This A Christmas Carol inspired gift exchange game, Scrooge Your Neighbor, is the perfect way to add a festive twist to this year’s holiday gift exchange! Simply print out the cards, play like normal, and see who gets scrooged first! It’s fun, kid-friendly, and a great way to change things up!
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Over the years I’ve been to a lot of Christmas parties and participated in a lot of gift exchanges. It seems like their often the same (unless they’re using one of these creative gift exchange ideas.
This Scrooge Your Neighbor gift exchange game is one of two new gift exchange games I’m sharing this year, and I’m so excited about it!
Scrooge Your Neighbor
This game was inspired by a game called Screw Your Neighbor that I learned at a family reunion from my Aunt Cheryl. That game really has nothing to do with this one other than you can block someone from stealing your card.
But I liked the name, so it stuck.
This Scrooge Your Neighbor gift exchange game is very similar to this 12 days of Christmas gift exchange game except instead of picking cards on your turn, you’re dealt a special playing card at the beginning of the game.
So it’s a little bit more strategic and less random. And it’s of course based on the characters (and their roles) in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Or if you’re like and me and think more of Mickey’s Christmas Carol – same thing.
The game works in the exact same way as a typical gift exchange. Everyone brings a gift, everyone gets to unwrap or steal a gift on their turn, etc. The difference is that everyone gets a card at the beginning of the game that allows them to take special actions either on their turn or during the game.
For example Scrooge allows you to block someone from stealing your gift if they try (a ode back to the original Screw Your Neighbor game) and Tiny Tim allows someone to steal a gift on their turn that was previously stolen – the ultimate trump card.
Some of the cards are good. Some are not so good. But they’re all fun!
And I’ll throw out a warning right now. If you or the people coming to your party don’t like stealing gifts, this game isn’t for you. Try one that’s a bit more random (and no stealing involved) like this Left Right game or this pass the present game!
Scrooge Your Neighbor Gift Exchange Supplies
You don’t need much to play this gift exchange game. Just make sure that everyone brings a wrapped gift – that’s the most important part!
- Scrooge Your Neighbor card set – download for free using the pink form at the bottom of this post
- Wrapped gifts – one per person
- Two decks of playing cards
- Table – or a large surface area like a kitchen island where you can put all the gifts. We have a couple of these folding tables on hand always!
Gift Exchange Prep
This game takes just a little bit of prep – seriously, just a little. Before you play, you will want to do the following.
1 – Print and cut out the Scrooge Your Neighbor cards.
Print out one set of the actual action cards (Scrooge, Marley, etc.) and then enough caroler cards for the rest of the group. Only twelve people will have special action cards and everyone else will have regular caroler cards that don’t do anything.
Just like in this Werewolf game where you have various action cards and villagers.
You can either just print the front of the cards or you can print them double-sided so you actually get the fun Scrooge Your Neighbor logo on the back.
2 – Get your table set up.
Have everyone place their wrapped gifts on the table as they come to the party. I always recommend having 2-3 extra wrapped gender neutral gifts just in case someone forgets and still wants to play. These white elephant gifts are great for both men and women!
3 – Get your numbers ready to go.
Count the number of people playing. If you’re using playing cards, get one playing card per person from one of the decks and put them in a pile. Then get the exact same cards out of the other deck and put them in a separate pile.
If you’re using numbers, write down two sets of numbers – one for each person playing. Cut them out and place into separate baggies.
The idea here is that everyone is going to get either a number or a playing card. In traditional gift exchange games, whoever got number one (or the ace) would go first. But I prefer to make it random so even if you get number one, you’re not sure when you’re going to go.
So instead of having #1 or the ace go first, before each round pick a card/number from the matching set and that person goes. It keeps people on their toes and paying attention, even if they go first or last.
4 – Get your group ready to go.
Have everyone sit down in one area together. Shuffle the Scrooge Your Neighbor cards and the playing cards (or numbers).
Let everyone pick one Scrooge Your Neighbor card and one playing card (or number). Make sure they don’t show their cards to anyone.
How to Play This Gift Exchange Game
I wrote out a full set of instructions and detailed info on each of the cards (if you need it) in the instructions included with the PDF of cards. It’s pretty much the same thing as below, just more details.
And pretty please read the notes section – those make a huge difference in how the game works!
Okay, now back to how to play this game!
Regular Gift Exchange Game Play
The base of this game is a regular gift exchange. Here’s how that works.
1 – Once everyone has a card, decide who goes first by choosing a number from the matching sets of numbers and whoever has the matching number goes first. Or to make it simpler, just let #1 go first and go in sequential order.
2 – The first person chooses a gift from the table and unwraps it.
3 – Choose another number to see who goes second. The person who is second can either unwrap a gift from the table or steal the first person’s gift.
4 – If they steal a gift from someone, that person can choose to steal a gift or unwrap another gift from the table.
5 – Keep going until everyone’s number has been called and they’ve had a chance to choose to steal or open a gift from the table.
6 – Once the final person has gone, the first person gets to go one more time and can choose to steal a gift from someone if they choose. If they steal a gift, that person can then steal a gift and the final round continues until the person chooses not to steal (or gifts are no longer available to steal).
- A round of play is from when a number is chosen to when a gift is unwrapped from the table. A round may be as short as someone unwrapping a gift at the beginning of the turn to someone unwrapping a gift after six gifts have been stolen.
- If a gift is stolen three times during the game it is frozen and that person keeps it. The ONLY exception is the Tiny Tim card described below.
- A gift can only be stolen ONE TIME during a round of play (see #1 above for definition of a round of play).
Scrooge Your Neighbor Game Play
Okay now here’s where it gets fun. You understand how the base game works above right?
The Scrooge Your Neighbor cards add another element to the game. Some cards are played on someone’s turn and others are played whenever.
So for instance, a Scrooge card would allow someone to block someone else from stealing their gift. And Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come – they get to peek at a wrapped gift before playing their turn.
Read the instructions on each card (and detailed instructions below) to understand how to play the cards.
Once a card is played, it is discarded – other than the Marley and Fred cards, which continue their actions throughout the game.
I’m not going to list out all of the details and actions of each card below, but here are the cards included in the PDF. Cards include a description of what they do and the PDF instructions include a detailed description of all of the cards.
Pay close attention to the cards – some of them are based on other cards, like Scrooge!
Since this is a Scrooge game, all of these cards are based on characters in A Christmas Carol.
- Ghost of Christmas Past
- Ghost of Christmas Present
- Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
- Tiny Tim
- Portly Gentleman
- Carolers (no actions, just regular players)
Important Notes about Scrooge Cards
- None of the powers other than the Tiny Tim card impact frozen gifts. If gifts are frozen, they are frozen regardless and cannot be stolen, even with an action card.
- Scrooge Your Neighbor cards CANNOT be played during the very last round of play (the round mentioned in #6 above where the first person gets to go again). They must be played during the regular rounds of play.
Have questions? Leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer! Play this game this holiday season? Tag me on social media #PlayPartyPlan or @playpartyplan so I can check it out!
Get the Scrooge Your Neighbor Game PDF
Enter your first name and email address below to download the game. You’ll be sent a copy of the game to your email that includes the following:
- Two pages of Scrooge Your Neighbor action cards
- One page of caroler cards
- Three pages of card backs
- Two pages of game instructions
The document is setup so that you can print front and back without any issues cutting off the words/images on either side.
I highly recommend printing on white card stock and laminating (I use this inexpensive laminator with these laminating pouches) if you want to use again at a second party or next year. I always laminate my games and keep a bag full so I can pull out one of the games for any last-minute parties!
Don’t see the form to get the PDF printable below? Click here to get to it!
Other Christmas Party Games
- 12 days of Christmas game
- Christmas saran wrap game
- Christmas emoji game
- Christmas scavenger hunt ideas
- Christmas family feud game
- Minute to win it Christmas games
- 25 best Christmas party games
- Christmas movie bingo
- Christmas song game
Other Christmas Party Ideas
Don’t forget to pin this Scrooge Your Neighbor gift game for later!