August 12, 2016

Photo: The ugliest Christmas Sweater of 2017.


Our office had an Ugly Sweater contest today (i.redd.it) (you know, net neutrality killer Ajit Pai). 

How to Host a Not-your-Average Ugly Sweater Party.

When I say the words “Ugly Sweater Party,” most everyone’s mind jumps to a nostalgic place filled with merry memories, good friends, holiday cheer, sumptuous scents, decadent delights, reinbeer, and creative knit blends that make even the grumpiest of grinches crack a smile.

I am a huge fan of the traditional Ugly Sweater Party and its origins in celebrating the holidays with upcycled discarded items. Recycling, good friends, music, laughter, creativity—what’s not to like?

Keeping the spirit of giving back and green living in mind, this year I challenge you to consider adding a different kind of Ugly Sweater Party to your repertoire of annual events: a clothing swap. Did I hear a cheer for a back to school party, perhaps?

I know that I am not the only one who irrationally holds on to articles of clothing that I will never wear again.

For whatever reason, many of us hold on to outdated sweaters (that we would never be caught wearing in public) like they are some sort of security blanket. We justify keeping these articles on the off chance that they might (but probably won’t) come back in style.

I will let you in on a secret. Letting go of things you don’t need, de-cluttering your life, donating to charity, and living consciously is an utterly liberating feeling.

Hosting a clothing swap is great way to connect with friends, recycle, donate, and get some new clothes for “free-99.”

Step One: Set a date

Spread the word; invite guests. Consider opening it up to friends of friends—the larger the party, the bigger the clothing pile (which translates to greater wardrobe options, and a more sizable charitable donation at the end of the night). I encourage you to invite guests of all shapes and sizes. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how their clothes fit; some like it snug, while others enjoy loose, flowy layers (not to mention the fact that a roomy dress can easily be cinched in with a great belt, and accessories work for everyone!).

Step Two: Ask your guests to do some soul searching…or at least, some closet revamping

Have your guests bring their unloved, laundered clothes and accessories to your house along with a bottle of wine or their favorite finger food. Food and drink make any event more enjoyable. It is called a “Sip and Swap” party, after all.

Step Three: Eat. Drink. & Shwop!

This step can be successful in a variety of ways, just boils down to preference…

>>Some people like to have a giant donation pile, while others like to set up formal sections (tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, jewelry, etc.)

>>Some like to draw numbers from a hat in order to have guests line up and look through the goodies, while some like to have the host play Vanna White for the night, while others enjoy the energy of a free-for-all dogpile

>>Coupons, tickets, and the good old fashioned honor system all have their place

Step Four: Donate

Give to your favorite local organization—a cause that pulls at your heartstrings.

Step Five: Plan your next clothing swap

I have found that it takes attending more than one of these to truly look through your closet with an honest and critical eye, and let go of what you don’t need. Plus, this is a green, sustainable, fun way to change up your look on a more frequent basis.

Hopefully this article will make you think twice when selecting future gifts for your loved ones, redirecting the focus on memories over merchandise, and quality over quantity. Maybe it will help inspire you to take a baby step towards letting go of things you don’t need, de-cluttering your life, donating to charity, and living consciously.

Sending love, peace, and good cheer in your direction.




Author: Christina Cole

Images: Author’s Own

Apprentice Editor: Bretton Keating; Editor: Emily Bartran

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