How to Host an Exchange Party

An exchange party is a fun and easy way to host a party with the minimum of shopping, expense, baking and dishes to clean.
By: Geralin Thomas

An exchange party is a fun and easy way to host a party with the minimum of shopping, expense, baking and dishes to clean. (My kind of party!) Plus, after your party you will have a variety of homemade foods to enjoy and share.

You can have an exchange of almost any sort: desserts, appetizers or specialty dishes. One of the easiest and most fun exchange parties is a simple cookie exchange, and it's an especially great party to host over holidays.

Here's a quick plan for a Couples' Holiday Switcheroo Cookie and Appetizer Party. This is a wonderful party to have during cocktail hour or early evening; however, a simple cookie exchange also makes a great ladies' morning coffee gathering or an after-school children's party. In fact, you can modify this idea for nearly any sort of exchange party, from gourmet to simple. The trick is to keep the amounts of food small and manageable so they're easy to share.

What you do:

First, be sure the directions are clear to your invited guests on the invitations that you e-mail or send.

His job: Make festive appetizers to share with 24 other guests (26 including you two).

Her job: Bake one type of holiday cookie or candy. Place a half-dozen homemade cookies or candies, with a copy of the recipe inside and your name, into 13 individual bags, tins or boxes. In addition, provide a platter with a dozen cookies (same type and cut into bite-sized pieces if they're not already small) to be sampled at the party. (Note: Reserve a day for the baking because this is a whole lot of cookies!)

As hosts, you provide the drinks and the hospitality. You can make your party as elegant or as casual as you like. Use your best china (the holiday Spode you've been itching to bring out) or use designer holiday paper plates and napkins (recommended!)

Besides the holiday theme idea, consider a themed exchange party for the summertime, such as a Fourth of July dessert exchange or a back-to-school lunch box snack exchange. Be creative and enjoy a "switcheroo"!

Learn more about Geralin Thomas at www.metropolitanorganizing.com.

Next Up

Throw a Theme Party

Check out these tips from our entertaining expert to make your party extra special and extra memorable.

How to Throw a Holiday Cookie Party

Here's some advice from HGTV regular Sharon Anderson and Theresa Henn on how to throw a holiday cookie exchange party.

Halloween Party Food: Potato Beetles Recipe

Crowd-pleasing fingerling potatoes, wild rice and creme fraiche combine to create a spooky Halloween snack that looks as though it could crawl right off the platter.

Tips for Hosting a Green Dinner Party

Create an eco-friendly party that's smart, affordable and stylish.

How to Set Up a Gorgeous Buffet Table for Your Holiday Party

Make serving effortless at your next holiday party with a buffet table. Create your own with these tips and tricks.

8 Valentine's Day Girls' Night Party Ideas (No Date Required)

Ditch the Valentine's Day blues, and try out these alternative ideas for you and your best friends.

Eating Healthy at a Party

Here's how to make healthy choices at the buffet table.

Forgot the Party Music? 10 Perfect Pandora Stations for Your Holiday Bash

Ditch your entertaining fears with these no-fail party playlists.

Leslie Knope Would Love This Galentine's Day Party (and Your Friends Will, Too)

Whether you plan to celebrate Valentine's Day or not, get excited for Feb. 13: Galentine's Day! Follow these 5 steps for a memorable night of fun with your closest girlfriends.

Throw a Smart Graduation Party

Study up on some creative ideas for hosting a graduation party.

On TV

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.