- 29 Gift Exchange Games for Your Holiday Party – Gifts.com Blog
- Gift Exchange Games for Large Groups
- White Elephant Game
- Cheer Exchange
- Hot Potato
- Musical Chairs
- Secret Santa
- Gift Auction
- Left or Right
- Dice Exchange
- The Numbers Game
- Whose Gift
- Gift Exchange Games
- 36 Creative White Elephant Gift Exchange Ideas – Funny White Elephant Gifts 2019
- 10 Holiday Gift Exchange Ideas for Friends, Family, and Coworkers
- Secret Santa
- Yankee Swap
- White Elephant
- Pick a Theme
- Trivia Swap
- Musical Gifts
- Mug Exchange
- Give to Give Back
- Cookie Swap
29 Gift Exchange Games for Your Holiday Party – Gifts.com Blog
Everyone in the office or group of friends picks a name a hat (don't tell anyone who you got!) and purchases a small gift for that person. Throw in a price limit to keep things fair. If you want to make it a little easier, have everyone send out a wish list.
Instead of exchanging gifts, get them a subscription for shaving supplies, movies, makeup, or even liquor.
This works best with gag gifts or gifts with little or no use. Set a price limit and place gifts in one area. Have everyone draw a number from a bowl. The person who gets #1 gets to pick first.
Number 2 can decide if they want Number 1's gift or pick from the pile. Number 3 can either steal Number 1's or 2's gift or pick from the pile. This goes on until numbers run out.
A gift can be stolen 3 times before it becomes safe and the last person who stole gets to keep it.
Bring in a favorite book and attach a short description about why you love it. Choose names a hat to pick the order books are drawn in.
Whoever picks your charity will donate a small donation in your name.
Pick a cool mug and wrap it up! Place a number on it and have coworkers or friends select a number from a jar.
Wrap a gift of your choice in an extravagant way, hold it up and let people guess what it is. You can give several clues. The first person to guess keeps the gift.
Have everyone bring a present and place it on the floor. Write a list of holiday trivia and read it out loud. Whoever guesses each question (by raising their hand) first, gets first pick from the present pile.
Gather everyone who has a pet and do a gift exchange for your furry friends instead.
Preselect a random name from a box. Have everyone make a holiday craft or a DIY kit and place it in a small box. Example gifts include a homemade ornament or mason jar cookie mix.
Bring in your favorite cocktail wrapped up in a gift by adding a fun cup and the ingredients to make it. To keep cost low, you can use miniature liquor bottles.
Rotating Gift Exchange
Make a list of long-distance friends who want to participate in a gift exchange. Then, fill a box with some of your favorite things. Ship it to the first friend on the list. They will take your gift, refill the box with their favorite things, and send to the next person. Once the last person on the list receives a gift, they will refill the box and return to the first sender.
Have kids sit in a circle and pass around a gift until the music stops. The person holding the gift when it stops gets to keep it. Do that until all the gifts are gone.
Place a gag gift in a present pile at your family's house. Make sure that the person who gets it that year wraps it up for the next year.
Bake a batch of your favorite cookies and wrap them up nicely in a tin, box or jar. Swap throughout the night and everyone will leave home with a box full of an assortment. To make it even more fun, set up a packaging station at the party!
Have kids and adults fill out a coupon for a fun activity. It can be a movie night, a pizza party, a DIY baking treat, etc. Put them all in a box and have each person pick from it. Once the person chooses a coupon, they get to plan their fun outing!
Hot Potato Time
If you ever played as a child, you know your kids will love this game as well. Pass around a gift and set a timer. Whoever is holding the gift at the end of the timer keeps it and is no longer in the circle. Do this until all gifts are gone.
A Christmas Story
Pick your favorite Christmas story and add the words RIGHT, LEFT, ACROSS in between words. For example “Twas the night RIGHT before Christmas and all through the LEFT house”. Every time one of those words is said, you either pass your gift to the right, left or to the person across from you. After the story is done, the person gets to keep the gift they are holding.
Grab Bag Exchange
Have people bring a box or bag with individual little gifts and pick the order of who will begin first. Have the person feel each gift and make a decision that. Do not open until everyone has their gift.
Have a list of holiday jokes prepared, one for each person participating in the exchange. Separate jokes from punch lines on strips of paper. One punch line goes on each gift and one joke goes to each person. Have the person read their joke out loud, then find the punch line that goes with it — the gift with their punch line belongs to them!
Play bingo and have the first winner select a gift from the pile. The second winner gets to choose if they want to steal or take a new gift from pile.
Joy to the World
Prior to the party, have everyone select a country and a person. That person must then buy a gift that suits the country. For example, choose a popular toy, wardrobe, or food and write a short description of why that item was picked. When it's time to exchange, read your description aloud. It's fun to learn about different cultures!
Holiday Treasure Hunt
Have each person go through a maze/hunt to find their gift. Set up clues and time each person. Once they find their gift, get together in a circle and open them!
Have each person bring a gift. Instruct them not to label who it's from. Once a gift is selected, have the person guess who brought it in. If they guess, they get to keep it — but if they don't they have to pick a “dare” from a jar. This could be anything ranging from dancing to drinking. Keep giving them dares until they guess who!
Gift Basket Fun
Think of it as a care package for the recipient. This is similar to Secret Santa, but with a gift basket theme. Before the party, the host will assign you a guest to bring a basket for. Come up with a fun theme Spa Day or Movie Night, and put together a fun package of multiple small gifts.
If you are unsure what to get your co-workers, this is the perfect theme. Bring in a treat (candy, baked good, bottle of wine, meat and cheese platter) and have fun exchanging. The best part is that everyone can share the treat in the office.
Swap it Out
Make cards with sayings such as “switch with someone wearing red” or “trade with whoever you've known the longest” and hand them out after each person has selected their gift. Make sure all gifts have a set price that is appropriate for everyone participating.
Dollar Store Delights
If money is tight this year, try doing a dollar store exhchange. Pick a fun item such as a party prop, household item, or an edible treat. This works with those you don't know too well.
What's better than holiday games? Board games! Have people bring their favorite childhood game with a short description. Randomly select the order of who picks first. After everyone has opened their gifts, have fun playing with all the games.
Gift Exchange Games for Large Groups
Are you hosting a gift exchange and want to spice it up a little? One easy way to bring the gift of giving to a big group is to incorporate a fun game into the mix. It will take away some of those overwhelming feelings and get everyone in the mood for a party. Whether you’re in charge of your child’s birthday party, a family holiday get-together, or an office party games are ideal.
Therefore, we’ve made a list of great gift exchange games for large groups. Perhaps you can make things unique this year with a gift exchange for groups of friends, family, or co-workers. Make everyone stand in awe of your hosting abilities by giving them some low stress and generous fun. Try one of these great games and let us know what worked the best for your group.
White Elephant Game
My all time favorite gift giving game is white elephant. This can work amazingly with a group or even a smaller party. Firstly, it’s easy to play anywhere, whether you’re at home, in the office, or hosting a gathering at a bar or restaurant. Part of what makes white elephant fun is its versatility.
Next, the rules to the white elephant game are very simple so far as gift exchange games go. First, everyone coming to the party brings along a wrapped gift. The gift needn’t be prepared with any particular recipient in mind. Second, all the gifts are placed in one area together.
When it’s time for the actual opening, the first person chooses the gift they would most . However, the next person can either choose a gift from the table or steal the gift from the individual before. This continues down the line until everyone ends up with a present. Those who were stolen from may go back to pick up a new gift, which can’t be taken by anyone else.
What makes the white elephant game unique is the aspect of taking a gift, as well as the idea behind the gifts. You can bring anything you , provided it is wrapped.
However, most people bring silly, unique gifts that you might not see anywhere else. Unpredictability really amps up the fun factor.
Plus, white elephant can turn a usually stuffy situation into something incredibly entertaining!
Cheer Exchange is a fun gift exchange game that will work with groups of just about any size. This may take a bit longer with a crowd, but that just adds to the fun. First, everyone goes to the party bringing a wrapped gift, just White Elephant. It’s usually good to set the gifts at a certain price limit. Once everyone is there and settled, the game begins.
The host should give directions to the guests to get the game going. For example, you might say something “If you’ve already done all of your holiday shopping” or anything else. Those who fit that criterion will then stand up.
The ones who remain standing will swap gifts with each other. Then you go on to the next set of rules, trading between those who remain standing each time.
After someone has swapped, they no longer need to stand up in the next round as they have a present of their own.
The game continues until each person has had a chance to exchange their gift with someone else at the party. I’ve found that to keep this gift exchange game fun, it’s best to think up goofy criterions first. You may want to have your statements be on a raunchy never have I ever level, or even mildly embarrassing. Always think about your audience first.
Hot Potato might be known as a silly children’s game, but it can be a lot of fun for adults as well! In this scenario, everyone brings a wrapped gift as per the usual rules.
The gift needn’t be for anyone in particular, but set some group standards. Next, everyone will be put into a circle (or many circles, if required) and a gift is handed out to the group.
Only one present will be used at a time.
The game plays out as you might expect. The person with the gift passes it on beginning when the host starts a timer. The people pass the gift around until the timer stops.
The person who is holding the gift when the timer goes off gets to keep it. They leave the circle and are finished participating. Meanwhile, the game goes on with the next gift. This goes on until everyone has a gift in hand.
It’s a fun game that will cause a lot of laughs in my experience.
I would suggest it, especially for a family get-together. You can replace the timer with a clip from a song instead. The more inside jokes you work into the soundtrack, the better!
We’ve all played a game of musical chairs in school. However, the gift exchange game musical chairs is a bit different. First, everyone shows up with their individually wrapped gift as with all of the previous gift exchange games. However, when arriving at the party, they will then place their gift on a chair somewhere in the room.
Gameplay begins with the host starting a song, something for the holiday or occasion, and everyone circles the presents as it goes on. The song is stopped at the host’s discretion. Finally, the present that’s in the seat in front of the partygoers is theirs to keep. The guests can open their gift and then use the seat for the rest of the festivities!
Musical chairs make for a nice gift exchange game for large groups and parties because it’s a nice introduction. Who doesn’t want to start off a big gathering with a new toy?
Secret Santa is the ultimate classic gift exchange game. This traditional but fun game rounds out the fifth spot on our list of games. This is a name drawing game, but it contains a bit more spice. To begin with, everyone participating has their name put into a hat. This occurs in the days or weeks leading up to the celebration.
Once all names have been put in the hat, the host allows each person to pull a name from the hat. If you won’t have an opportunity to gather everyone before the party, randomly allocate names yourself.
Do you have a bunch of friends returning home from all over the place? In that case, try using this Secret Santa name generator to avoid host bias.
It’s the responsibility of the individual who receives a name to get that person a gift. Sometimes this may be small gifts over a period of time, especially useful in an office situation. Other times you may just get one larger gift for the person you chose the hat.
Make sure everyone is on the same page first to avoid crazy spending discrepancies. On the day of the actual party, each person brings a gift labeled for the person who will be receiving it.
They should bring their present and discreetly place it in a communal area. When playing, each participant unwraps their present and then tries to guess who bought it for them.
This aspect is often the best part of the whole game since it shows how well you know each other.
A few tips on giving the perfect Secret Santa gift. Personalize and tailor the gift to your match’s needs and wants or personality. Make the gift reflect them or, if you don’t know them that well, make it reflect yourself. Lastly, when in doubt, inject humor or thoughtfulness into your gift idea.
No money is required for this fun game, at least no real money! Everyone brings a gift to the party and trades it in for some Monopoly money. The amount doesn’t matter as long as everyone has the same available at the start of the game. Once everyone is ready, the real fun can start.
The host can act as the auctioneer for the selling and buying of gifts. First, a gift is presented and people can bid their “money” on it, if it’s something they think they’d .
Whoever bids the most gets the gift in the end. You keep the auction going until everyone has a gift. This is a fun and interactive way to get a big group excited and interested in what’s going on.
Who doesn’t love a pretend auction?
Left or Right
Left or right is a fun gift exchange game that allows for some creativity on the part of the host.
Before the party begins, the host needs to make up a story that contains many instances of the words ‘left’ and ‘right.
’ You can also find some online if you prefer, but creativity is usually half the fun. Once that’s done, the party gathers as normal with everyone bringing a wrapped present.
Everyone will sit with the present they brought in, and the host will explain the rules. As the host reads the story, the packages change hands to the left or right each time the host says these words. The story continues until the end. At this point, each guest has a gift in their hands. They get to keep it, and everyone can open their new and exciting parcel.
If you’re dealing with a group of people who don’t know each other well, this makes for a nice opening activity.
Dice Exchange is an interesting one and can easily accommodate a large group of people. Everyone attending goes out and gets a gift that anyone would enjoy. They bring that present, wrapped, to the office or home where the party is going to be held. In this case, they keep these presents with them until the game begins.
Everyone sits in a circle (or groups if there are many people) and dice are handed out. Not every person gets one. Every few people are handed a die, and they are then allowed to roll the die. A song of some sort, holiday or otherwise appropriate, starts and the game off.
If the person with the die gets a 3, they get to trade the gift they brought with someone else. Whether they get a gift or not, they pass the die on to the next person and play goes around the circle. This continues until the song ends and everyone keeps the present that has landed in front of them.
Love dice games? Make sure you check out our extensive list.
The Numbers Game
The numbers game is a fast paced gift exchange game to build some healthy competition into your party. Everyone shows up, and as they do, you take their gifts and mark a number on each one. You will then hand them a paper with the same number on it. Ask them to write down an unusual fact about themselves. That paper goes into a hat, and the presents are all collected for later.
Once the time comes for gifting, the host will pull a piece of paper from the hat and read out the fact, but not the number. People can then guess who the fact is about. The first person to get it right gets that present and are the game for the rest of the time.
The game continues until everyone has a shiny new gift. This one is a lot of fun, and you can get people participating pretty quickly. There’s something about fighting for a gift that gets people all riled up. It’s also a nice game to reward those who know the most about everyone else in the group.
If you have a group that s to get rowdy and have a lot of fun, this Whose Gift is the game for you. All of the gifts are wrapped and put in a central location. You decide on an order for participants in whatever way you want. You can draw names or come up with something a bit more creative.
Once the person comes to the table, they get their gift. The game actually begins with people opening up their presents. Then the fun starts.
The person who received the gift has to guess who brought the gift. If they get it right, their turn ends, and you move on to the next person.
However, if they get it wrong, and this will happen a lot – they have to sing a song or do something equally embarrassing.
If you’re looking for something additionally rowdy, check out our truth or dare list for good challenges. This gets everyone to lighten up some and have fun. It also really makes a party exactly that. You’re already in the mood to enjoy yourself after watching everyone and perhaps making a fool of yourself, too!
This one is especially useful for the holidays, but trivia can be good fun at any time of year. It’s a great way to get lots of people involved and will work no matter how large the crowd. It starts as expected, with each individual showing up and bringing a nicely wrapped gift. Then they are seated with the gifts in a central area so the game can begin.
This one is fun! The host will have drawn up some trivia questions beforehand, and each will be associated with a gift. The host will show the wrapped gift and then ask a trivia question. The players raise their hands if they know the answer.
The host calls on them and whoever gets it right first gets the present associated with that question. If it’s a holiday party, you can use holiday trivia. If it’s a birthday party, you could incorporate subjects important to the birthday person. You can go in so many different ways with this exchange.
Once the first person has received their gift, it moves on to the next until each person has a gift. It can get people going and excited as everyone wants to show off their smarts and get a gift to boot. This is a favorite for many, and it’s not hard to see why that is.
Gift Exchange Games
These are the best of the best when it comes to gift exchange games for large groups. You are sure to find the right one that works for your particular situation. Many of these are well-known, others are less so.
If you want to incorporate more creativity or want to go with something convention, both are easily possible. No matter what style you , one of these games is bound to please you and the group coming to your party.
If this still isn’t enough for you, try combining some of these together into a more multi-layered game.
So get out there and be the best host that you can be. With this set of ideas, you’re already well on your way to making someone’s night, and hopefully the whole group. Enjoy yourself and have fun. That’s the most important aspect of a gift exchange or party anyway.
Make sure you check out our best yankee swap gift ideas as well.
Featured Image via Pixabay
36 Creative White Elephant Gift Exchange Ideas – Funny White Elephant Gifts 2019
White elephant gift exchanges are all about the luck of the draw (and, well, steal). If you want to win over friends, family, and coworkers, or at the very least give everyone a good laugh at this year's holiday party, shop one of the Internet's best white elephant gifts.
(And yes, these gifts also work for a Yankee Swap or Dirty Santa.
) Since there are a few different ways you can approach this popular gift-giving game, these white elephant gift ideas include downright hilarious gag gifts, practical household finds, and office-friendly picks that'll cause an all-out stealing war.
But, really, the weirder (okay, more unique) the gift, the more fun the game will be. In that case, pull out all the stops by ordering one of these wacky and wonderful picks, which all come in under $30 (many fall between $10 and $20, just to be safe).
Still on the hunt for Secret Santa gifts, too? We've got you covered with these affordable, crowd-pleasing presents.
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Since they are what they eat, it's only fitting that they wrap themselves in a cozy throw that looks just a pizza pie. This round blanket — available in 47, 60, 71, and 80-inch diameter —is even better when paired with a hot, cheesy slice.
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Oreo Milkshake Set
Their next movie night just got a whole lot sweeter: This gift set comes with two milkshake-worthy ceramic cups and reusable straws, so they can slurp the Oreo shake in style. All they need is vanilla ice cream and milk to make their milkshake from scratch.
RELATED: The Best Gifts for Foodies
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Best Under $10
Corgi Succulent Planter
Give your coworker a new desk buddy by filling this sleepy puppy planter with real or fake greens. You can also pick a pug, schnauzer, husky, or labrador, if you're partial to a certain breed.
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Friends: The One With the Ball Game
As they toss this replica from the iconic episode, “The One with the Ball,” players will run through a series of Friends-inspired challenges “Monica, Monica, Have a Happy Hanukkah.”
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Gag Gift for Friends
Custom Face Socks
Since you don't know which lucky victim — er, recipient — will pick this gift, you're better off customizing these socks with your (beautiful) face. Just submit your best photo, choose from one of 10 sock colors, and let this Etsy shop take care of the rest.
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Funny Gift to Get a Laugh
Mistaken Lyrics Coasters
Uncommon Goods uncommongoods.com
Let the sing-a-long commence: Each of these six cork coasters are engraved with incorrect lyrics to the most popular karaoke songs “Hold me closer Tony Danza.”
RELATED: The Funniest Christmas Gifts You Can Buy
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Best Under $10
Porn for Women
Hachette Books amazon.com
Don't worry: This book contains zero nudity — just some steamy photos of men completing household chores. That's about as hot as it gets … just us? We didn't think so.
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Great Find Under $20
Pop-Up Hot Dog Toaster
It's always hot dog season, especially when you have one of these handy toasters in your kitchen. Go for double by cooking two hot dogs at once while toasting the buns until they're golden brown.
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Funny Gift Under $10
Knock Knock amazon.com
Even your trendiest coworker doesn't know all of the lingo of today's teens. Their slang will be straight fire after studying these 50 flash cards. It's vocabulary tests from elementary school, but gucci.
RELATED: Cheap Christmas Gifts Everyone Will Love
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Gag Gift for Dad
101 So Bad, They're Good Dad Jokes
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform amazon.com
As if anyone in your friend group needed more material. Packed with 101 jokes that any Dad would approve of, this Amazon best-seller will make anyone with a decent sense of humor cringe.
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Top Pick on Amazon
Just light this portable campfire and watch it glow for up to five hours. It's big enough to keep everyone on the campsite nice and toasty, but still small enough to pack away between uses.
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Funny Gift for Coworkers
Bob Ross Heat Changing Mug
The Unemployed Philosophers Guild amazon.com
They can start each day with some much-needed inspiration by their childhood hero. Once they pour hot coffee in this color-changing mug, the blank canvas transforms into one of Bob's colorful landscapes.
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Gag Gift for Friends
Ultimate Wine Bottle Glass
BigMouth Inc. amazon.com
Finally, a wine glass big enough to “fit her needs.” It holds an entire bottle of her go-to Pinot, so you should buy her a fresh bottle while you're at it.
RELATED: Gifts Perfect for Winos
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Best Under $10
Weird Flavor Lip Balm Set
If it was acceptable to munch on pickles, bacon, and pizza all day long, everyone would do it. For a more subtle approach, they can apply these all-natural lip balms and lick their lips every now and again.
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Funny Gift for Friends
'The Golden Girls' Shot Glasses
Just Funky target.com
Every office, family, and friend group has a Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia, and Rose. And even if the gift recipient doesn't fully identify with one of the show's four characters, they'll have a good time playing the drinking game outlined on the shot glasses.
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Sheet Mask Set
With nearly 4,000 rave reviews on Amazon, this pack of 16 facial sheet masks will encourage them to add more R&R into their daily routine. Perfect for your stressed-out colleague, don't ya think?
RELATED: 10 Best-Selling Face Masks on Amazon Right Now
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Top Pick on Amazon
Avocado Tree Growing Kit
Once they grow their own avocados — FYI: It takes about five months for one to sprout. — their avocado toast game will be so strong. Until then, they'll feel cool watching their favorite fruit (yes, fruit!) come to life.
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Best Under $10
Swag Brewery amazon.com
Scented with orange peel, crushed oats, and real hop, this artisan soap is a great way for a beer lover to satisfy their craving without, ya know, cracking open a cold one. It's not just for show: Amazon reviewers rave that it leaves their skin feeling, smelling, and looking good.
RELATED: Gifts for Beer Lovers
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Under $10 Find for Foodies
Microwave Pizza Tray
Food Network™ kohls.com
After sticking last night's pizza on this microwaveable tray, they can say goodbye to cold, soggy leftovers. The grated, ventilated tray restores pizza to its best state: crispy, cheesy, and seriously delicious.
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Gag Gift for Anyone
Mischievous Cat Garden Gnome Statue
By Mark & Margot amazon.com
If they take pride in their garden, then this statue will be the perfect addition. Say they live in an apartment with limited (or no) outdoor space, this little guy makes a great, easy-to-care-for pet.
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Top Pick on Amazon
Hit Products amazon.com
Keep their coffee where they want it — in the mug! — with this anti-slip coaster that attaches to the side of most sofas. They can also adjust the silicone holder to better fit soda cans, water bottles, beer bottles, and other cups.
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Funny Gift to Get a Laugh
Microwave Pasta Cooker
Fasta Pasta amazon.com
With the exception of the select few who make it from scratch, most people make spaghetti because it's quick, easy, and delicious. Make dinnertime even easier with this microwave cooker, which makes al dente pasta in 7 to sixteen minutes, depending on the spaghetti type.
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Under $10 Find for Wine Lovers
The Only Gift Worth Giving amazon.com
Make a starter kit of your own by pairing these socks with a fresh bottle of wine. That way they can put their socks to work as soon as they open 'em.
RELATED: 40+ Gifts Every Wine Lover Needs
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Gift the Whole Family Can Enjoy
Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper
Turn their weekend Netflix binges into a movie theater-level experience with this at-home popcorn popper. Just before cozying up on the couch, pour popcorn kernels into the bowl, add flavorings, and let the microwave work it's popping magic.
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Best Under $10
In My Humble Opinion Journal
Knock Knock amazon.com
Remember the diary that you locked away in your nightstand as a teen? This lined journal is basically the adult version.
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Top Pick on Amazon
The Mug With A Hoop
MAX'IS Creations amazon.com
Making playing with food cool again: The sports buff can shoot, score, and sip on their coffee, hot chocolate, or cereal milk with this basketball mug.
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Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat
Quirk Books amazon.com
She has enough cat hair scattered around the house, so she should take advantage of it. The ideas, which range from coin purses to knit mittens, take fur balls to the next level. Gross or genius? Let them decide.
RELATED: 25 Ultimate Gifts for the Cat Lover in Your Life
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Beer-infused Hot Sauce
Swag Brewery amazon.com
These aren't just any ol' hot sauces. Nope, these three bottles are infused with American Lager, Farmhouse Ale, or American Pale Ale from Swag Brewery.
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Shiitake Mushroom Log Kit
Uncommon Goods uncommongoods.com
Gardening season might be over, but that doesn't mean you have to stop growing fresh produce altogether. To grow hearty shiitake mushrooms, soak this spore-filled log and leave it in a dark, damp place.
10 Holiday Gift Exchange Ideas for Friends, Family, and Coworkers
Caiaimage/Paul BradburyGetty Images
Shopping for the perfect gift for your friends, family, and even coworkers can be a challenge, and honestly, sometimes you need a little inspiration to get you through your shopping list or make exchanging gifts easier and more fun.
These festive gift exchange ideas can work for just about any group of people, and they ensure that everyone gets a thoughtful (or, at the very least, memorable) gift. But most important, they make sure everyone has fun in the process.
You really can't go wrong with the classic—and it works in just about any setting, too (the office, friends, family, classrooms, etc.
) If you've never done a Secret Santa or Secret Snowflake gift exchange before, it's pretty simple concept: You set a price limit that works for your group, and then each participant draws a recipient's name from a hat without sharing who they got.
The name they chose is who they have to buy a gift for. Then, gifters can either reveal their identities as they pass out gifts, or you can have everyone guess who their Secret Santa was.
Rather than draw names and shop for specific people, in a Yankee Swap, each person buys one nice, quality gift (that stays at or below the chosen price point) and wraps it, keeping their gift a secret.
Come exchange day, everyone draws a number, and each number represents the order in which people get to choose their gifts. The first person will open their chosen gift before the second person chooses, and so on.
Recipients can choose to steal one of the open gifts from someone who went before them (those who already opened one would get to open a new one, in this case), or open a new one.
Another classic, in a White Elephant gift exchange, participants follow the same rules as a Yankee Swap, but with one major twist: The gifts are weird.
More for a crowd with a sense of humor, the gifts you choose for a White Elephant swap can be just about anything (again, under a set price limit) from things you already own and no longer want to the strangest things you can find at the store—something another person might actually want or be able to use, but weird and unique nonetheless.
Pick a Theme
You can buy gifts for everyone or follow the general rules of a Secret Santa or Yankee Swap if you'd —it really just depends on who you're exchanging gifts with.
The structure is up to you, but the concept is what matters—everyone buys gifts that fit a certain theme.
Try to pick a theme that everyone can get behind, or you can even have everyone submit a theme on a piece of paper and have someone draw one a hat.
Another competitive option? Host a trivia night with gifts as prizes. Set a price cap, have everyone buy a gift and wrap it, and then get ready for a rousing game of trivia.
The person with the most correct answers gets to choose first, the second place winner second, and so on and so forth until everyone has received a gift.
If you want, you can also add the option to steal gifts in a Yankee Swap, but it might get a little too competitive.
Think of this one as musical chairs but for gifts. Have everyone buy a gift under the price limit and wrap it, but from there, you can do this a few different ways.
Place wrapped gifts under chairs and have everyone swap chairs until the music stops—then, the present under the chair you're sitting in is the one you get to keep.
Or, you could avoid swapping chairs and just pass gifts in a circle until the music stops, and whatever gift ends up in your hands at that point is yours.
A great option for coworkers, have everyone buy a new mug and fill it with small treats and goodies (again, up to a certain price limit.
) You can follow the Secret Santa model with each person making up a mug for a specific person in secret, go for a Yankee swap, or even use these in an auction, trivia, or musical gifts swap—how you want to exchange them is up to you, but this way all of the gifts are pretty equal.
Give to Give Back
Another thoughtful option that works just as well for coworkers as it does for friends: a charity swap. Rather than buying and wrapping gifts, everyone can draw names and then donate a set amount of money to a charity of their recipient's choice, helping everyone to give back to an organization that means something to them.
Another option that's not quite as gift-centric, a cookie swap is a great idea, especially in an office setting.
Rather than buying gifts, have everyone bake (or buy) and bring in their favorite cookie recipe (keeping any allergies in consideration, of course), then put them all out in a spread.
Have everyone bring their own container to take some of each batch home for the holidays.
Looking for more gift inspiration? Check out House Beautiful's holiday gift guides for men, women, teens, teachers, and more.
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