Gift Exchange Idas

6 Gift Exchange Games for Christmas

December 22, 2014 by Ashley Willis

For those of us who celebrate Christmas, purchasing gifts for everyone in your group of friends, family and co-workers would be impossible. That’s why we love the idea of a gift exchange game. You buy one gift and with one fun game, you can rotate, swap, grab or steal another for yourself! This makes the season of spending a bit more manageable for everyone involved. We have our go-to gift games this year for each group – friends, family and colleagues. Here are our favorites.. which games would you add to this list?

For Friends

Host a Holiday Gift Auction:

Set a budget for each friend to purchase one gift to bring to the gift auction party, unwrapped! Place all the gifts on display (we recommend the dining room table, an island counter or bar top). Assign each guest a certain number of points (for example, 100 points is an even number that works well). Use poker chips or game pieces to allow for a money exchange. The host can play auctioneer and let the game run until everyone has used their points and wins a gift – a little friendly competition for a fun party!

The Cocktail Exchange

We know our friends would appreciate a nice cocktail swap party! Assign a type of liqueur to each guest (wine, beer, whiskey, tequila, dessert liquors, and so on).  Set a budget for everyone to use, and have each guest purchase a liqueur in their category and pair it with another item – glassware, mixers, cocktail napkins – get creative! Or, if you have a large group participating, let everyone bring their absolute favorite cocktail ingredients for a gift exchange.

Have some non-drinkers in the group? No worries – we have a Cookie Swap Soiree for you to recreate too!

For the Family

Gifts from One Family to Another:

Rather than trying to find a gift for each family member, get in touch with a local charity or nonprofit to be connected to a family in need this holiday season. Using their wish list and/or grocery list, assign each family member an item they should purchase. Make plans to deliver the items in person! This is way better than trying to figure your what to buy your great aunt or third cousin!

Secret Santa:

With a budget set, everyone participating should draw a name out of a hat or bowl. No one should reveal who they are purchasing the gift for until the day of the exchange. While this is one of the more simple games, it’s become a tradition and helps to ensure everyone receives a gift and no one is forced to overspend!

For the Office

Recipe Gift Swap:

Encourage co-workers to exchange their favorite recipes! Each participant should write their recipe on a note card and in a basket place 3-5 of the main ingredients or garnishes to help get the recipient started on the right foot! Need some inspiration? See our DIY Food Gift Baskets – just add a recipe, or soiree instructions. Or try a single serve cocktail gift with your favorite liquors and fancy glassware to match!

Yankee Swap:

Set a budget limit for every participant to purchase one gift and have them bring it to the office wrapped. Write out numbers for each participant and mix them in a hat or bowl, then have each person pick a number. Player number 1 chooses a gift and unwraps it. Player number 2 can either steal that gift or choose another from the wrapped gift pile. Player number 3 can do the same and so on. If your gift is stolen, you can choose another from the pile. This game get everyone laughing, talking and planning! It’s plenty of fun for an office or family holiday gathering.

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