If you are planning a Christmas gift exchange party this year and want to mix it up a little bit or you aren’t really sure where to even start planning the event, I’m here to help you.
You don’t have to have a plain, old boring exchange party this holiday but instead make things a little more interesting with one of these fun Christmas gift exchange themes.
Choosing a theme for your gift exchange doesn’t have to be hard as you can make it as narrow or broad as you want. Some people may be good with a really broad theme and let people have more freedom with their gifts while other people may want more of a specific theme to really play up the idea.
The first part though, is picking the theme for your Christmas gift exchange.
Christmas Gift Exchange Theme Ideas
The following Christmas gift themes would work great for most exchanges from family parties and friends to even a work Christmas exchange.
White Elephant –
A white elephant Christmas gift exchange is probably the most popular type of them to have for a gift exchange. Most white elephant gift exchanges are made to be silly or unique gifts and then you get to blindly give your gifts to whoever is at the exchange party.
Everyone brings a wrapped Christmas gift and then you draw numbers from a hat to see who gets to choose from the gifts first. The first person chooses what gift they want and then unwraps and shows everyone what they got. Then the second person chooses and unwraps as well.
The twist to this type of gift exchange is that someone can actually “steal” a gift that has been already chosen and unwrapped by a previous person. If a person’s gift gets stolen then he gets to choose another unwrapped gift.
This is played out until the last person has unwrapped their gift. People enjoy this type of gift exchange when it is close friends or family and you can be silly with each other.
If you plan on having a white elephant gift exchange make sure you choose if you want the gifts to be gag or silly gifts or only have a few chosen silly gifts mixed in with nice ones.
Gamers Theme –
For this type of theme you would buy any type of gift that relates to games from video games to board games and card games.
You can choose to pick names before you buy the gifts or get more general gifts and pick names at the exchange.
Some gift ideas could include popular board games, a nice deck of cards, any video games, as well as even things like outdoor yard games.
Around the World Theme –
There are a few different ways to do this type of gift exchange. The first way would be to assign each person in the gift exchange a certain country that they have to buy a gift from or that relates to that country.
The second way that you could do this type of exchange would be to simply let the individual person choose what country they want to represent or get a gift from and then do a blind gift exchange and just the name of the country is written on the outside of the wrapping. Then you draw names to see who gets to choose which country gift first.
Book Exchange –
Everyone at the exchange brings a wrapped copy of their favorite book to share with others. An extra special touch that could be done with close friends and family is to write a short note inside the book explaining why it is your favorite.
The book could be a recent book or even an older book. It can even be your favorite book from when you were a child.
To decide who gets the books you can draw names out of a hat and each person can choose from a wrapped book.
A Night At the Movies Theme –
This is sort of like the book exchange but you can include more than the actual movies for gifts.
You can of course buy your favorite movie on DVD for the gift exchange or you can also buy gift cards to the movie theater, a “movie night” basket or bucket with your favorite candy and popcorn, or if you know who you are buying for ahead of time you can buy the person a movie you know they haven’t seen but would love.
Winter Wonderland –
Play off the winter wonderland theme and buy gifts that all relate to the cold weather outside. You can get really creative with these gifts as you can make them more serious or a bit silly.
Some gift ideas may include a hat with your hometown football team logo, a pair of nice winter tech gloves, a snow scraper for a car, a fun scarf, or even a gift card to a local ski slope.
Christmas Ornament Exchange –
If you want to really get into the holiday themed spirit this year, try out a Christmas ornament exchange.
With this gift swap everyone brings a nice Christmas ornament that they either make or buy. The ornament can a reflection about the year or if you are doing a blind exchange choose something that is special or in your type of style to give to someone.
ABC Theme –
If you want to give people more free range with their gift ideas but still go with a creative theme then go with an ABC theme.
You give everyone a letter of the alphabet starting with the letter A and then they must buy a gift that starts with that letter. When it comes time to exchange the gifts, pick numbers out the hat and then #1 would get the “A” gift and #2 would get the “B” gift and so on. If someone happens to pick their own gift you can have them trade with a willing person.
Christmas Gift Exchange Themes for the Office
When it comes to a gift exchange theme for the office some of the above ideas may be too personal especially for bigger offices or in a work environment where people aren’t that close to each other.
That doesn’t mean that you still can’t have a good theme for your work gift exchange but you may have to make the choices a little broader for people.
Baked Goods Exchange –
This may be able to save some money on your gift exchange and still let your coworkers be able to give nice gifts. Each person can make a baked good or buy their favorite one from a store to give to another coworker.
You could also expand this to a candy exchange if you want as well.
Or another variation would be to include the recipe for your favorite baked good and then buy all the ingredients for it and give that as a gift they can make for something a little different than just giving food.
Coffee Mug Exchange –
If you work in an office were just about everyone drinks coffee or tea then choose a coffee mug exchange.
People can choose any type of mug from a normal mug to a to-go travel mug. People can get creative with the mugs and really find some cool mugs to pass around.
You can draw names beforehand to get more personalized gifts or make it a blind draw to see who gets to choose the gift first.
You can also choose from the gift exchange themes above and cut back on the gift amount or make it easier for people to buy a gift.
For example, you could easily do the Christmas ornament gift exchange or even the book exchange with your coworkers. For the book exchange you could make it more specific to work such as your favorite motivational book or business book.
Tips for Planning Your Christmas Gift Exchange
No matter what Christmas gift exchange theme you decide to go with this holiday you should definitely make sure that some sort of price limit is set that is acceptable to people participating in the gift exchange.
You don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable the day of the exchange because they couldn’t afford to buy a gift as nice as other people or they didn’t spend as much as other people because there was no limit.
The price limit you set for your gift exchange all depends on who you are exchanging gifts with and what may be acceptable to them. For example, some families like to keep it simple and set a limit of $15 while other families may choose to spend more since they are only buying one gift instead of multiple gifts for the whole family.
When it comes to an office gift exchange you definitely want to keep the amount on the lower side as to not put anyone out or prevent someone from being able to participate. You could easily set it at $10 and still get really nice gifts.
Also, make sure you decide what type of gift exchange you want to do before start sending out invites about the exchange. Are you going to do more of a Secret Santa where the person knows who they are buying for or is it going to be more of a swap were people will pick numbers for the gifts at the party.
This gives people a better idea of what gifts to buy and if they should buy something really specific or something more general that a majority of people would love to receive.
Lastly, make sure you set the tone of the gift exchange. If you want to have a silly and fun exchange make sure you tell people that instead of someone’s feelings getting hurt because they get the gag gift and they bought a really nice gift for their person.
Throwing a Christmas gift exchange should be fun and there shouldn’t be too much pressure on choosing the perfect theme. Instead, remember to have fun and get creative while really remembering that Christmas is about spending time with your family friends and not necessarily all about the gifts.