7 Christmas Gift Exchange Games for 2024

November 3rd, 2023

The holiday season is all about spreading joy, love, and, of course, exchanging gifts with family and friends. While the tradition of giving and receiving presents is heartwarming, it can sometimes become a predictable affair. That’s where Christmas gift exchange games come into play. These games inject an element of surprise, laughter, and excitement into the festivities, making your holiday gatherings even more memorable. In this article, we’ll explore 7 Christmas gift exchange games, including the ever-popular white elephant, to add a touch of fun and creativity to your celebrations.

How do you make a gift exchange game fun?

To make a gift exchange game fun, create an enjoyable and engaging atmosphere. Encourage participants to get creative with their gifts, set a theme, or add a quirky twist to the exchange, like a white elephant or Secret Santa theme.

Include fun rules or challenges to keep things lively and entertaining, such as a time limit for opening gifts or trading options. Incorporate laughter, friendly competition, and a sense of anticipation, and ensure that everyone feels included and appreciated. A fun and relaxed atmosphere is key to making a gift exchange game enjoyable for everyone involved.

What gifts do you buy for a gift exchange game?

When participating in a holiday gift exchange game it’s a good idea to select presents that offer a mix of thoughtfulness and universal appeal. Here are some gift ideas:

  • Experience Gifts: Choose popular activity gift cards for restaurants, movie theaters, spa treatments, or experiences like cooking classes, escape rooms, or outdoor adventures. These provide recipients with enjoyable experiences they can look forward to.
  • Themed Gift Basket: Create themed gift baskets filled with items related to a particular hobby or interest, like a movie night basket with popcorn, DVDs, and cozy blankets.
  • Unique Decor: Look for unique and decorative items like decorative candles, artisanal home decor, or quirky office accessories that can add a touch of personality to their space.
  • Gourmet Treats: Gourmet food and drink items such as specialty chocolates, gourmet coffee or tea sets, or a basket of exotic snacks can be universally appreciated.
  • Personalized Gifts: Consider personalized items such as custom-made ornaments, monogrammed towels, or engraved keychains to add a personal touch.
  • Fun Gadgets: Explore fun and innovative gadgets or tech accessories that can be entertaining and useful, like portable Bluetooth speakers or quirky phone holders.
  • Books: A best-selling book in a genre that’s likely to appeal to a broad audience is often a great choice for a gift exchange.
  • Board Games or Puzzles: Choose a popular board game or an intriguing jigsaw puzzle for hours of entertainment.
  • Self-Care Items: Self-care items like scented candles, bath bombs, or high-quality skincare products can help recipients relax and pamper themselves.

Remember to consider the preferences and tastes of the people participating in the gift exchange game, and try to strike a balance between thoughtful and versatile gifts that can appeal to a wide range of people.

7 Christmas Gift Exchange Games to Try This Holiday 2024 Season

1. Secret Santa

Secret Santa
Secret Santa is a classic gift exchange game that can be played with all ages. Each participant draws a name from a jar to determine the person they will be buying a gift for. The catch? The identity of the gift giver remains a secret until the gift is opened. Set a budget for the gifts to ensure fairness and creativity. Secret Santa not only adds an element of surprise but also encourages thoughtful gift-giving as participants try to guess their recipient’s preferences.


  • A jar
  • Small strips of paper and pens
  • A wrapped gift from each player (make sure the gift giver does not put their name on the gift)

How to Play Secret Santa

  • A week before the day of festivities gather everyone together and have each player write their name on a sheet of paper
  • Set guidelines for gift giving such as a minimum and maximum budget
  • On the day of the event, each player will bring a wrapped gift with their ‘secret santa’ name on the gift and place it at the designated spot upon entry
  • Gather around and have each person open their gift, they will have to guess who their secret santa is! When everyone has opened their gifts and made their guesses, everyone can reveal who their secret santa was!

2. White Elephant / Yankee Swap game

white elephant gift exchange
Get ready for the ultimate gift-giving showdown with White Elephant! Also known as Yankee Swap or Dirty Santa, this popular game is a hit at office parties and holiday gatherings alike. It’s the perfect mix of strategy, silliness, and surprise. In this festive game, participants bring wrapped presents, but there’s a twist – you could end up with a hilarious treasure or a quirky trinket. It’s all about the luck of the draw and the art of the steal! Get ready to laugh, scheme, and unwrap the unexpected.


  • Wrapped gifts (participants should bring one each)
  • Numbered slips of paper (one for each participant)
  • A festive setting (optional, but highly encouraged)
  • A sense of humor and a spirit of fun!

How to Play White Elephant

  • Arrange participants in a circle around the gifts.
  • The first player selects a gift from the pile and opens it, showing it to everyone.
  • The next player can either steal that gift or choose a new one from the pile.
  • If a player’s gift is stolen, they can either choose a new one or steal from someone else. Optional: You can add a limit to the amount of times a gift can be stolen, for instance if a gift has been swapped twice then it remains safe with its last recieiver
  • Continue until everyone has had a turn.
  • Once all the gifts have been opened, the game ends.

3. Secret Snowflake

secret snowflake
Secret Snowflake puts a unique twist on the classic Secret Santa game by spreading holiday cheer throughout the week with a series of escalating gifts. Participants anonymously select someone to be their “Snowflake” and surprise them with a sequence of gifts, each increasing in value as the week progresses. It’s a heartwarming way to build anticipation, spread joy, and celebrate the spirit of giving during the holiday season.


  • Festive wrapping paper
  • Gift tags or cards for each day of the week
  • Budget guidelines (optional)
  • A list of participants and their assigned “Snowflakes”

How to Play Secret Snowflake

  • Assign Snowflakes: Have each participant draw a name at random to determine their Secret Snowflake recipient.
  • Set a Schedule: Decide on the duration of the Secret Snowflake week (e.g., Monday to Friday).
  • Prepare Gifts: Each participant prepares a series of gifts for their Snowflake, one for each day of the week. The value of the gifts should increase as the week progresses.
  • Wrap and Label: Wrap each gift in festive paper and label them with the corresponding day of the week (e.g., Monday, Tuesday, etc.).
  • Secret Delivery: Throughout the designated week, secretly deliver the gifts to your Snowflake without revealing your identity. You can leave them in a designated spot or arrange for a surprise delivery each day.
  • Enjoy the Surprise: Each day, your Snowflake will receive a new gift, building excitement and anticipation as the week unfolds.
  • Reveal at the End: On the final day of Secret Snowflake week, reveal your identity to your Snowflake and celebrate the joy of giving and receiving together.
  • Exchange Stories: Share stories and experiences from the week, reflecting on the joy of spreading holiday cheer and making memories with your Secret Snowflake.

4. Dice Exchange Game

Get ready for a festive twist on gift-giving with the Christmas Dice Exchange! This lively game adds a dash of excitement to your holiday celebrations as participants roll the dice to determine their gift exchange fate. The Dice Gift Exchange is a simple yet entertaining game that involves rolling dice to determine the fate of your gifts. To play, everyone sits in a circle with their wrapped gift, and the host provides a pair of dice. The first person rolls the dice, and depending on the outcome, a set of rules dictate what happens next. For example, rolling a pair of 1s could mean passing the gift to the left, while rolling a pair of 6s might allow you to swap with any gift in the circle. The game continues until everyone has had a chance to roll the dice. It’s a merry and memorable way to share gifts, laughter, and holiday cheer with friends and family, ensuring a fair share of surprises and laughter.


  • A pair of dice
  • Wrapped gifts for each participant (with a designated value or theme, if desired)
  • A designated playing area or table

How to Play Holiday Dice Exchange

  • Set Up the Game: Gather all participants and place the wrapped gifts in the center of the playing area.
  • Assign Starting Order: Determine the order of play, either by age, drawing names, or rolling the dice to see who goes first.
  • Roll the Dice: The first player rolls the dice to determine their action:
    • Roll a 1: Swap gifts with the player on your left.
    • Roll a 2: Swap gifts with the player on your right.
    • Roll a 3: Exchange gifts with the person across from you.
    • Roll a 4: Everyone passes their gift to the left.
    • Roll a 5: Everyone passes their gift to the right.
    • Roll a 6: Choose a gift from the center pile.
  • Perform the Task: The player carries out the action indicated by the dice roll, following the rules for each task.
  • Continue Rolling: The next player takes their turn, rolling the dice and following the corresponding action.
  • Stealing and Swapping: If a player’s gift is stolen, they can either choose a new gift from the center pile or steal from another player on their turn.
  • End of the Game: Continue playing until all gifts have been exchanged multiple times or until everyone agrees to end the game.
  • Unwrap and Enjoy: Once the game is over, participants unwrap their final gifts and celebrate the holiday spirit together.

5. The Stocking Scavenger Hunt

stocking stuffers
“The Stocking Scavenger Hunt” adds an exciting twist to traditional gift exchanges by turning it into an adventurous quest! Participants prepare a stocking filled with small gifts and hide it somewhere, along with a series of clues leading the recipient on a merry scavenger hunt. It’s a delightful way to spread holiday cheer and create memorable moments with family and friends.


  • Festive stockings for each participant
  • Small gifts to fill the stockings (e.g., candy, trinkets, small gadgets)
  • Paper or cards for writing clues

How to prepare the stockings and clues

  • Select Gifts: Choose small gifts to fill the stockings, ensuring they fit inside and are suitable for the recipient.
  • Write Clues: Create a series of clues that will lead the recipient from one location to another, ultimately guiding them to the hidden stocking. Be creative and tailor the clues to the recipient’s interests and the location of the hunt.
  • Hide the Stocking: Place the filled stocking in a designated hiding spot, ensuring it’s well-hidden but not too difficult to find. Remember to keep it within the boundaries of the agreed-upon playing area.

How to play Stocking Scavenger Hunt

  • Assign Recipients: Each participant is assigned a recipient for whom they will prepare a stocking and scavenger hunt.
  • Prepare Stockings: Fill the stockings with gifts and place them in the designated hiding spots, along with the first clue.
  • Start the Hunt: The recipient begins the scavenger hunt by finding and reading the first clue. The clue will lead them to the next location where they’ll find the next clue, and so on.
  • Follow the Clues: The recipient follows the clues, solving riddles or puzzles along the way, until they finally discover the hidden stocking.
  • Enjoy the Gifts: Once the stocking is found, the recipient can open it and enjoy the treasures inside. They can also refer to the included list of supplies and instructions for any additional activities or games that may be included.
  • Celebrate Together: Gather together with all participants to share stories of the scavenger hunts and celebrate the joy of giving and receiving during the holiday season.

6. Christmas Carol Hot Potato

“Christmas Carol Hot Potato” puts a festive spin on the classic hot potato game by incorporating beloved Christmas music. Participants pass around a gift while holiday tunes play in the background. When the music stops, whoever is holding the gift gets to keep it! It’s a jolly and entertaining way to exchange gifts and spread Christmas cheer with friends and family.


  • Wrapped gifts for each participant (with a designated value or theme, if desired)
  • Christmas music playlist
  • Speaker

How to Play Christmas Carol Hot Potato

  • Set Up the Game: Gather all participants in the designated playing area and place the wrapped gifts in a visible location.
  • Start the Music: Begin playing the Christmas music playlist or CD. Ensure it’s loud enough for everyone to hear but not too loud that it becomes overwhelming.
  • Pass the Gift: Participants form a circle and pass the gift around while the music plays. They can pass it quickly or slowly, depending on the tempo of the song.
  • Stop the Music: At random intervals, pause the music. When the music stops, the person holding the gift must immediately stop passing it and keep it for themselves.
  • Continue Playing: Resume the music and continue passing the gift around until all gifts have been claimed.

7. Christmas Auction

Amongst all the festive activities in December, this office Christmas game stands out as one of the best ways to exchange gifts while having a blast. Participants bring in items of entertainment, such as books, DVDs, or board games, to give away. These items are then auctioned off, with each player given 50 tokens to bid with. The highest bidder gets the item. If multiple players bid the same amount, a series of trivia questions is asked by the auctioneer. The player who answers the most questions correctly wins the item. To make the game even more special, a nominal fee can be charged to play, with the proceeds donated to charity.


  • Items of entertainment to give away (books, DVDs, board games, etc.)
  • Tokens or play money for bidding
  • Trivia questions and answers
  • Optional: Donation box for collecting funds for charity

How to Play Christmas Auction

  • Each participant brings in a piece of entertainment to contribute to the gift exchange.
  • The items are displayed for all participants to see.
  • Each player is given 50 tokens or play money to use for bidding.
  • The auctioneer starts the bidding for each item, and players use their tokens to bid.
  • The highest bidder wins the item.
  • If two or more players bid the same amount, the auctioneer asks a series of trivia questions.
  • Players who bid the same amount compete to answer the trivia questions, and the player who answers the most questions correctly wins the item.
  • The game continues until all items have been auctioned off or players run out of tokens.
  • Optionally, a nominal fee can be charged to play, and the proceeds can be donated to charity to make the game even more meaningful and special.


This holiday season, consider incorporating one or more of these Christmas gift exchange games into your celebrations to elevate the joy and excitement of gift-giving. Whether you opt for the mystery of Secret Santa, the hilarity of White Elephant, the warmth of Secret Snowflake, the randomness of Dice Gift Exchange, the simplicity of the Stocking Stuffer Swap, the musical challenge of Christmas Carol Pictionary, or the culinary adventure of the Secret Ingredient Gift Exchange, these games are sure to create cherished memories and bring your loved ones closer together during this festive time of year. So, gather your friends and family, unwrap the laughter, and let the holiday spirit shine through in these entertaining gift exchange games.

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