Thrifty Gift Exchange

In the past on Christmas evening, together with all of my in-laws, Jeff’s cousins and a few close family friends, we share a hysterically fun gift exchange. You’ve probably played this in the past, where everyone brings a wrapped gift based on a dollar value previously set, draw numbers for picking order and then proceed with the opening and stealing of gifts. Our dollar limit has traditionally been set at $50 per gift. However, the last few years, we have not done the exchange at all since money is tighter than ever at the holidays. But the fun sure has been missed.
So, this year, I’m organizing a thrifty gift exchange. New rules. No money. I even made a promo image for adding to the email announcing the new exchange. Feel free to grab it to announce your own gift exchange for family, work, church or school. There’s one with a fifty dollar mention and one without for naming your own price range.Gift Exchange Information (modify as needed):

  • Participants MUST bring a wrapped gift with an approximate dollar value of around $50
  • Gifts MUST NOT be newly purchased
  • Gifts MUST be wrapped in newspaper, magazine pages, or paper grocery bag paper.
  • Gifts MUST have a unique non-traditional bow or gift-topper.
  • Used gifts, such as appliances, MUST be gently-used and very clean.
  • No White Elephant or gag gifts, please.

Gift suggestions:

Music CDs, previously purchased or custom mixed
Small Appliances
Home Decor
Gently used or unused purses or accessories
Wine or Spirits, unopened
Sports Gear
Accumulated gift cards
Handmade gifts
A Grab bag of multiple items

The Game:

  1. All wrapped exchange gifts are placed under the tree or in the middle of the room with players surrounding.
  2. The game coordinator writes one number per participant on small pieces of paper beginning with the number 1. Numbered papers are placed in a “hat” and passed around, each participant draws a paper stating their designated player order.
  3. Player No. 1 chooses a gift from the pile and opens it.
  4. Player No. 2 has the choice of either stealing player No. 1’s gift or choosing an unopened gift from the pile.
  5. Player No. 3 can choose to steal previously opened gifts or choose an unopened gift from the pile.
  6. If a player’s gift is stolen, at that moment they are allowed to either steal another player’s gift or choose another unopened gift.
  7. A gift may only be stolen 3 times, at which time it is considered untouchable and remains in the permanent possession of the 3rd thief.
  8. You may not immediately steal back a gift that is stolen from you.

…And the madness continues until all gifts are opened. You can opt for an additional rule that player No. 1 gets the final steal if desired.

Do a Google search for more gift exchange ideas and rules. If you do a traditional exchange, I’d love to hear about it!

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