If you are racking your brain to think of how to make this year’s Christmas gift exchange a bit different, try these ideas that we think will turn things up a notch!
1. Artsy Secret Santa
Introduce an element of creativity into the classic game of Secret Santa.
- Each participant is assigned a number. This can be done anonymously by drawing numbers from a hat (or whatever works for you!)
- Then, every participant creates a drawing (physically or digitally) of their desired gift and uploads it onto a platform. You can use Google Drive for this; just don’t check who uploaded what! Note that every drawing must be labelled with the respective participant’s assigned number.
- Every participant draws a 2nd number. This number represents the person you will give your gift to.
- Check the compiled drawings and find the drawing which matches your 2nd number.
- Try to guess what that participant wants by looking at their drawing and buy it!
2. Dirty Santa
Don’t like your gift? In this game, you can openly show your dislike for your gift and even steal someone else’s gift!
- Every participant brings one wrapped, unmarked gift and puts it at the designated area.
- Then, every participant draws or is assigned a number. This number determines the order which each participant will get to select and unwrap a chosen gift.
- During the game, person No. 1 selects and unwraps a gift. Then person No. 2 does the same.
- After unwrapping their gift, person No. 2 can decide to either keep their gift or “steal” person No. 1’s gift. If they “steal” the gift, a gift swap will take place between them and person No. 1.
- Each person in order then gets to select a present, open it and decide whether to keep it or swap it for any other gift someone has already opened.
- When the turn ends and everyone has a present, person No. 1 gets a chance to do a swap.
- Anyone whose gift is stolen may also steal from someone else (as long as that person hasn’t been stolen from yet). When someone declines to steal a gift, the game comes to an end.
- The gift in your hands is what you go home with!
There are some rules and a few more variations to this game that you can read more about here.
3. Rilek la
This gift exchange is for anyone who couldn’t care less about the practicality of their gifts and is just in it for the laughs.
- Every participant finds and wraps up their most useless, funny or unexplainable Christmas gift from last year.
- Then, each participant draws a name. This person is whom you give your gift to.
- Alternatively, have everyone prepare a gift that is an item they already have but have never used before. This is better for the environment and your wallet!
4. Finish the carol
This is for the families and friend groups who blast Christmas carols and songs even when it’s not the holidays.
- Everyone prepares a gift to contribute to the common pool.
- All participants sit in a circle and pass each gift around to the tune of a holiday song.
- Designate someone to stop the song mid-game.
- When the song stopes, the participant who is holding the gift has to complete the lyrics.
- If they succeed, they get the gift and sit out the rest of the game.
- If they don’t, the song starts again. Repeat until all the gifts are gone.
5. Cobweb party
Okay, this one is a bit more work for the host or moderator but will be a guaranteed fun time for anyone, especially the kids who cannot sit still!
- Designate one room (or your entire house!) for the party, and assign each participant a yarn color.
- Tie one end of a thread of yarn to each gift —blue yarn to one player’s gift, red yarn to another, and so on.
- Unwind the yarn as you zigzag across the room, trailing it under furniture, looping it around railings, anywhere you can.
- You want to make it as difficult as possible for the gift recipient to follow their yarn through the “cobweb” of different colors to find their present.
- Hand each person their thread of yarn and let the mayhem ensue.
Happy party planning!
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