close up shot of Christmas gifts

Fun Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas

Posted by Michael Stone on

When I think about exchanging Christmas gifts, the process is usually quite boring! We either hand over our gifts when we visit someone’s house or plonk them under the Christmas tree to be opened on Christmas Day!

This got me thinking of fun Christmas gift exchange ideas and how you can do something a little different. After much research, I found there is a dazzling range of exchange ideas including Secret Santa, stocking fillers, and even scavenger gift hunts, and in the below article, I take a look at the more popular options.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is the classic workplace gift-giving process but it can also apply to your friends and family!

The premise is simple. Everyone within the gift-giving group has their names put into a hat or bowl (something round is fine!). People then take turns to pick a name out - whoever they get is the person they have to buy a gift for!

A price limit is usually set for the gift value such as $10-20 and people have to place the gifts secretly once they have wrapped them in a pre-disclosed location. Everyone then gathers around, the gifts are given out and opened and you can usually count on some ridiculous presents that have no practical use!

Yankee Swap

The Yankee Swap is another traditional workplace gift exchange idea similar to Secret Santa.

During this event, everyone involved brings a random, pre-wrapped gift and places it in the designated spot. People are then given a number as they arrive and this represents the order in which they get to select a gift!

For example, the person who gets number 1 gets to choose a gift from the pile first, and so on until all the gifts have been distributed. Some variants of this game include a rule where once a person has opened their chosen gift, they can swap it with someone else’s opened present!

Stocking Fillers

Christmas presents under a Christmas tree

Since I can remember my family has done this and it’s one of the most fun Christmas gift exchange ideas. It works best for parents giving gifts to children, but anyone can do it!

All you need is a stocking! A Christmas stocking, of course, not a lingerie stocking! I’ve got a handmade one with my name sewn into it that I still keep to this day. Another person such as your parents or partner then fills it with small “stocking fillers” that you open when you wake up before your main gift pile!

12 Days of Christmas

Why not do something traditional and recreate the 12 days of Christmas for a time-themed gift exchange? The traditional 12 days of Christmas are the 25th of December to the 6th of January but if you want you can flip this and make Christmas Day the 12th day and start on the 13th of December.

The idea is simple - on each day you exchange a gift! The gifts could get progressively larger or more expensive as you build up to Christmas day, or you could even make it funny and match the gifts with the 12 Days of Christmas Carol!

Scavenger Hunt Gift Exchange

Instead of piling your gifts under the Christmas Tree where your kids can easily find them, why not make things interesting and hide them around your house (and if the weather permits, garden!)?

Call it a Christmas scavenger hunt and you can say that Santa got confused and forgot where to deliver the presents! Your kids can then race around the house and try to find their presents - it may be chaos but it will be memorable!

Gift-Related Trivia

Why not give your kids a challenge and make them earn their presents? We all know that Santa only gives presents to children who have been good after all!

You could make a simple trivia game for them with a series of questions or puzzles. For each correct answer they get, they get to open a present! This is a fun Christmas morning activity that also keeps your child’s brain active during the holiday season when they are off school.

Themed Gift Exchanges

Maybe your family or loved ones share a love for a particular theme such as a movie franchise, TV series, or sport. Why not make a gift exchange based on this theme? You could use kids Christmas wrapping paper that matches the theme, buy presents that fit with it, and even dress up to complete the look! This works best when everyone is invested and joins in with the theme and fun!

However You Exchange Gifts at Christmas, Have Fun!

I don’t want people stressing over exchanging gifts and above all you need to have fun and enjoy the experience! This is the essence of Christmas and it’s important not to lose sight of that. However, I also hope that these fun Christmas gift exchange ideas have given you food for thought and push you to try something different this year!

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