For my birthday this year I decided that in lieu of a traditional party, I wanted a tea cup exchange. I invited 14 people, more than I can comfortably seat at home, so I picked a restaurant with lovely desserts and drinks.
I wanted to do full afternoon tea and if it had been only women, I probably would have made everyone squeeze into the tiny seats at our best nearby tea shop. But there were 10 of us, including a few men that I wasn’t sure would enjoy afternoon tea, and the nicest tea shop that was also spacious is 25 miles away.
How to host your tea cup exchange:
- Invite everyone to a group-friendly restaurant or your home. Include parking directions.
- Include a few links to tea cups so that everyone knows relative price and quality.
- Make tea favors – I filled old tea tins with inexpensive tea bag holders from Amazon and tea bags from my collection. I customized the tea for each recipient.
- Have a few spare gift bags on hand if someone forgets to wrap their tea cup.
- For guests who can’t make it in person, have them send or give you a tea cup in advance, and you can include it in the swap.
Rules (similar to a white elephant gift exchange):
- All the bags or wrapped cups are put on the table.
- Guests draw a number. #1 picks a cup first and unwraps so everyone can see it.
- #2 gets to either unwrap a new tea cup, or steal the first one.
- Each guest gets to open or steal a cup.
- Usually after a cup is stolen twice, it cannot be stolen again (an alternate is that on the third steal, it goes back to the original picker).
- Swapping is always allowed.
I highly recommend exchange parties, they are really fun and a good way to connect with friends or meet new ones.