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Holiday Gift Exchange Games

Holiday gift exchange games and Christmas 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

There is still time to order and print a whole slew of printable games for your Christmas & New Years celebrations!

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. $20-$30 is usually an agreeable price since each person is buying only one gift. The amount can be more or less. We have seen rules allowing gifts as much as $50-$75. It’s your group’s call.

Wrap Your Gifts

Or add a holiday check to a fun money maze or other money gifting puzzle!

All gifts should be wrapped (and may we suggest you make yours look extra special). Put the gifts together under the tree, on a table, or wherever is most 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 clearly more popular than others 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 cannot 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.

Kids Trivia Games

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 Games and Gift Ideas

Check out our very popular Holiday Gift Ideas Guide >> White Elephant | Gift Exchange | Stocking Stuffers.

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!

Re-Gift Exchange

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. In other words, pretty much everything and anything at Muttropolis works perfectly for a pet 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.

Ornaments to commemorate a particularly strange year >> 2020 The Year of the Pandemic

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.

Or if you and your crew prefer puzzles to games, there are some great ones out there!

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.

Here are a few of our favorite Cookie Exchange Party Invitations. This year you might want to do a virtual party. Have all local invitees drop off batches of cookies to each other's homes.

FREE Online Cookie Exchange Party Invitation
FREE Cookie Exchange Holiday Party Online Invitations

Face Mask Exchange

(Only in 2020 – hopefully!)

Holiday Gift Exchange Games and Gifts Under $5

Short on Christmas cash? Tell your guests they cannot spend over $5 on their gift. Suggest that everyone stop by a thrift or dollar store to find a funny or useful gift. We found most of the featured gifts with this “one dollar items free shipping” search on Amazon even has a search for 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 or Kickstarter or You can even pull the project out of a hat and let your guest bid, almost like an auction, on their favorite projects.

Party Hearty!

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