Between new babies arriving, grown kids travelling and Uncle Mikey’s rotating dating schedule, the family Christmas can change in size and format every single year. Rather than trying to pre-empt it and purchase a present for everyone, many large families are opting for Kris-Kringle-style gift giving instead. Beyond the budget benefits, the beauty of buying only one generic gift to bring to Christmas lunch is that besties, neighbours, tag-alongs and changing partners can easily join in (or drop out of) the festivities without any dramas. We’ve got some great gifting games to spice up secret Santa and milk the merry out of your big day or the office Christmas party.
Also known as White Elephant, this gifting game is one part nice and one part naughty… or NASTY, to be more precise! Everyone who wants to participate brings a wrapped gift to place under the tree. Ask for a volunteer to come up and pick the first present, which they get to unwrap in front of the group. The next person in the circle can then pick a present to unwrap. If they like it, they keep it and game moves on. If they don’t like it, they can steal the present that’s already open. The person who lost their gift can do a direct switch or pick a new present from under the tree. As the game progresses, the person who’s turn it is to unwrap has the option of stealing from anyone within the group. Careful, it might end in tears!
Much like the Hot Potato game — aka Pass-the-Parcel — everyone sits in a circle or around the table and passes around a single gift until the timer or music stops. Whoever is left holding the gift gets to keep it and then must leave the circle. This is a great game for young and old alike… and there’s no risk of tears! Stick on a Spotify Christmas playlist and pump up the festive tunes to amplify the Christmas spirit (and embarrass the teenagers).
Know to some as Secret Santa, this festive classic is especially popular for large families and office friends. Everyone picks a name out of a hat ahead of time and then buys a gift for that person at an agreed-upon price (such as under $20). Signing the card “Secret Santa” or “Kris Kringle”, no one knows who bought them their gift… but will have fun trying to guess! Alternatively, you can just pick a theme present — like something “hilarious”, “hand-made”, “sentimental”, “scented”, “eatable” or “over 18” — to place under the tree and a designated “elf” can hand them out at random.
An awesome way to up the ante after a few eggnogs, this cutthroat game will get the competitive spirits blazing. Everyone who wants to participate brings a wrapped generic gift. Chairs are set up in a circle with ONE gift placed under one chair. Blast some festive Christmas tunes to get everyone prancing around the circle. When the music stops, everyone grabs a seat, but only the lucky one who nabs the chair with the gift beneath it gets the present. For each round, another gift is put out and a chair is taken away. It’s victory to the vicious as one person could end up with everything!