Creative Gift Exchange Ideas That Make Christmas Even More Fun

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You can just hand over gifts as per usual for Christmas but gift exchanges can be done more fun and creatively.

Winter is coming! That means the family-oriented gift-giving season is around the corner. Having a large family can add to the excitement and fun over the holidays. However, it can also complicate the Christmas gift exchange in certain ways.

Purchasing gifts for every family member can be quite expensive (if you have a large family). Also, it can result in unnecessary wrapping waste and make it difficult to carry huge amounts of gifts. 

Purchasing presents for each family member consumes time and can ruin the enjoyment and interaction on Christmas day. Fortunately, there are many fun and innovative methods to enjoy a Christmas gift exchange with families that encourage the tradition of spending quality time together.

A well-planned gift exchange will be a lot less stressful. If that sounds appealing, here are some creative gift exchange ideas for this holiday season.

Secret Santa

This is a classic way of exchanging Christmas gifts. At the beginning of December, draw names from a hat to buy presents for just that individual. Decide on the ideal gifts throughout the first couple of weeks of December. Then at the Christmas gathering, disclose your secret Christmas companion and distribute your presents one by one.

This is a great concept since you must be inventive in determining what your individual wants without revealing that you are their Secret Santa.

Left or Right

This is an interesting game where everyone sits in a circle, carrying their present for the exchange for no one in particular. Pre-specify a cash amount and if there is a certain present theme.

The host will begin reading a tale, and at the mention of the word “left,” everyone will pass their present to the left. Each time the word “right” is used, you pass them to the right. You can create your narrative, which can be fun. But be sure to keep track of the lefts and rights to ensure that no one receives the same item they brought. Alternatively, you can shuffle the presents to add to the excitement!

This is one of the most amusing ideas for a family gift exchange. You will be happy you took the time!

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Never Have I Ever

This is a globally popular game. First, arrange all of the presents in the room’s centre. Then, once everyone forms a circle around the pile, they select a random present to put at their feet.

The first individual takes a paper slip labelled “Never Have I Ever” from a bowl and reads it aloud. For instance, the slip might read, “I have never purchased a console.”

Then, anybody who has done what the card describes must move to another empty seat and leave the present on the ground. They can’t swap places with someone immediate to their left or right.

If more than one person moves, whoever reaches the vacant space behind the present first gets to keep it; if only one person moves, they must choose someone to swap spots with.

The person who reads the next sentence then opens and replaces whatever present is on the floor at their feet. The person on the left then takes a fresh paper slip and reads it aloud, and the process repeats. After you have opened all the presents, whatever is at your feet is your gift!

This one is particularly enjoyable since the gradual unveiling of all the presents creates anticipation for the excellent ones but disappointment for the dull ones.

Holiday Trivia

If your family are trivia buffs, transform your present exchange into a trivia contest. Form two or three teams or play on an individual basis.

Each individual who correctly answers a question receives a wrapped present. If they correctly answer several questions, they can pass their gift selection to another person of their choosing (or steal/swap a gift).

Individually competing for points, the leader picks the present first, second place second, and so on. Teams compete against one another and record their responses. Questions can be assigned the same or various point values depending on their difficulty.

After the first quarter, the team in the lead can select their wrapped presents, while the team in the lead at halftime can choose or steal from the first. Finally, everyone opens at the end of the third quarter. The winning team can take open presents from other teams at the conclusion. Additionally, you can provide an extra reward for the winner!

Yankee Swap

This is the traditional party game of gift exchange. It enables you to avoid purchasing many little, cheap presents for everyone in favour of one beautiful, high-quality gift. As a consequence, higher-quality presents are not as burdensome on people.

To begin, each person purchases a present for a certain monetary amount your group agrees on (maybe $15, $25, or $50). Then, each person brings it wrapped to the gathering and draws a number from a hat. The person with the number 1 opens a present from the pile. After that, the second person has the option of “stealing” the first person’s present or opening a new one. The third person may choose from any previously opened presents or open a new one. This repeats until everyone has gone.

As a rule of thumb, each present can only be stolen a certain number of times. Generally, each item has a limit of two or three thefts. If a person’s gift is stolen, they open a new one or steal from someone else. This game works best with people who won’t easily get offended by others stealing their items!

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White Elephant

This enjoyable game is quite similar to the Yankee swap. However, the game is played with things found around the home that are no longer required. You can get items from thrift shops just for the sake of amusement.

The game operates on the idea of “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Therefore, you must bring something unusual, strange, or fascinating that someone may want. However, to keep in mind, it cannot be a useless object that no one wants or cares about. For example, suppose someone receives a sparkling new watch while another brings an old useless pair of shoes. Thus, before engaging, everyone must understand the spirit of the game.

Riddle Me This

This game is simple yet enjoyable (depending on the riddles you choose!). First, create a list of riddles, one for each individual participating in the gift exchange. After reading a riddle, whoever answers it first gets to take and open a present from the centre. To make it more enjoyable, you can always introduce stealing rules, like in the Yankee Swap.


Julklapp is a treasure hunt and one of the most popular new gift exchange activities. It asks you to travel to the house of your recipient, drop the gift, then flee quickly!

You wrap a made-up “present” (not the actual thing) in several layers of wrapping paper or various boxes. You include a tiny token or note inside with a hint or riddle. While attempting to conceal your identity, place the package on the porch, knock on their door, and flee. Make sure that everyone playing is familiar with the game’s rules in advance, so there are no surprises about what is inside the box!

The recipient is then tasked with determining who left the gift by examining the clues included in the box. If they notice you, it will be obvious. However, if they do not see you, the hint can direct them on a scavenger hunt or can just be a puzzle about you or your house. Once they have determined who you are, they can come and get their present!

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Pakkeleg is an incredible gift exchange game that originated in Denmark. During the Christmas season, everyone there plays this game.

All of the presents are piled together. Everyone takes turns rolling dice. When a 6 is rolled, the player selects a gift. Repeat until all presents have been opened. Some players can get several gifts throughout this game, leaving others empty-handed (on the first phase).

Following that, the procedure is repeated, except this time, everyone who rolls a 6 has the opportunity to take a present. Before starting the game, agree on a determined time (30 minutes to 1 hour). When the timer stops, the game is finished, and everyone is free to unwrap their gifts.

This is most effective with funny or discounted gifts found at dollar or thrift stores.


So, Christmas is near, and everyone is planning their decorations and gifts. Whichever gift exchange you select, always inform guests in advance. Nobody wants to be left out just for failing to bring a gift. Additionally, providing expenditure guidelines is critical. Otherwise, one individual can get an expensive gift while another receives a box of cereal. By establishing rules before the party and during the exchange, you can ensure that everyone leaves with a joyful memory and a pleasant gift.

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