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Fall Party Planning: Gift Giving Party Ideas

It should come as no surprise that we love a good party. After all, it's in our name! And there's no more perfect time to throw one than around the holidays. Of course all the invitations can get overwhelming and the pressure to be the perfect host is too often all-consuming. But never fear! We're here to share some gift giving party ideas so you can throw a fun, easy and enjoyable party, for YOU and your guests. Party on! White Elephant Gift Exchange (also known as Naughty Santa or Yankee Swap, among others): We love this theme at House Party. In fact, we love it so much that our annual Holiday party always includes this element. And for good reason. Nothing embraces the giving theme of the holidays more than stealing a gift from a co-worker, friend or loved one! Right? Ok, so there's a tinge of naughty to this one, but that's what makes it a surefire crowd pleaser. Here's how it works:

1) Everyone brings a wrapped anonymous gift. All the gifts are put on a table. Then you pick numbers from a hat to see in which order everyone will choose.

2) Starting with #1, the person selects a gift and unwraps it. The next person, #2, can either steal that item OR open a new one. Stealing is what makes this game fun, but in order to limit it to less than 10 hours, we cap the steal at twice per gift. So, once a gift is stolen twice, it can't be stolen again.

3) It's best with outrageous gag gifts. Like the infamous Doggy Gnome. This gift was the unexpected hit of our party a few years ago. And now everyone tries to top it.

4) The best part is the gifts don't need to be expensive, everyone goes home with something and there's sure to be loads of laughter all party long.

Secret Santa I grew up calling this gift exchange a Pollyanna, but recently learned that's a Pennsylvania term. Regardless, this classic gift-giving event is when a group of people decide to partake and are anonymously assigned another participant to buy a gift for. Cost limits are set, but this is a great way to get one nice gift for someone, yet not feel pressured to buy everyone in the group something. It's very fun to find out at the party who your 'Secret Santa' was and watch everyone open their gifts.

Charity Swap Since the season is all about giving and it's always important to pay it forward, consider doing a Secret Santa donation. Make a donation on behalf of your Secret Santee (in their name, if applicable) to a charity you know means a lot to them. Then give them a note to let them know. We guarantee everyone will feel good about giving.

And don't forget a good playlist for your holiday party! Most music streaming sites like iHeartRadio, Pandora and Spotify have holiday playlists that are perfect for parties. I also really like Real Simple's Stress-Free Holiday Party Plan.

Are you planning a gift-giving holiday party? We'd love to hear all about it.

The 4-1-1 on Joe Epner

Twitter Party 101 - #HPHolidays