Did you know that 82% of people make plans to spend time with friends and family over the holidays?
The holiday season is a natural time for people to come together and celebrate. Many people celebrate by exchanging gifts with their loved ones.
However, traditional gift-giving can be both expensive and boring—there’s only so many pairs of socks you can gift to your coworker. So, how can you make your gift exchanges more exciting?
We’re here to help! Keep reading our guide below for nine holiday gift exchange ideas!
1. For Competitive Guests: Trivia
Hosting a holiday party? Combine gift-giving with games for the ultimate party event.
Trivia is a fun way to exchange gifts with friends and family. Set a price cap and allow everyone to contribute a gift.
Then, hold a game of trivia. The person with the most points at the end of the game gets to choose a gift first, the person with the second-highest score chooses second, and so forth.
Make this game even more festive by quizzing your party guests on holiday-themed trivia!
2. Spin the Bottle
Spin the bottle is most commonly associated with high school parties, but we propose it be used at more holiday parties! The only preparation you have to do is set all the gifts off to one side in a pile and bring out an empty bottle.
Exchange gifts simply by sitting in a circle and spinning the bottle. Whoever it lands on gets to choose a gift first, and you continue to spin it until everyone has chosen a gift!
3. The Season of Giving: Charity Exchange
Sick of shucking out big bucks for gifts that barely get used? Consider giving back to your community instead.
Have each participant write down their name and charity of choice on a slip of paper. Everyone will then draw a slip and contribute a set amount of money to the charity their recipient listed.
In place of the traditional exchange, hold a get-together, and ask participants to share why they chose their charity. It’s a meaningful way to spend the holiday, and you’ll also learn more about your friends and family along the way.
4. Mug Exchange
Looking for a quick and easy exchange idea? This is the perfect option, especially if you scored some classy coffee mugs when hunting for the best Black Friday deals.
Simply ask participants to buy a fun coffee mug and fill it with goodies. Then exchange it as you see fit—whether it’s through the traditional Secret Santa method, a raffle, or a White Elephant swap!
This is a great exchange idea for office parties since everyone can then use their new mug as their “office mug”!
5. Choose a Theme
Want to avoid the boring gift cards and cash-filled cards that inevitably show up in each gift exchange? A themed gift exchange will help bring out the gift-giver’s creativity!
Choose a broad or niche theme—it’s all up to you. You might choose a theme as simple as “something blue” or perhaps a theme centered around a favorite movie.
Each gift will then be challenged to buy a gift that relates to the theme in some way. It creates a starting point for participants who struggle to come up with a unique gift idea.
This is a great gift exchange idea if you’re planning on having a themed holiday party too. It’s the perfect way to tie the gift exchange into the entire party!
6. Hot Potato
This one is pretty straightforward. It follows the rules of a typical hot potato game, but the gift acts as the hot potato.
Everyone sits in a circle, and a gift is passed around. When the music or timer goes off, the person holding the gift gets to keep it! You then continue until everyone has received a gift.
7. Holiday Gift Exchange Ideas for Children: Musical Chairs
Looking for a game to keep the kids entertained during holiday parties? Hold a gift exchange for your children by playing musical chairs!
To keep it fair and even, it’s best to set a price cap on gifts. Gender-neutral gifts are also ideal for this type of gift exchange game.
Pool the gifts together and place one under each chair. Then play a round of musical chairs as normal. When the music stops, the children get to keep the gift underneath the chair they choose!
8. Cookie Swap
Sometimes a full-fledged gift exchange can be a bit awkward between a group of coworkers or acquaintances. After all, how do you buy a personal gift for someone who you only exchange a few emails with each week?
A cookie swap is the perfect solution. Select recipients as you would with a traditional Secret Santa swap. However, ask participants to write any major likes/dislikes along with their names. This is important, especially if anyone has a serious allergy.
After choosing a slip, the gift-giver can then bake cookies for their recipient. Of course, store-bought baked goods are okay too! Ultimately, it’s a fun and tasty alternative to traditional gift exchanges.
9. Scavenger Hunt
Looking for a more adventurous gift exchange? This is one of the best holiday gift exchange ideas for more active celebrants.
This idea requires a bit more preparation, but it’s worth the effort. Plant clues and instructions that will lead participants to the gifts.
You can either give a specific set of clues to each individual person or make it a team effort and hide all the gifts in one spot. If you want, the first person to arrive could have the first pick of the gifts, and so on and so forth.
Celebrating the Season
The holidays are the perfect time to share in festivities with friends, family, and coworkers. The holiday gift exchange ideas above will help you plan the best celebrations, with plenty of holiday cheer and memorable gifts.
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