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Dec 18 2017
by Zoe Forest

7 Unique Gift Exchange Ideas

By Zoe Forest - Dec 18 2017

White Elephant, Secret Santa and all those other go-to gift exchange ideas for friends, colleagues and family can be incredibly fun, but after years of exchanging gifts the same way it can be fun to mix it up. Here are seven different ways to exchange gifts this year.

1. Switch, Steal and Unwrap Dice Gift Exchange


In this gift exchange game, everyone brings a wrapped present and sits in a circle with their present. Everyone then takes a turn rolling a six-sided die. If they roll a 1, everyone passes their present to the right. If they roll a 2, everyone passes their present to the left. If they roll a 3 or 4, they can steal any gift and switch it with theirs. If they roll a 5 or 6, they unwrap the present in front of them. The game continues until every gift is unwrapped.The game can also be increased to two gifts per person by using two dice.

2. Cheer Exchange


This is an easy game that is good for large groups of people. Everyone brings a present and sits in a circle with their gift. The host will then say a criterion such as "If your favorite color is red," or "If you have already done all your holiday shopping," and everyone fitting into that group will stand up. Everyone standing then switches presents with someone else standing (sometimes more than once if it is an odd number). Those people can then stay seated the rest of the time and the host will continue in a similar manner until everyone has stood up and exchanged gifts with someone else. At the end, everyone unwraps their gift.

3. Gift Auction


Everyone brings a gift (wrapped or unwrapped, you can decide) and places it on a table. They then receive a certain amount of monopoly money (it doesn't matter how much, as long as everyone gets the same amount). The host then acts as an auctioneer for each gift and people bid their monopoly money, with the person who bids the most getting the gift (though a person can only win one gift).

4. The Fun Fact/Numbers Game


This is an ice breaker/bonding game plus a gift exchange. Everyone brings a gift, which is then assigned a number by the host. Each person writes down on a piece of paper the number of their gift and an interesting or unusual fact about themselves and place the paper in a hat. Once everyone is gathered, the host pulls out one piece of paper at a time and reads only the fun fact. People then try to guess who the fact is about and the first person to guess correctly gets that gift. They are then out for the rest of the game and it continues until every gift is gone.

5. Trivia


As in previous games, everyone brings a gift. The host, who has prepared a series of trivia questions, collects all the gifts and, once everyone has gathered, pulls out a present and asks a trivia question. They can be themed or random. The first person to get the question correct gets the gift and they are then out for the rest of the game. This continues until everyone has a gift.

6. Musical Gifts


For this musical chairs-inspired game, everyone brings a gift, puts it in a pile and sits in a circle. One gift is selected first and as a Christmas song plays, the gift is passed along. When the song stops, the person holding it keeps it. This is continued until every gift has been passed along.

7. Charity Gift Exchange


This game is similar to Secret Santa in that participants randomly select a name to get a gift for. But instead of a traditional gift, everyone picks a charity they think their person would like and donates a set amount (depending on everyone's budget) in that person's name. At the party or gathering, everyone reveals who they had and what charity they donated to.

Hopefully these gift exchange ideas will spice up your holiday gift giving. Feel free to try any variant on these to better fit your purposes or create your own gift exchange game.

Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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Zoe Forest - University of California, Berkeley

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