Gift exchange passing games can add a lot of fun to traditional gift exchanges, not to mention more interest in participating. Basic gift exchanges require participants to draw a name from a hat and purchase a gift for that specific person. In passing games, the gifts could end up in anyone's hands, so gender-neutral gifts of the same approximate value are a good idea. Guests must bring a gift to participate, guaranteeing that everyone who brings a gift also receives one.
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A White Elephant gift exchange game is a lot of fun for party guests. Each guest brings a gift of a predetermined value and places their gift in a pile. Guests draw numbers to decide who goes first. Number One chooses a gift from the pile and opens it. Player two can choose a gift from the pile or steal the gift from the first player. If the first player's gift is stolen, he can choose another gift from the pile. Player three can choose a new gift or steal from the first two players. Continue this way until all the gifts are gone. There will inevitably be a few gift items that get stolen multiple times, making the game more fun. Packaging the gifts in boxes large enough to conceal the size of the gift is a great way to trick players.
The Left-Right game is a fun gift exchange game that allows participants to enjoy a story while getting caught up in a frenzy. Each person starts with a gift in her lap and listens to a reading or pre-recorded story. Each time the narrator says the word "left," participants pass their gifts to the left; they pass to the right when the word "right" is heard. The game is more challenging and fun when these directional words are included several times. The intensity of the game is increased when the narrator reads the story faster to confuse the participants. After the story is over, each person opens their gift.
Musical Gift Challenge
This game is a variation of the game Musical Chairs and is an excellent way to distribute presents without drawing names. Everyone who wants to play must bring a wrapped present. Arrange chairs in a large circle; there should be enough chairs for all but one person. One present is chosen at random to be the object up for play. An administrator will play holiday themed music as people walk around the chairs. Everyone tries to find a seat when the music stops, but one person will be left out. This person gets the gift that is up for play. Choose another gift to put up for play, remove another chair and repeat in this way until all the gifts are gone. Allow everyone to open their gifts together. You should provide an extra gift as a prize for the last person left in the game.
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