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It’s’ time to begin drawing names for Christmas gifts!

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Our family began drawing names for Christmas about 10 years ago when our Christmas lists were getting way too long! 3 brothers, 1 sister, 3 sisters-in-law, 1 brother-in-law, 6 nieces and nephews…not to mention parents, in-laws, our immediate family, teachers & more!

Over the years, we’ve had all sorts of variations on drawing names for Christmas from traditional name drawing to gift exchange games. Why don’t you try one of these methods this year to stretch your Christmas budget?

  1. Traditional Name Drawing - everybody draws 1 name, a dollar limit is set & gifts are exchanged.
  2. Children Only Gift Exchange – One parent is in charge of pairing the children together, keeping in mind sex and age. For example, my 17 year old son was paired with his 19 year old girl cousin…they bought gifts for each other; my 12 year old daughter was paired with her 15 year old girl cousin…they bought gifts for each other. We set a $20 limit, and we required the children to actually do the shopping. You may also want to consider having the children spend their own money on the gift.
  3. Christmas Gift Exchange Game – Gift Stealing – This is a very entertaining way to exchange gifts IF everybody is going to be together on Christmas Day, IF everybody is over age 12, and IF you have at least 8 girls and 8 guys. See directions below.
  4. Christmas Gift Exchange Game – Left / Right Christmas Story – If you google “left right Christmas stories” you’ll discover all sorts of variations. This game will work best IF everybody is going to be together on Christmas Day, IF everybody is over age 12, and IF you have at least 8 girls and 8 guys. See directions below.
  5. One Family In Charge – If you’re stuck in a rut and are looking for some variety in your family gift exchange, why doesn’t each family take turns being “in charge” and choosing the game or name drawing method for the year.

Gift Stealing Game Directions:

    1. Set a dollar limit for the gifts.
    2. I do not recommend this game for children under 12 since they get upset when they don’t get their favorite gift!
    3. I suggest dividing into 2 groups: girls & guys.
    4. The girls sit in a circle and place their wrapped gift in the center.
    5. The guys make a separate circle and place their wrapped gift in the center.
    6. Each person in the circle draws a number, example: if their are 8 people in the circle, make 8 numbers.
    7. The person that draws #1 chooses a gift from the center and opens it.
    8. Next, the person that drew #2 can either “steal” the gift from #1 or open a gift from the center.
    9. Continue taking turns, #3, #4 and so on.
    10. Stealing gifts – when it’s your turn, you can either steal a gift that’s already been opened or choose to open a new gift. If a gift is stolen from you, you must then either steal from someone else or open a new gift before it’s the next person’s turn. You may not immediately steal a gift back! For example; I steal your gift, but you cannot steal it back right away!
    11. Once a gift has been stolen 3 times, that’s it! The person that steals it the third time keeps it! Remember: 3 Steals and Sealed!
    12. Continue taking turns until all the gifts have been opened.
    13. Note: Our extended family took a cruise one Christmas, and we played the gift stealing game on Christmas Day with small $10 gifts…the children and grown-ups really enjoyed this game!

Left / Right Christmas Story Game Directions:

    1. Set a dollar limit for the gifts.
    2. I do not recommend this game for children under 12 since they get upset when they don’t get their favorite gift!
    3. Make 2 circles…girls and guys.
    4. Everyone sits in a circle holding the wrapped gift they brought.
    5. Choose somebody to read the story that is not participating in the game.
    6. Each time the word “left” is read…everybody passes their gift to the left.
    7. Each time the word “right” is read…everybody passes their gift to the right.
    8. When the story is finished, everybody opens the gift in their lap.

Please click on the title of this article, and let me know your favorite way to draw names for Christmas or your favorite gift exchange game!


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