Tuesday, November 17, 2015

25 Christmas Gift & Gift Exchange Ideas

It's hard to believe that it's almost that time again! I know we're only in mid-November right now but since Halloween and Remembrance Day have passed, it's the next holiday everyone talks about.

I used to run a website called Triple Dot Designs but I haven't been on there for quite some time. I've been checking on the stats every so often and the most popular post is in regards to Christmas. I did a comprehensive list of Christmas Gift and Gift Exchange Ideas. Here's the link: http://www.tripledotdesigns.com/2011/11/25-christmas-gift-gift-exchange-ideas.html.

This year, our family decided to draw names and I'm excited about that. Hopefully everyone enjoys their gifts!

I've copied it again down here...
25 Christmas Gift & Gift Exchange Ideas
Photo Source: Here
We spent a night at my in-laws house this past weekend and we ended up discussing our Annual Christmas Gift Exchange. Currently, we buy a $30 gift for our gender (i.e. if your a guy, you buy a guy gift) and then just pick from a pile. We threw the idea around of drawing names, or gender-neutral etc. I have been searching out different ideas online for gift exchanges and I'll share with you come of my favourites. First, there are gift exchange gift ideas. After that, there are gift exchange games. Click on the bold titles to see the links to where these ideas can be found online. Some ideas are in comments as well. The ones without links are games or ideas I have done personally in the past.

1) Gift Card Exchange - If your limit is $30, everyone buys 3 $10 gift cards to different places. They can be anywhere (groceries, restaurants, movies, clothing stores, etc.). Then you can play a game to exchange and steal the cards of your choice.
2) Specific Annual Themes - Instead of buying a random gift, one year could be books, one year could be family photos, one year could be recipes or baked goods. This is one idea that could be good if trying to save money.
3) The Random Gift - Assign a letter, everyone brings a gift starting with that letter. Alternately, bring a gift starting with the letter of your own name or for your drawn recipient's name.
4) The Re-Gift Gift - This isn't an original idea but I know there are things around our house that we "want to get rid of" (for lack of a better term). If you have something that is taking up space in your house that someone else may want or need (and it FITS the situation), wrap it up for the exchange. This is a great way to save some money. I think the best way to use this idea is for a gag gift where you find something completely random and do the same idea. Mixed CDs, light bulbs, coffee beans, picture frames, etc. Be careful not to offend anyone.
5) Handmade or Cheap Gift - My cousin and I - before we both got married - used to do a handmade/cheap $3 gift swap. It was really fun. I have a Chevy Blazer and he made a model of it out of wood, plastic wheels, toothpicks, and paint. He even made sure that the paint didn't push the price over $3. We had a lot of fun with that. You can do the same with a low-limit gift. Purchase or make something for only $5 or $10. If you're not that crafty or you can't bake, you can buy something handmade from someone (check www.etsy.com or someone local).
6) Gender-Specific Gift - As I mentioned, we currently buy for our same gender. I buy a female $30 gift and Jeremy buys a male $30 gift. They all get put in the center of the living room and then we figure out some order to go in, unwrap the gift and we all keep our chosen gifts (no swapping or changing).
7) Closest Amount Wins - Set a limit of a random number ($13.82 for example). The person who comes closest to the amount without going over wins an additional small gift.
8) Charity/Food Bank Gift - Instead of gifts for each other, bring food items, school supplies, baby items, etc. and donate to your local Food Bank or Women's Shelter or Salvation Army, etc. Another idea could be a Christmas Card with a note saying, "I made a donation to {Charitable Organization Name} in your name."
9) Free Entertainment Gift - Instead of gifts, compose a poem, song, do a dance, tell a joke, play an instrument, etc.
10) The Deceiving Gift - Purchase a gift within your limit but instead of keeping it in its original packaging, put it in a different box/container so it appears to be something else. For example, put a jar of mixed nuts into a box for a coffee grinder. Decide whether to keep the gift a secret until the very end or to open right away.
11) Festive Sweater Gift - The night we told our families that we were engaged, my in-laws were going to an ugly toque party. Well, this would be awesome for either toques or sweaters. Can you imagine opening up a gift with a knit sweater with a reindeer and a large red pom pom on it? So fun. Wear them for the rest of the night for a good time! Don't forget to take a photo!!
12) Board/Card Game - Everyone can bring a board game or card game (within the predetermined limit) and use them as exchange gifts.

1) Draw Names with Ideas Lists - This is the traditional take on drawing of names but instead of just names on the paper, they can include a list of gifts under $30 as an idea of what they need/want. This helps the giver from endless hours figuring out (and shopping for) what to get the receiver and the receiver knows they won't get something out-of-the-blue.
2) White Elephant/Yankee Swap/Chinese Exchange - I know there are many versions of this and it's also called by different names but I will explain how I have always played this traditional gift exchange game.
You can pick an order of how people will choose a game. One year, we went by age - oldest to youngest. Another year, we went by birth month. You can also have people pick cards out of a deck of one suit and pick either high to low or low to high. One other way is by rolling dice. You can see there are plenty of ideas on how to get started.
After the order is picked out, the first person picks one gift out of the pile of gifts. They open the gift. Their turn is then done. The next person in line can choose to "steal" the first person's gift or to pick one from the pile and open it. If they steal, their turn is done and the person from whom they stole goes back and picks another gift. If they open a new gift, their turn is done. At the end, the person who played first gets a change to play again and either steal the last gift or keep the one they have.
We play that a gift can only be stolen twice and it cannot be stolen from the person who stole it from you. Example: If my husband steals my gift, I cannot steal it back from him immediately after. I would have to chose another gift. If you decide to do unlimited steals, be prepared to play well into the night (depending on how popular your gifts are).
3) Draw Names in Age Groups - My sister and her family do this as well. Draw names for adults, teens, and children. Assign a money limit for each group. You can draw names either this Christmas for next Christmas or a couple months before Christmas so it's fresh in your mind.
4) BINGO - Adults can play Bingo and whoever wins a round gets to pick a gift first. You can go further to have the next winner either steal the first person's gift or else open a new gift. Or you can have everyone wait to open their gifts until everyone has their gifts.
5) Guessing Your Gift Game - I have done this in the past too. You do the traditional drawing of names but when it comes to opening, you don't write who it's to or who it's from on the gift. You have to wrap it specifically for the recipient. For example, I play volleyball. The person who draws my name could wrap my gift with volleyball wrapping paper. If someone is a reporter, wrap their gift in newsprint or something similar. Get the idea? The reason you don't put the name on the gift is so that the recipient can guess which gift is theirs. An additional idea for this game is putting a gift that represents you inside of the gift so the recipient also has to guess who the gift is from.
6) White Elephant Guessing Gift - Same idea as the White Elephant with one twist: wrap the present so it represents yourself and they have to guess who wrapped it before they can open it.
7) Christmas Story Exchange - Pass out key words from the story "T'was the Night Before Christmas" and as you read out the story, when someone's word is said, they stand up and say, "Merry Christmas" or something related of your choice and choose a gift.
8) Right/Left Game (also known as Round Robin) - Everyone takes the gift that they brought (or you can mix them up) and sits in a big circle so that everyone is in easy reaching distance. A story is read and every time the word "Right" is said, everyone passes their gift one person to the right. Every time the word "Left" is said, everyone passes their gift one person the the left. Click on the link for a cute little story. You could also write your own. You would want to change up the story so that people don't figure out where to sit to get a gift they want. Other stories can be found here and here.
9) Get to Know You + Question Game 1 - Everyone gets a gift to start. Put some slips of paper into a bowl with a question and a command written on each one. One at a time, everyone pulls a slip out of the bowl, answers the question and then reads the command until everyone has opened their gifts. Some examples:
Q. What is your favourite colour?  C. Tell everyone wearing that colour to open their gift
Q. Where would you like to travel to on your next vacation?  C. Tell everyone to pass their gift 2 spaces left.
Q. Do you like fruit cake?  C. Swap gifts with someone.
Other commands can be swapping gifts across the table/circle, open remaining gifts, swap with person on left or right, etc.
10) Get to Know You + Question Game 2 - Create a list of statements that apply to the group that you are playing the game with. Start with giving each person a random gift. You could also start with them all in the middle and they can choose as the game allows. One by one, read the statements and tell the group what to do next. Here are some examples of the statements that would apply to my family:
- If you will spend Christmas Day working, you can (choose and) open your gift.
- If you have ever flown overseas, you can swap gifts with someone. 
- If you have a sister, you may (choose and) open your gift. (In a family with many sisters, use "more than #")
- If you can solve a Rubix Cube, you may swap gifts.
- If you had to drive more than 50 km to get here, you may (choose and) open your gift.
- If you are wearing green, you may open your gift.
Make up a list of rules before starting. You can choose to say you have to swap or you can keep when the statement applies to you. But if someone is entitled to swap gifts and asks to exchange with you then you must. You can also limit the number of swaps/steals on the same statement.
You may want to have a long list ready and give a general one if you need to get more gifts open (if you're wearing ___...). Once all the gifts are open every statement ends with "swap your gift".
You can also choose to say about 2/3 of the way into the game that everyone must pass their gift one person to the left. The submitter says, "It's hilarious because some people have been working so hard to get the gift they wanted. I make sure there are a few statements left so people can swap for the gift they want again. It's fun in a circle because people run to swap for the gift they want knowing a person can only get swapped once per question."
11) Corresponding Numbers - Number each gift as it arrives. Then, give the person who brought the gift a piece of paper with the same number on it. Tell them to write down a little known fact about themselves. Then fold the paper and put it in a bowl. To start the game, draw a piece of paper and read the fact, NOT the number. The first person to guess who the fact is about, gets the package with the same number. Once someone guesses correctly, they are out of the game. The last gift is for the host. This site has other great ideas!
12) Dice & Doubles - This game is more for if you have a smaller group because I could see it going long... depending on a few things. You start with everyone sitting - or standing if you really get into it - around a table with the gifts in the middle (probably better with smaller gifts as well unless you have a large table). Have 2 dice and a pair of oven mitts ready. Start rolling the dice, person by person around the table (only 1 roll each turn). The first person to roll doubles puts on the oven mitts, grabs a gift, and starts to open it. The dice continue around the table until the next person to roll doubles has to take the oven mitts, put them on, and continue to open the gift. Once a gift is open, that person is out along with their gift. The game continues until all of the gifts are open and everyone has a gift. Challenge: the harder you wrap the present (i.e. more layers of paper, lots of tape, box within a box within a box, etc), the longer the game will go and the more laughs you'll get. This could be done with one challenging gift as an extra fun game rather than your main gift exchange game. Oh, and teeth are not allowed (lol).
13) Pulling My String - Attach a string or yarn to each gift. Put all the gifts under a blanket with the strings available outside the covering. Everyone chose a string. You could pull out the gift right away or everyone pick a string and hold on to the end without pulling, then take the blanket off and everyone can find their way to their present.

More Christmas Games - http://www.santalady.com/xmasgames.html - some are really funny!
Secret Santa Online Organizer - http://www.elfster.com/

Happy Christmas Shopping/Creating. I hope these ideas have helped you as much as they have helped me. I am looking forward to feedback!