Play this let’s make a deal game at your next party for a fun way to give out prizes in this risk and reward party game! It’s perfect for Christmas, birthdays, and any other occasion where you need something fun to do!
I’ve always been a huge fan of game shows. Like I was that girl who watched Game Show Network when I was home sick from school.
I’ve already created a bunch of television game show inspired shows like Christmas Jeopardy, Christmas Price is Right, and of course tons and tons of minute to win it games. But I’ve always wanted to recreate one of my favorite game shows – Let’s Make A Deal! Doesn’t matter whether it’s hosted by Monty Hall or Wayne Brady, I love it!
One of the questions I get asked most during the holiday season is if I have any games for people to gift their guests. We’re not talking about gift exchanges but rather games where hosts (or typically people who are hosting parties for employees, etc. or grandparents wanting to give out things) want to just use a game to give people things.
This let’s make a deal game is just that. It’s a way to give people prizes but in a fun and unique way.
I have two different variations that you can use depending on if you want to actually use gifts or just gift cards and cash. They’re both fun, but I personally prefer the gift variety!
How Let’s Make A Deal Works
The basic idea behind this game is that people will be given a prize of some sort at the beginning of the game and will have one or two chances to switch out their prize for a mystery gift, just like in the show where they either are given some cash or win a prize and then can switch it for door #1 or box #2.
Players have choices to make and each choice comes with the risk of getting something worth less than their current prize OR even the risk of a total loser, or zonk (if you want to include those).
And at any given time during the game, players can choose to stop playing and walk away with what they have (similar to this don’t eat Santa game). If they choose to make a switch, they are stuck with whatever they choose even if it’s worse than the prize they already had in hand.
You got it? Now let’s talk about how to set this up and how to play.
Let’s Make A Deal Setup
In our version of let’s make a deal, there are three different stages of the game that people can participate in.
- Cash envelopes to start
- Gift cards to switch their cash out
- Gifts (or additional cash envelopes) to switch their gift cards out
I’m going to walk through the setup of each of these rounds and then how to play the game using all three different rounds!
1 – Cash Envelopes
Put any amounts of cash you want into envelopes, ideally a few more than people you have playing. For our game we had 12 people playing, so I did 15 envelopes. That way even the final person playing has the chance to choose and aren’t just left with the final envelope.
You can choose whatever amounts of cash you want in the envelopes, but I recommend doing some really small amounts (not winners) up to some larger amounts that will make people actually think about going for the gift card.
We did anywhere from $5 to $50 in our cash envelopes. I just grabbed a bunch of dollar bills at the bank and filled them up with small amounts of cash!
2 – Gift Cards
The second round will be full of gift cards with all varying ranges of amounts. The idea is that you want people to have the choice to keep their cash or go for a gift card, not knowing what the gift card will be worth.
I wrote the amounts of gift cards on a piece of white poster board and then taped the gift cards in front of them so people only knew what store the gift card was for but not the amount.
I just used pieces of double-sided tape to tape the gift cards on and filled up most of the board with cards. You want to do the same thing here where you have at least a few more gift cards than people playing so that everyone still has a choice of a gift card.
When choosing your gift cards, do very low amounts and and very high amounts so that there are some winners, some losers, and some that are just in between. I did everything from a $.06 cent gift card to a $100 one.
3A – Prizes
The third and final round of the game is actual wrapped gifts (or more cash envelopes, see 3B section below). These are the final option if someone still wants to trade their gift card for the chance at getting a better prize.
Put together a tray full of wrapped gifts, gift bags, and gift packages that are full of universal gifts that people can like PLUS a few junky gifts or just trash that are the zonks of this game. You could make those things from this funny white elephant gifts list or really just things like an empty box where they win nothing.
This round is the riskiest because if you trade in your gift card and end up with a zonk, you end up winning nothing. But there should also be some really good gifts so people have a reason to trade.
Also, I recommend not doing gift cards or cash in this round – just gifts. You don’t want people to trade in a gift card for a chance to win yet another gift card.
Some gifts that would make universally liked gifts could be things like:
- Games (any of these board games for adults would work)
- Movie tickets or another experience gift of some sort
- Sports items, especially if the entire group likes a similar sports team
- Travel items
- Gourmet food or candy
- Home items
- Gloves, fuzzy socks, or any other unisex one-size fits all item
3B – Cash Part 2
If you don’t want to deal with picking out prizes, you could always do additional cash envelopes that players can trade their gift cards in for.
If you do cash, I recommend filling some of the cash envelopes with play money to be your zonks for this round. It’s round 3 so zonks are part of the deal!
When we did the cash version, I just put cash envelopes on the back of the gift card poster board with numbers on them. People who wanted to trade in their gift cards for the chance at cash chose a number and won whatever was inside, even if it meant winning nothing at all.
And that’s it. Once you have your envelopes, gift card board, and prizes all together you’re ready to play!
If you have a party with a bunch of adults and kids and you want everyone to play, you can make a kid version and an adult version. Make the kid envelopes and gift cards worth less than the adults so that kids aren’t winning $100. This also allows you to choose gifts for round 3 that are more kid-friendly rather than ones that adults would also like. Or if you want to do round 1 and 2 combined, you could still make a set of kid-friendly gifts just for round 3.
How to Play Let’s Make a Deal Game
Let me preface this by saying that when we played this, I gave everyone at our company party a chance to play. If you don’t want to give everyone a chance to go through the game, you could make playing a reward for winning one of these Christmas games, answering Christmas trivia questions, or doing something else.
It could be the “prize” from something else or people could have to complete an action like rolling doubles, etc. to get the chance to play.
You can choose how that works. Or you can choose to let everyone just play, like I did.
Who goes first?
If everyone is playing, you need to figure out a method to determine the order people get to choose in. We pulled out matching sets of playing cards for the number of people who were playing (e.g., two Queens, two threes, two tens). Then we gave everyone one playing card and randomly pulled a playing card from the other set – whoever had the matching card went first. You could do the same thing with numbers or just write down everyone’s names and pull them out of a hat.
Once you’re ready to play, here’s how it works.
Round 1 – Cash Envelopes
Choose your first contestant then let them randomly pick a cash envelope from the previously filled envelopes. They then open and see what amount of cash is inside.
Then it’s time to make a decision. That player chooses whether they want to keep their cash and leave the game or if they want to trade their cash in for a chance to pick a gift card from the gift card game board instead.
I like to make sure that everyone knows the ranges of values for the gift cards so they know that there are options that will give them more than is currently in their hand (as well as less).
Round 2 – Gift Cards
If the player moved onto round 2, they hand back their cash envelope (and the cash amount inside) and choose a gift card from the board. They take it off the board to reveal the amount behind it and what they’ve won.
Make it risky!
If you want to make it riskier, you can say that if someone gets less money on their gift card than the cash envelope they gave up, then they don’t get the chance to move onto round 3.
Once they see their gift card, they can either choose to keep the gift card and end their game or they can trade in the gift card and move onto round 3.
Round 3 – Prizes
I’m going to write this round as if you are using wrapped gifts for round 3. If you’re using cash envelopes, it’s played the same way but people will pick an envelope instead of a gift.
If someone moves onto round 3, they will trade in their gift card and choose a gift from the tray of wrapped gifts. Some of these gifts will be good, some will be just okay, and some will be zonks where they end up not winning anything at all. I like to make sure people know the high and low values of the gifts!
Once they choose a gift, they open it up to see what’s inside!
If you want to be really nice, you can allow someone to trade in a zonk for the first cash envelope they started with. I don’t personally do this because it’s part of the fun of the game to have the risk and reward element, but it is an option if you want to make sure everyone walks away with something. Or you could eliminate the zonks altogether, but I prefer just letting them go back to the cash they started with because zonks are fun!
Once they’ve gone through all three rounds, it’s time to let someone else play! Pick another player and let them go through the game while people watch! Keep going until everyone has had a turn.
Alternately, you could have everyone go through the rounds together where everyone picks and opens a cash envelope. Then people choose to move onto round 2 or leave the game and everyone who moves on to round 2 choose a gift card and looks at them at the same time.
If you do this, you still need an order of some sort but you could just do all cash, all gift cards, and all prizes together instead of one at a time.
If you really want to make this more like the game show, you can also do a big deal of the day round where you offer the three people who won the most in the regular rounds of play (your top winners) the option to play for one final deal. They can either keep what they have or trade it in for the chance for a bigger prize.
Get three different prizes for this final round. One of those three prizes should be the highest value prize of the day or the grand prize. The other two should be legitimate prizes but not as good as the first prize and not necessarily as high as the prizes they gave up.
I don’t recommend doing a cash prize for this portion of the game.
Let the person with the highest value prize from rounds 1 through 3 choose one of the prizes, let the second person choose a prize, and the third highest value winner gets the final prize.
Finish the Game
And that’s it! That’s the entire game. It’s a really fun way to give people gift cards and prizes without just handing them over. Plus, it’s entertaining to watch people weigh the decision of keeping what they have or going after the possibility of something better!
The only thing missing are quickie deals for the studio audience where they win a small amount of cash for having things on their person but otherwise, this is a great way to play Let’s Make a Deal at home!
And you could always do that as well if you really want to give out consolation prize options for people who didn’t get to play and were just audience members!
want more fun Christmas Games?
More Prize Games
If you like this fun Let’s Make a Deal game, you have to try these other fun prize centered games!
- Saran wrap game – this fun variation on the popular game using coal challenge cards for even more fun!
- Stack attack game – in this fun party game, players compete to answer questions to earn prizes for their team!
- Christmas bingo – a fun holiday themed version of the classic prize winning game!
- Christmas punch game – a Grinch themed game where you punch out your prizes, kind of like Price is Right!
- Reindeer Hunt – first one to find a reindeer wins the corresponding prize!