My family and I have noticed that last several years there is something missing from the exchanging of the gifts, especially among the adults. We have determined that the reason is because the focus is just on tearing through a big pile of presents, and them boom, it's over. Do you feel that way too? I was determined to come up withe a way to draw out the fun and make it more than just a paper tearing frenzy, so I came up with five fun ways to make it more of an event. Also, we just cannot buy for every adult so we have transitioned to a family gift exchange instead, with each person buying a gift for one adult. We all enjoy giving and receiving gifts, so we opted not to cut it out all together; we just cut back. If you are looking for a new way to to make the gift giving more fun, perhaps you can find one here.
5 Family Gift Exchange Ideas
Draw Names – Prior to Christmas, perhaps when you are all together for Thanksgiving, put each adult family members name in a hat. Each person draws a name and is responsible for providing a gift for that person. Set a high and a low price limit so one person doesn't show up with a $100 gift and get's a $5.00 gift in exchange. Another good idea is for each person to write up a little wish list to help out their shopper. This can include sizes, items they collect, food gifts or restaurants they love. Let me say that I do not feel that the gifts or their monetary value are the heart of Christmas, but when playing a game of sorts all parties should be fair. When you get together to exchange gifts try to do it in a creative way. For example, have each person put clues on the gift about the intended recipient and when each person has correctly guessed they can confirm and reveal themselves as the “Secret Santa”.
White Elephant – This is where you wrap something that you already have laying around the house you no longer use that others may find useful; a shower radio, a flexible garden hose, electric can opener, or a silk flower arrangement are a few examples. You can carry this out in several ways: letting each person choose a gift to take home from the table, “auctioning” them off (and donating the proceeds to a favorite charity), or number the gifts and have each person draw a number from the bowl.
Homemade Gift Exchange – Each person must make a homemade gift to swap- a knitted afghan, a dozen homemade canned items, a wreath, etc. Each person uses whatever their special talent is to create something to trade out with the family, even if their talent is putting together a pretty gift basket. Encourage creativity!
Musical Gifts– This can be done in conjunction with white elephant, homemade gifts, or other gifting options. Get everyone in a circle, start with one gift, and play music. Have someone stop the music randomly (this is a great job for one of the kids). Whoever is holding the present gets to sit down and keep it. Continue until everyone has a gift.
Gift Snatch– Quite frankly this one is not my favorite, but a lot of people love it and think it is great fun. Everyone brings a gift valued at a predetermined amount, gifts go on a table or in the center of a circle. Place numbers in a bowl, the same amount as you have guests. Each guests pulls a number and gets to choose a gift based on the order of their numbers- 1 goes first and so on. The first person chooses any gift from the pile and opens it, the second can choose a gift from the pile or the first person's gift (who must then choose a new one). The third person chooses from the first two gifts or a new one from the pile, and so on until you are back to the first person who can then choose any of the gifts from the group. There are several variants on play for this, each group has their own rules.
Do you use one of these or have your own method for a family gift swap?