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Celebrate With a Goodwill Gift Exchange!


Birthdays have always been a big deal to me. My friends and family have always gone out of their way to make January 31 the most special day of the year!

Instead of a traditional birthday party, I invited friends over to enjoy treats and champs, with one rule. You had to bring a gift you purchased from Goodwill for a “dirty Santa” style gift exchange.

White Elephant/Dirty Santa is a popular game around Christmas, but I wanted to incorporate it into my second favorite holiday, my birthday!

If you’ve never played before, the rules are fairly simple. Contribute a wrapped Goodwill gift (no dollar limit) to a common pool. Draw numbers to determine the order each may pick their gift. Each person opens the gift individually, and the next person may open a new gift or steal from someone a previously opened gift.

Our gift exchange didn’t get too heated, but we had a great time! The gifts ranged from a bacon bowl to a wine chiller to a do-it-yourself stepping stone to a new-with-tags Banana Republic blazer and many more in between.

Some of the Goodwill finds really impressed me! I loved hearing everyone’s stories about their Goodwill trips and experiences. I also threw in a few Goodwill shopping tips for the less experienced Goodwill shoppers. All of my girlfriends will be finding Goodwill gold in no time!

There will definitely be another Goodwill Gift Exchange in my future!

Photo (Left): A Goodwill Gift Exchange is a perfect way to celebrate a birthday! Here, Betsy Appleton, bottom right, and friends share a laugh.
Photo (Right): Birthday girl Betsy Appleton shows off a Gucci Bolero jacket her mother bought from Goodwill for $9.99. She is also wearing Levi’s jeans and a Target-brand turtleneck purchased from Goodwill.

(Photos by Cathy Cox. Cake by The Sweet Pastry Shop in Spring Hill).


Read the Winter/Spring  edition of The Ambassador – Goodwill’s quarterly magazine which provides readers with stories of events, activities and the inspiring stories of how Goodwill is changing lives

Betsy Appleton is an Attorney who lives in Nashville. In her free time, she writes the popular Goldwill Digger blog about style and thrift.

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