1. Left, right exchange
Players sit in a circle, holding the gift they brought to the party. The moderator reads an original page-long short story, with lots of "lefts" and "rights" infused in the text. Participants send their gifts to the right or the left each time the word is read, and keep the gift that ends up in their laps.
2. Musical chairs
In a spin on musical chairs, place chairs in a circle facing outward. A small gift is placed under each chair. Play a Christmas song, and when the song is over each participant sits down and claims the gift under their seats. This is a great game to play with a gaggle of kids.
3. Family giving
Instead of buying individual gifts this year for a small gift exchange, make a plan to purchase a family gift that everyone agrees on. For instance, you could plan a family trip to Disneyland or a Jamaican resort. This approach takes the stress out of the holiday season.
4. Holiday trivia
Make a list of holiday trivia questions, and ask the questions to the crowd. The first person to answer the first question gets first pick of the gifts, and so on until each guest receives a present.
5. Craft exchange
Looking for a theme? Invite all of your guests to bring a wrapped crafting gift that's under $20 to place under the tree. Each guest can grab a gift when it comes time to open presents, and "ooh" and "ahh" over beautiful craft ideas.
6. Dirty dice grab game
The dirty dice grab game is wild fun with dice, timers and stealing. It works best for mid-size gatherings so it doesn't get too rambunctious. Curious? Check out the dirty dice instructions here.
7. Cake walk exchange
Place numbers on the floor and play music. Once the music stops, each guest will stand on the closest number to their location. The moderator draws a number from a hat, and the person standing on the corresponding number gets to pick the first gift. Continue until all the gifts are gone.
8. Stocking for needy kids
Hosting a party this holiday season? For admission, require that your guests bring a toy for needy children. Set up a stocking in your entryway so people can drop off their gifts at the door.
9. Holiday bingo
Purchase printable holiday bingo cards on a site like Etsy's CelebrateLifeCrafts so you can play bingo at your party. The first person to call "Bingo!" gets first pick, and so on until the gifts are gone.
10. Name that holiday song
Prepare clips of your favorite Christmas carols and holiday songs, and play the clips to your crowd. The first person who correctly calls out the name of the song picks the first gift.
Which gift exchange do you plan on using this holiday season?
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