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Everyone wants to spend less on Christmas giving. Convince family, friends, and coworkers to have more fun while giving using these gift exchange themes!

The giving season is upon us again, and that can mean a lot of spending.  Gifts for family, friends, coworkers, teachers, and more are probably on your list.

Like most of us, you want to simplify your gift budget this Christmas.  And if you can get a whole group of people on board with the idea…all the better! 

Most people are relieved to have fewer things to buy, so it should be easy to get everyone at work or at the family gathering to buy into the idea.

If you really want to sell them on the idea, have a fun gift exchange theme in mind.  Themes make the party more fun than ever! 

It doesn’t have to be the same old ideas. 

Let’s look at some different gift exchange themes so you can find the right one for your gift swap group.

10 Gift Exchange Themes That Save Money And Make Giving Fun

These ideas for gift exchange themes will make your Christmas party more fun than ever!

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1. White Elephant

To have a traditional white elephant gift swap, you just bring in something from home.  It’s the ultimate in regifting. 

You can choose something practical, like a kitchen tool you bought but never used.  It could be something most people would enjoy, like a gift card. 

Or you can make it hilarious, like a goofy selfie that you put in a frame you had on hand.

I mean, who WOULDN’T want to wake up to this framed photo every morning??

These days, people sometimes choose to buy new things for a White Elephant exchange instead.  You can set a budget if you’d like to keep it more even. 

Check out this list of cool things under 10 dollars!  See?  You don’t have to have a super high budget.

The Rules for White Elephant

It’s your party, so set the rules however you like.

  • You can put numbers on the gifts and let people draw a corresponding number from a hat to see which gift they get.
  • Or let everyone draw a number.  Number 1 gets first choice of any gift there.
  • Do you want to let people steal gifts from someone who has already opened one?  That can be fun (with the right crowd!).  Set a limit on the number of times a gift can be stolen if time is short.

2. Food

Each person brings a gift of food.  You’ll probably want it to be non-perishable (unless you want to involve coolers).

Think of a special treat you don’t indulge in every day.

A few friends of mine got together and let our kids pick out treats to bring.  Some kids walked away with a box of Little Debbies or a gummy pizza.

We handed each child a wrapped gift and had them pass it like a hot potato until the music stopped.  Then they kept the gift in their hand.

Many of them traded with each other afterwards, which kept the fun going!

3. Favorite Things

If you’re getting together with a smaller group, bring copies of your favorite thing to everyone. 

Maybe it’s a book, a type of chocolate, or a pair of slippers you can’t live without.  If you set a price limit, no one will feel slighted.

4. Books

Speaking of books, host a book exchange.  This is a great one for young kids or adults who love to read.  Bring a gently used wrapped book.

Sit in a circle and let each person hold the gift they brought. 

Then read this poem and have everyone pass to the right or left whenever they hear those words.  In the end, you should wind up with a different gift to take home!

5. Unwrap It

This one makes giving into a fun game!  Grab a pair of dice and a few of boxes of cling wrap. 

Man holding a roll of plastic film, typically used for sealing food items.

Have each person bring a couple of candy bars, small bottles of booze, dollar store treats, fuzzy socks, or whatever small items you like. 

(It’s probably best if you ask them to bring in these things before the day of the party so you have time to prepare.)

14 Cheap Gift Ideas Guaranteed to Be Winners

Wrap one big prize with the cling wrap.  This will be the middle of the ball.  Wrap several layers before you add another gift. 

Then more layers and another item. 

Be sure to rip strips of cling wrap along the way so it’s not one long sheet that’s easy to unwrap.  Criss cross them and make it tricky to find the next end. 

Use packing tape to make it even more challenging.

In the end, you should have a huge ball of cling wrap full of gifts!  Add bits of wrapping paper, business cards, or whatever you have on hand to add some trickery.

On the day of the party, put everyone in a circle.  Hand one person the ball and the person to their left the pair of dice. 

The person with the ball gets to unwrap until the person with the dice rolls doubles.

So much fun, so little cost!

6. Secret Santa

A secret Santa exchange is fun for groups who spend a lot of time together.  Coworkers or large families would especially enjoy this.

Ask each person to put their name on a piece of paper along with three things they enjoy and three facts about themselves.  Drop them in a hat and let everyone draw a name.

Decide how long you’ll play the game.  You might decide to play for a week or two.  Your job is to become Santa for the person you drew.

Leave them small gifts and random acts of kindness along the way.  Leave a candy bar one day, sharpen their pencils another day.  On the day of the party, bring a gift and reveal your identity!

Or, simplify it and just…

7. Draw Names

You get a name with a couple of gift ideas, you shop, you hand them a gift at the party.  Done.

8. Cookies

We all love a variety of Christmas cookies, but who has the time to make that many recipes?  Instead, have everyone in your group bake their very favorite cookies. 

9 Sweet Christmas Cookie Recipes You'll Love to Make

Make enough so that everyone in the group can take 6 home.  Lay them on a table, and have everyone go around collecting 6 cookies from each tray.

It’s a nice alternative to another gift, and it makes the holiday special.

Here are more ways to enjoy a good Christmas cookie exchange party!

9. Crafting Supplies Swap

Does your group love to craft?  If you’ve got a lot of one kind of material lying around, bring it in and hold a swap. 

Let each person draw something from the table until it’s all gone.

10. Ties

Get this awesome Lego tie here!

This one is great for a fantastic group of coworkers! 

Have each person buy the craziest tie they can find.  Hold your gift exchange. 

Then schedule a couple of dates when everyone should wear their tie to work.

These gift exchange themes will make giving both cheaper and more fun.  It’s a win/win!

If you need more affordable gift ideas that work for just about anyone, give these a try.

Which theme have you used in the past?

These gift exchange games have themes that your guests will love! A great Christmas idea that makes gift giving even more fun. Perfect for families and they're unisex for work or groups.
These gift exchange games have themes that your guests will love! A great Christmas idea that makes gift giving even more fun. Perfect for families and they're unisex for coworkers or large groups of friends.