Short for "bohemian," the boho chic theme sets the tone of the party as a celebration of art and beauty with eco-friendly elegance. Establish this tone from the get-go by sending boho chic invitations that clearly state the rules of the exchange game.
Invite your friends to bring the best of their unwanted interior or exterior home décoration items: candelabras, bookends, vases, picture frames, artwork mirror or any knickknack – as long as it is in good shape. While a little flaking paint and tarnished silver are acceptable as part of the shabby-chic, boho style, watch for broken, dirty or stained items -- those must be cleaned, repaired or not brought to the exchange.
Each guest should bring at least three to five décor items to exchange at the party to ensure that everyone will find at least one new item to take home. Encourage partygoers to bring items in a wide range of design styles like midcentury modern, French country, art deco and more to ensure an eclectic selection. Guests who just can't part with their own things should be encouraged to pick up décor items at local thrift stores and antique markets – but remind them that no brand-new purchases are allowed at this eco-friendly event.
Unlike clothing at a swap party, you can't get away with just dumping décor items on a bed to be picked through. Prepare for a deluge of odd and sometimes awkwardly sized décor items by setting up tables and other display spaces. To further organize, you can designate one area per guest to set up their giveaway wares, or simply mix the décor items altogether and let attendees pick out their favorite items before knowing the original owner.
Add an extra element of fun and nostalgia to the event with some inexpensive index cards. As guests arrive, ask them to write a brief history for each of their home décor items on separate cards – including where and when they got the item, plus any cute story behind it. When guests go home with their recycled prizes, give them the corresponding history cards to take home as a keepsake.
The original bohemians cultivated a Parisian café culture where they indulged in a lifestyle that pleased the senses. Pay homage to those same ideas with a bohemian buffet overflowing with decadent French coffees and pastries.
For a more substantial offering that's also shabby-chic, devise an eclectic menu that pairs elegant culinary creations with low-brow favorites -- for example, caviar served on soda crackers.
When the party's over, there's a good chance you'll be left with a selection of décor items that failed to find a new home. If the original owners have no interest in keeping the items, offer to donate the leftover exchange items to your favorite local thrift store, such as the Salvation Army, that sells items in support of a good cause.
As an alternative to simply giving the items away, consider selling the pieces yourself via online auction and resale sites – that way you can donate the proceeds to the charity of your choice!
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