Christmas gift exchanges and holiday gift grabs are a fun part of the winter holiday season. Make the traditional gift exchange into a game and add a fresh and festive element to your home and office holiday parties. If you are stumped for gift ideas, Be sure to check out PartyIdeaPros comprehensive list of Holiday Grab Bag, White Elephant Gift Exchange & Gag Gift Ideas (it really is quite a good list, if we do say so ourselves 🙂 )
Holiday Gift Exchange Games >> Gift Grab or Gift Wars
Courtesy of Amazing Christmas Ideas
How the game is played…
The game is fun, because each person gets to select a wrapped gift, unwrap it and then possibly lose it to someone else and have to select again. Being able to select from unwrapped gifts or “steal” a gift someone is holding is what makes this game so much fun.
Here are the Rules of Holiday Gift Exchange Games
When planning the party, decide how much should be spent on the gifts. Twenty to thirty dollars is usually an agreeable price since each person is buying only one gift. The amount can be more or less. It’s your group’s call.
Wrap Your Gifts
All gifts should be wrapped (and may I suggest you make yours look extra special). Put the gifts together under the tree, on a table, wherever convenient.
Select a Number
Each person selects a number from a basket or bowl to determine the order in which a person gets to select a gift. Number 1 goes first and gets to select and unwrap a gift. Everyone oohs and aahs or mentally thinks, “Boy, I’m glad I didn’t select that.”
Number 2 then selects. But she may take Number 1’s gift or she may select a gift from the pile. If she takes Number 1’s gift, Number 1 gets to select again from the pile. After she has finished her turn, Number 3 gets to select.
Once again, she may select any opened or unopened gift. Each time a gift is taken away from someone, that person gets to select again. She may select any gift except the one that was just taken away from her. She may however, have the opportunity to select it again later.
Some gifts are occasionally more popular and may get stolen several times. The fourth person to possess it gets to keep it. No more swiping the gift. The gift is frozen.
At the end of the game, Number 1 gets to select again, and take someone else’s gift if she wants to, but she doesn’t have to. She is actually forcing a trade. The only gifts she can’t take are those that are frozen.
Stealing Gifts is Fun!
Don’t be afraid to swipe a gift from someone. The more takeaways and turnovers there are, the more fun the game seems to be. Some of the best times have been when a particular gift gets swiped several times. There are always lots of laughs and sometimes gifts get swiped just for the fun of it. This is especially true when men are playing. They don’t seem to care about the gifts as much as having fun stirring things up.
And after the game is over, if you and someone else wants to trade gifts, that’s O.K. too
Variations on the Traditional Gift Grab!
Add a trivia element to your gift grab!
Rather than grabbing at each turn, the guests need to be the first to answer a trivia question to be eligible to steal a gift.
Holiday Gift Exchange Games >> LEFT / RIGHT Gift Passing Games
This crazy gift passing game will have everyone scrambling as they listen for you to say right or left while you read new lyrics to Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer! The guests who end with the gifts get to keep them – and this makes for 100% participation and 100% Fun!
Holiday Gift Exchange Gift Ideas
Themed Gift Exchanges
courtesy of PurpleTrail.com
Spring Cleaning Gift Exchange
Have people dig in their closets, junk drawers, and garages for a gift. Things like a burned mix CD, a pack of light bulbs, cocktail napkins, or whatever you want as long as it’s actually something people would want. You might actually leave with something you needed!
Drink Gift Exchange
Ask everyone to bring their favorite alcoholic beverage to trade! Wine, six packs of microbrews, peppermint schnapps and hot chocolate mix… so many options!
This is a great game for a post-Christmas party. Wrap up the gifts you received but do not want to keep. Just be careful no one who gave you the gift is attending the exchange!
Pet Gift Exchange
A great theme for pet lovers! Set a price limit and suggest what type of pet your guests should purchase for. Dog sweaters, chew toys, cat nip and collars are great ideas for this gift exchange.
Ornament Gift Exchange
Have each guest bring an ornament to exchange. It’s fun to ask everyone to bring an unwrapped ornament, and have them hang it on the tree. Then each guest can take an ornament of their choice from the tree before they leave.
Game Gift Exchange
Ask everyone to bring a good party game. Then after the exchange you can make use of these gifts! You can be a big spender and go for the deluxe editions of old favorites, or keep it thrifty with playing cards, Uno, dice, or other inexpensive games.
Baked Goods Exchange
Ask every guest to bake 2 dozen of their favorite holiday treat. Stock up on holiday boxes and set them out on a table. Line them with wax paper. Have a separate table for all the goodies. Set out all the treats and let each guest take 2 dozen of mix and matched goodies.
Dollar Store Gift Exchange
Short on Christmas cash? Tell your guests they cannot spend over a dollar on their gift. Suggest that everyone stop by a thrift or dollar store to find a funny or useful gift. This is great for last minute exchanges or with groups of people that you don’t know very well.
Charity Gift Exchange
Put a twist on the traditional gift exchange and make it a charity exchange. Ask all guests to write down the name of their favorite charity. Gather the slips of paper into a hat. Let each guest take turns drawing a charity. Each guest then makes a donation to the charity that is written. It’s a simple, effortless exchange that touches upon the true meaning of the holiday. It may be helpful to set an amount in advance so people do not feel obligated to give more than they can.
Or if you prefer to make it a bit more personalized, specifically ask each guest to choose a teacher and project on Donor'sChoose.org. You can even pull the project out of a hat and let your guest bid, almost like an auction, on their favorite projects.
This would also work well for Kickstarter projects, too!
We hope your holidays are filled with goodwill and merriment.
Happy Holidays! Party Hearty!