These ten gift exchange games are some of the most creative and unique gift exchange ideas ever! No more traditional white elephant gift exchange, this year try one of these gift exchange games instead and impress your guests with such fun ideas!
10+ Fun and Unique Gift Exchange Games
Try one of these fun and unique gift exchange ideas this year to break the norm. Almost every holiday party I’ve been to in the past ten years has had a very similar gift exchange. Everyone brings a wrapped gift and gets a number. The first person chooses a gift and unwraps it, the second person can steal that gift or choose another, and so on. I don’t even have to write out exact details because you all know. It’s the same game everyone plays at their holiday party every year.
This year I dare you to break out of the typical gift exchange box and try one of the unique gift exchange games below at your holiday party. Your guests will probably be shocked, maybe a little confused, but I’d be willing to bet they will remember how much fun your party was. The only other thing you need is an amazing white elephant gift and luckily I have a ton of great white elephant gift ideas for you!
Printable Poem Gift Exchange Ideas
1 – Lucky Last Line Gift Exchange Games for Individuals
In this fun gift exchange game, you wrap up a gift with multiple layers of wrapping paper and include a line of a poem on each layer of wrapping paper. Start the gift with one person who has to pass the gift off to someone who matches the description in their line of the poem. Keep passing and unwrapping the gift until the final person ends up wrapping the gift itself, not just another layer! Get the free printable poems (four different versions) and full rules here.
1A – Lucky Last Line Gift Exchange Games for Large Groups
The version above is best if you just want to provide one wrapped gift as part of your party fun. If you want to use this type of pass the present game with these poems for a larger group, here’s how to do it.
Ask your guests to each bring a wrapped gift. Before the party, print out one of the poems I created that will determine who passes the present where. You can get the printable poems in this post. If you’re creating your own poem, make sure that the final line to pass in the poem is a universal one (like pass to the right or pass across) so that everyone ends up with a gift. Three of my four poems end that way if you’re using one of mine.
- Tell each of your guests to hold their own wrapped gift.
- Read the first line of the poem and tell your guests to follow the instructions in the poem. An example would be, “I’m sorry but this gift is not for you, give it to the person to the right of you.” If one person receives multiple gifts that’s fine, they will just need to give all of the gifts away during the next line of the poem.
- Repeat, reading the poem line by line and having your guests follow the instructions on the poem. Announce when you’re on the last passing line of the poem and that everyone needs to give their gift to a different person (so no one has multiples at the end of the game).
- Once you’ve finished reading the poem and everyone has a gift, everyone can unwrap and keep their gifts.
2 – A Left Right Poem Gift Exchange Game
In this game, everyone brings a wrapped gift and sits in a circle. Read the poem and when the words “right” or “left” are read, everyone passes their gifts left or right. You’ve gotta pay close attention though because it can get crazy with rights and lefts all over the place!
Roll of the Dice Gift Exchange Ideas
3 – Switch Steal Unwrap Gift Exchange Game
In this game, everyone starts with three small gifts. You roll the dice and the dice determine if you stich, steal, or unwrap those gifts. Game ends when all the gifts are unwrapped. Get the full instructions and printable dice count cards here!
4 – December Dice Game
Prep: For this game, you will need two six-sided dice. Ask all of your guests to bring a wrapped gift. And print out the dice rolling cards, people will want to know what’s happening to their gifts!
- Have everyone sit in a circle with their wrapped gift in their lap.
- Give the dice to one person in the circle and tell them to roll the dice and follow the instructions that correspond with the number they roll. For example, if they roll a 6 everyone would pass the gift to the right, roll an 8 and everyone passes to the left.
- Go around the circle allowing everyone to roll the dice two times (or however many you choose). During the second round before someone rolls, if they have not yet unwrapped their gift have them up wrap it so all of the gifts are unwrapped by the end of the second round.
- Once the dice have gone around the circle the number of times you chose, your guests will keep the gift in their hands.
To print the dice cheat sheet, enter your email and first name below to get a copy of the file. If you do not see a box below, click here to get to the form.
5 – Heads or Tails Gift Exchange Game
Let your gift exchange be dictated by the flip of a coin in this fun heads or tails gift exchange. Heads you choose from the middle, tails you unwrap. It’s amazing how just adding a little coin to a game can change it completely. Get full rules and instructions here.
Active Gift Exchange Ideas
6 – Musical Gifts
Prep: This game probably works best with smaller (20 or less) groups of people. For this game, ask all of your guests to bring a wrapped gift. When your guests arrive ask them to put their gift in a designated area. Have your guests sit in a circle.
- To start the game, pick out a random gift from the table and give it to someone in the circle.
- Play Christmas music and tell your guests to pass the gift around the circle until the music stops.
- When the music stops, whoever has the gift in their hands will unwrap the gift, show the rest of the group, and leave the circle with their gift, standing close by. We’ll call this person player A.
- Repeat with another gift, but this time when the music stops the guest (player B) with the gift can choose to either unwrap their gift or steal the gift from the first person who left the circle (player A). If they choose to steal Player A’s gift, Player A would unwrap the gift Player B ended up with when the music stopped.
- Repeat with another gift,but this time when the music stops the guest (player C) with the gift can choose to either unwrap their gift or steal the gift from Player A or Player B (or anyone else outside the circle if you’ve been playing for a while). If they choose to steal Player A’s gift, Player A would have the option to steal from someone else who left the circle with a gift already or unwrap the gift Player C ended up with when the music stopped.
- Continue playing until all gifts have been unwrapped and everyone has a gift.
Alternative Option: If you’d rather make the game a little simpler and less time consuming, you can just start everyone with a gift at the beginning of the game. Play music and have everyone pass their gifts around until the music stops. When the music stops everyone opens their gift and goes home with that gift. Or you can do two rounds and have half the people unwrap their gifts and half not. Then after the second round have the other half unwrap and everyone go home with whatever they ended up with.
7 – Never Have I Ever Gift Exchange
Ask everyone to bring a wrapped gift and when they arrive have the group sit in a circle with their gifts. Throughout the game, the gifts will stay where they are at the beginning of the game. Before the party, print out the PDF document below (click the pink button to print) that’s full of Never Have I Ever holiday statements. Cut them into small strips and put into a bowl.
Have someone in the circle pull a holiday action from the bowl and read it out loud. If anyone in the circle (including the person reading it) has done the thing on the paper, they have to switch seats with someone else in the circle, leaving their gift behind. The gift alwas stays while everyone moves. So in essence the people are being exchange instead of the gifts.
Continue having people choose holiday statements, letting people switch seats after each one is read. Continue until last item on the list has been read and everyone is sitting in a seat with a gift. That’s the gift they’ll end up with and unwrap.
Alternative Version: To make it more exciting, after each round you choose someone to open their gift (probably just go in order around the circle). Or have people put their names in a hat (or use the random.org app) and select someone randomly. That gift is now open so people know what it is, making it more exciting to see who can get into the seat with the amazing gift.
Never Have I Ever Gift Exchange Games List
Enter your name and email address below to get a printable copy of the full list of Never Have I ever Christmas items but here is a sampling of what it includes:
- Never have I ever done Elf on the Shelf
- Never have I ever read The Polar Express
- Never have I ever seen Die Hard
- Never have I ever gone Christmas caroling
- Never have I ever been to a tree lighting ceremony
- Never have I ever received a fruit cake as a gift
Gift Exchange Games that Use Printable Cards
8 – Pick A Gift, Any Gift
In this game, everyone brings one gift just like in a typical white elephant gift exchange. Instead of just deciding whether or choose a gift or steal someone else’s, you pick a random card instead. The card will tell you what to do with your gift – steal, swap, unwrap, pick a second gift, and more. This is one of our favorite gift exchange games! Get the free printable gift exchange game cards here!
9 – 12 Days of Christmas Gift Exchange Game
The last of these gift exchange games is another favorite! Similar to the game above, the card you draw in this game tells you what to do with your gift. Only this time instead of random sayings, these cards are all themed based on the 12 days of Christmas song. So not only is it fun, it’s hilarious to read what happened in the new version of this song (and game!). Get the full details and printable cards here.