"Swap Not Shop" Event for Christmas

Swapping is better than Shopping! Instead of trying to work out how much you can get away with spending this Christmas, why not get friends, neighbors, and family organized and hold a pre-Christmas "Swap not Shop" event. It is fun, will help clear clutter from you house, and most importantly, can save some serious cash!


It is so hard to think of way to spend LESS money in the run up to Christmas, even if you have less cash than ever before. For some of us, however, fusing a common sense approach and living for the future rather than in the moment, spending less cash this festive season could mean the start on the road to financial recovery. We all have so much "stuff" around and amongst all the clutter we can all find items that we no longer want or need that we would be happy to swap for something we do! Unwanted gifts, craft items, and children's toys in good condition are likely to find willing hands to take and reuse them.

So many of us have the skills to take simple ingredients and turn them into delicious or attractive festive items that others would also be happy to exchange for their own (often brand new) unwanted items, so a "Swap not Shop" event is bound to be a success!


So what do you need to hold a Christmas "Swap not Shop" event?

  • A bunch of fair-minded people with items they are willing to barter.

  • A suitable venue, a house, school, or church hall.
It is really important that people taking part understand that they have to approach the act of bartering with open minds and kindness in their hearts. Whilst they will obviously have some idea of the value of the items they are taking to barter, the spirit of the event is to make sure that everyone taking part leaves with things that are useful and desirable to them. This could be a chance for people to fill their kid's Christmas stockings and a chance for you to stock your Christmas cupboards with goodies you just don't have the time or skill to make yourself.

The event operates by those taking part setting out their stalls. Once items are on display they then just need to have a wander about and look at what others have on offer. At this point people are often a little shy because they are understandably reluctant to make an offer for a barter that might be viewed as insulting or risible, but suddenly someone who has seen something they would really like will take the plunge and the event will be off and running and soon everyone will be taking part!


By the end of your Christmas "Swap not Shop" you will have a room of happy people, most of whom will have exchanged the things they brought with them for items that will help them get one step closer the cashless Christmas we all wish we could have.

Row of Wrapped Gifts

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 163 Posts
December 9, 20100 found this helpful

That is a fabulous idea. Wonder just how it would go over around here? May just give this a whirl.

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December 12, 20100 found this helpful

I'm terrible at this kind of event, but will happily send the link to this tip to a friend who does swap parties on a regular basis!

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September 17, 20120 found this helpful

Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas!

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December 5, 20130 found this helpful

I recently left my "outside the house" job after 3 1/2 years. I have made some really good friends there and we've been talking about getting together. This would make an excellent theme for our "get together day"!


Thanks for the tip. I'm going to look at everything in our house in a completely different light for a few days! :D

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November 11, 20150 found this helpful

I don't understand either! If one person has cookies and another a bike, how do you "barter" that?

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