How to Plan a Holiday Calendar Exchange Party

How to Plan a Holiday Calendar Exchange Party

Gathering with family and friends to reconnect and catch up is one of the best parts of the holiday season. Whether it’s a cozy dinner party or meeting for happy hour in a loud restaurant, enjoying that special time with loved ones is a highlight for many people during a busy and bustling time of year. Traditional holiday party ideas include cookie-making, white elephant gifting, and ugly Christmas sweater themes. But if you’d like to think outside of the box for your next seasonal get-together, try forging a new tradition that really emphasizes friendship and connection – a holiday calendar exchange party. A calendar symbolizes fresh beginnings and new opportunities, and a future filled with special people. With a new calendar, loved ones can feel connected through a year of shared experiences and memories.

How to plan a holiday calendar exchange party

One of the best things about a calendar exchange party is that it can be held at any time during the season, before Christmas, during the week after Christmas, and even early in January. It’s not only a celebration of the holidays, but of friendship and time spent together, and is a great way to extend the Christmas spirit. A calendar exchange party could even be part of your New Year’s Eve celebration, with each guest leaving with a gift that will be with them all year. Below are some tips for organizing your calendar exchange party and some activities that will make it even more fun.


Invite your party guests with a unique invitation explaining the calendar exchange theme. We’ve even included a free template you can download and customize yourself! (Our invitation is a template on Canva. Please follow this link to access the invitation and customize it for yourself.)

Sample invitation made from our free Canva template
This invitation template is available for FREE on Canva! Customize it to use for your own calendar exchange party.

Ask each guest to purchase and bring a calendar for the new year to the party. You can set a budget if you wish. Make sure to specify that the calendar should have grid spaces large enough to write in. You can leave the calendar selection open-ended, with each guest bringing any theme they like, or you can get creative and specify funny calendars, or television show calendars, or nostalgic calendars – any theme you prefer.

If you are holding a relatively small gathering where the guests will know each other well, you can organize the calendar exchange similarly to a Secret Santa party. Collect your RSVPs first, then follow up with each attending guest, giving them a random name of another guest and ask that they select a calendar they think their assigned guest would enjoy.

Request that your guests wrap the calendars or place them in reusable bags or envelopes to add to the fun. If your party is Secret Santa-style, each calendar should also have a nametag on it.

Wrap your gift for a holiday calendar exchange
Wrapping your gift for the exchange builds anticipation for the reveal.

Party Set-Up

Designate a table, basket, tray, or other surface where guests will place their calendars as they arrive. Decorating for this party should be easy since you will probably already have your seasonal décor in place. Have a cup or container of pens or markers on the table with the calendars. A calendar exchange party is all about friendship and relationships, so put out a buffet of snacks and drinks, put on some music, and start mingling!

Calendar Exchange

Once your guests have all arrived and all the ice is broken, ask everyone to choose a gift from the calendar display, or find the calendar with their name on it. After everyone opens their calendar gift, you can all show off what you got. Anyone who wants to can trade calendars if they like someone else’s gift better. Open up the calendars and flip through them to see what images are inside and share them with people you think will relate. Then ask everyone to choose a pen or marker.

For the rest of the party, as everyone continues to mingle, you and your guests can collect everyone’s birthdays and write them in their calendars. They can note friend and family events, such as future graduations and weddings. Friends and family can schedule coffee dates, plan to get their kids together, arrange meet-ups for dinner, or whatever they like. The warmth of this connection will make your gathering even more special.

2 women writing in calendars at a calendar exchange party
Make plans and write them in your new calendar — keep your connections going!

If you’re looking for more ideas to add to your calendar that will help you stay connected to loved ones, there are many in this article.

A Year Well-Begun

As your calendar exchange is ending, you may decide that you would like to make it an annual tradition. If so, make a save-the-date entry in your new calendar for next year’s exchange! As your guests move through their new year, each month of their calendar will be a reminder of the warmth they felt at your gathering. Exchange participants will leave not only with a carefully chosen 2024 calendar but with the promise of a year filled with shared surprises and experiences. The act of giving and receiving calendars transcends the immediate moment, creating a sense of connection and anticipation that lasts throughout the entire year. May your calendar exchange party be filled with laughter, warmth, and the joy of ushering in the new year with the ones you hold dear. Here’s to a year well-begun, marked by the passage of time and the celebration of shared moments.