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Holiday > Gift Exchange

10 Gift Exchange Ideas For Your Holiday Party

Looking for unique Adirondack gifts? Check out our Adirondack Gift Guide »

adirondack gift guide

Spice up your holiday party or gathering with these unique and fun gift exchange ideas!

Whether it's to save money, boost the fun, or create a new tradition, many are looking for new ways to engage in gift giving for the holidays. Try out the 10 great holiday gift exchange ideas below!

Top 10 Gift Exchange Ideas

  • presentsDrawing Names - To cut down on having to buy for many different people, a group of friends or a large family can draw names out of a hat! Instead of each person having to buy for everyone in the group, now each person just buys for one other person. Be sure no one draws their own name, though!

  • Secret Santa - Building on the drawing names gift exchange idea, Secret Santa keeps it a secret who each person will buy for! Many times even after the gift is given, the identity of their "Santa" is kept secret from the gift recipient.

  • White Elephant / Yankee Swap / Dirty Santa - This is a fun holiday gift exchange idea that goes by many different names! The main idea here is that everyone attending a party brings a gift and for however many gifts are brought, numbers are drawn for opening order. Although they won't know who will be opening the gift, it doesn't have to be generic or gender neutral because others will have the opportunity to take it home! The first person to choose a gift opens it. The second person to choose a gift opens theirs and then has the option to keep their own gift or swap it for the first person's gift. Every new person who opens a gift has the option to keep their own or swap for any other. After the last person picks and opts to swap or not swap, the first person is given the opportunity to swap the gift they ended up with. It's great fun and a very popular gift exchange idea!

  • Grab Bag - In this gift exchange, every party attendee brings an unusually shaped gift and secretly sneaks it into a grab bag so no one sees the gifts that are being added. When it comes time for gifts, the bag is brought out with all the mysterious gifts inside. Each person then reaches in and feels around for a gift that they might like to take home!

  • Auction (live or silent) - Going once! Going twice! Auctions can be great fun and a terrific way to exchange gifts! Each party attendee brings a few gifts (or the hostess can provide all the gifts if she likes) and they are put on display and up for auction. Each party guest is given a certain number (usually 100) of points with which to bid. Once all of their points have been used to "purchase" auction items, guests can no longer bid on items. A live auction is great fun for a lively party, but if you prefer a more subdued auction, guests can write their bids on paper for each gift.

  • Best Guess - If your party attendees are big fans of guessing games like Charades or Pictionary, you're bound to love this fun gift exchange idea! Each person brings a gift or two. When it comes time for gift giving, each is given a turn to hold up their wrapped gift and the group guesses what might be inside. You can give clues or use charades or sketches to help them along (especially if it's a particularly obscure gift to guess), and the first person to guess just what the gift is gets to keep it!

  • Charitable Giving - For those groups and families with giving hearts, this is a great option. Decide on a charity to donate the money you would ordinarily spend on gift giving to help others. You can all pool your money into a single charity or let each would-be gift recipient choose their own charity.

  • Joke Gifts - This can be great fun for guests who just want to get together for a fun time. Rather than spending money on expensive or thoughtful gifts, each attendee brings a joke gift! It can be anything from a whoopie cushion to a used toothbrush to an oversized pair of underwear! Think about inside jokes and other gifts that would get a laugh when opened. You can use this in combination with the Grab Bag, White Elephant, Drawing Names or Secret Santa ideas for the exchange portion!

  • Recycled Gifts - No, we don't want you to go rummaging through your cardboards and plastics looking for gifts. This idea is about re-gifting! Rather than holding your holiday party before the holidays, opt for a delayed party in the New Year. The only gift requirement is that you bring a gift you have already received! We all get presents around the holidays that we don't necessarily need or want. And as they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Recycle those unwanted gifts for a creative gift exchange idea that won't cost anyone a single dime!

  • Homemade Gifts - This is a great frugal gift exchange idea that can be just as exciting as any of the others. Have a holiday party where the only gifts exchanged are homemade gifts. From homemade cookies to original paintings to homemade ornaments, quilts, knit hats and more, discover how talented your friends and family really are!

We hope you choose an idea or two from this list of our Top 10 Gift Exchange Ideas for your gift giving celebrations this holiday season, and don't forget to take lots of pictures!


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