink well and huddle and reminisce with our nearest and dearest. Designer and blogger Sarah Sherman Samuel is a lady with a similar perspective, and we were lucky enough to get an invite into a gathering of the close-knit-friend kind. Her secret to soiree perfection? A mouth-watering menu and great gift swap. Read on for more of Sarah’s chic party tips and fun present-swapping tricks.

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Set a few present guidelines for your guests and let them know ahead of time. We set a price point so no one ends up with jelly beans when they brought diamonds. It’s also fun to set a theme for the gifts. Ours was “something cosy,” meaning scarves, hats, blankets, candles, etc.

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A simple centrepiece of eucalyptus, candles and gold Christmas bulbs set a colour palette complimented by gold flatware, brass champagne toasting cups, a marble table cloth (which is actually a shower curtain!) and earthenware plates. Keep it casual by gathering around a coffee table with loads of cushions for cosy seating.

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I made ours a champagne brunch because we all need more bubbly before noon. Pastries, quiche, croissants and savoury crepes make for tasty (and pretty) treats.

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We always play the classic white elephant present exchange. The rules are:

  1. If someone steals your present, you can steal someone else’s gift or choose and open a wrapped one.
  2. A gift can only be stolen twice.
  3. A gift cannot be immediately stolen back from the player who just stole it.
  4. Continue until everyone has had a turn for a present.

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