Christmas gift exchange ideas

monicavOctober 20, 2002

Hello all! I know this is insanely early, but my brother-in-law and I are in charge of planning Christmas activities and menus this year, and we need your help! We range from the overjoyed to the ones who could give Scrooge a tip or two, and we need ideas for the gift exchange. Our limit is $30 for adults and we thought we'd like to do a gift game of sorts. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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I would suggest that you pull wrapped names names from a gaily decorated bag, box, or very pretty bowl. This is not a game exactly, but I guess you could make a game of it when the gifts are exchanged by guessing the giver. For example, place all of the gifts on a table, with the recipients' names labeled clearly on the gift. The giver puts one clue about themselves inside the gift, and the recipient can guess who pulled their name. Depending on your guests, I guess you could make it more than one guess, and the recipient has to do something silly every time they guess incorrectly.

You are right about planning this early, especially as people can start getting antsy (this always happens when money is involved) and decide they do not want to do this after all. I have been involved in a few swaps myself, sometimes with less than great results - once because one of the givers claimed they forgot, the other because the giver really did not want to do it in the first place (and to be fair, she did say from the beginning that she had no desire to participate):P.

Will you all be serving food?

Happy gardening!


    Bookmark   October 24, 2002 at 12:23PM
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Our family has grown over the years, making it impossible to get gifts for everyone. SO, this year what we plan to do is to buy the little ones (elem. school & tots) gifts...

Then we will each buy and wrap a reeeeeally tacky gift (limit $10) and put them all in the middle of the floor.
Each person, as their name is drawn, will pick a gift from the pile. Should be lots of laughs to see who can "out-tacky" each other.

We've decided to concentrate of the 'spirit of giving' this year, and enjoy the fellowship and food.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2002 at 5:27PM
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While the idea of exchanging tacky gifts sounds like it might be fun, I get tired sometime of spending money on things I know will only sit on the shelf and gather dust. My family decided years ago that we all were pretty blessed just to have one another, and (with the exception of the kids) we all had everything we really needed . . . and anything we really wanted only we could get ourselves, SOOOOO, we just exchange baked goods among the adults. It has returned all the joy of the holidays to our family. No one stresses out anymore, or has to go out into the crowds and put up with people coughing in their faces. My brother has turned out to be the most amazing pastry maker, my sister's cookies are incredible and my datenut bread was a recipe passed down from my grandmother. I don't make it a well, but everyone appreciates and remembers my grandmother with every slice. This simple plan works for us. I know it might not work for others. My husband's side of the family just HAS to open presents . . . and every year we keep asking ourselves "Why?"

    Bookmark   October 26, 2002 at 9:44AM
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We all bring a gift that could be used by anyone in the family.
Then we draw numbers to see what order we pick gifts in. The catch is that you can either "steal" someone elses gift, or draw from the unopened gifts. So for example the person drawing third could either choose to take #1 or #2's gift or they could pick an unopened one. It gets to be pretty fun and serious business.

Some gifts that I remember are magazine subscriptions, cookbooks, sweatshirts, gourmet food stuffs, tools like screwdrivers and tape measures, and the occasional Billy Bass singing fish. LOL

    Bookmark   October 28, 2002 at 10:10AM
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Hi there,
Thanks for responding! Beach Bum and Borealis, we liked your game ideas, we're going to figure out a way to incorporate a little from each idea into one game plan. Yes, we'll have food, usually appetizers and desserts, we think that works best since everyone tends to bring what they're really proud of! Momfirst, I appreciated your sentiments about the gifts, this is why we only exchange one gift per person. We head to church first, then meet together for food and fun, the gifts are part of our festivities, but only a part.
I'm really excited about our plans so far, thanks to your ideas!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2002 at 2:37PM
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Nice to see this string revived, for whatever reason.

I don't care much for gag or tacky gifts, either. It's funny at the time, but in the end it feels to me like a waste of money. But I certainly understand not wanting everyone to have to spend a lot of time and money shopping.

I liked it once when we had each adult randomly assigned the name of one other adult for whom to buy a gift, with a LOW maximum spending amount. It was great to see how everyone found something really good even at that level -- (I think it was $5, but that was probably 15 to 20 years ago). I even remember what I gave (a can of wrinkle-remover spray for someone who travels a lot) and what I got (an apron). Today I'd make the amount $10, or, if your crowd likes an additional challenge, make it some random amount like $12.38 and see who can come the closest without going over. That would be game enough for me.

Another thing your group might like is to bring items to donate to a shelter or someplace instead of gifts to each other, or low-energy light bulbs to donate to your church, etc. Some people feel like this replaces merriment with earnestness, but others like it a lot; you have to know your group.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 10:46AM
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Does anyone have any other ideas for a gift exchange, other than drawing numbers, "Yankee" or "Chinese" (where you can steal someone else's gift), or "round robin" (where you sit in a circle and pass gifts right or left according to a story?
Our garden club has used all of these multiple times and we need something new!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 11:43AM
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My daughter married into a large family. They are all close and gather for all the holidays. For years they gave small gifts to each other (ornaments, cookies, gags, toiletries), and drew the name of one person to buy a special gift for.

The family keeps getting larger, so this year they finally decided to be more practical and thrifty. Instead of buying things, each individual or family will entertain the group. They can recite a poem, sing a song, tell some jokes, play a musical instrument, or do something even more creative. This way, they'll really be giving something of themselves, and it ought to be a lot of fun.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 9:58PM
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I had a 'Sex in the City' Xmas gathering one was a Christmas Luncheon I hosted. Each guest was required to buy a gift card, wrapped it inpretty in a small box with a bow on it. In the center of the room was a 4 foot tree decorated w/lights and big red bows. On each of the the bows was a clothespin or safety pin. Guests were asked to bring a $30 gift card from some business. In your case with men involved-simply..if the card was female related..the giftbox would get pinned on the tree with a RED ribbon. If for a man? A green ribbon. If for others? A silver bow.

Then you have everyone sign their name on a ticket & place in a shoebox & shake 'em up. Someone picks a ticket, call out that person's name & they go up to the tree & choose a gift. Nobody opens them until all names are drawn. Fun to see the different varieties that show up for this!
Bath & Body stores
Car wash/detaiing
Hair salon
Moddy massage
movie tickets
Hoem Decor store
Dep't store
Book store\etc. etc.

It was a BIG HIT

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 1:19AM
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I am also in need of new ideas for a gift exchange, but I have one to add as well:
My siblings and I each pick a name out of a hat, set a price limit then (here's the tricky part) have to buy a gift for that person that starts with the same letter as their first name. For example, my name starts with a V, so I've gotten a V-neck sweater, vino, a fake voodoo doll.

It's fun and can be silly, you just need to get a little creative sometimes. While this is a good one that I'd recommend, we've done it a few times so we'd like to try something new this year, but not the old White Elephant/Yankee Swap idea.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 3:58PM
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