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Family Christmas Gift Exchange Games | Secret Santa | Yankee Swap Gift Ideas


In the past, families didn’t have any rules about gift buying. Everyone bought for every member of the family, and gifts were exchanged when everyone got together at Grandmom’s house over the river and through the woods during the Christmas season.

Fast forward to the present, to save money during the holiday season, it’s more frugal for people to draw a name out of a hat or get assigned a person to buy for. Or the family creates a type of “Yankee Swap” exchange instead of having family members buy for individuals in particular. And here in New England, we’re all about being frugal and saving money! So, what many families need is a fun way to exchange the gifts, whether they be for a specific person or whether they are ‘Secret Santa’ type gifts.

Secret Santa Gift Ideas

This holiday season I’ve been showcasing my handmade crochet items from my Moomettes Crochet shop at several Craft Shows.  Here’s some of my handmade boot cuffs and Legwarmers that I’ve made that are trendy fashion accessories for women and teens:


Handmade Boot Cuffs Leg Warmers

Handmade Boot Cuffs Leg Warmers by Moomettes Crochet

These Boot Socks make wonderful Yankee Swap gifts! And since they’re handmade with love, it makes them all the more special!

Christmas Gift Exchange Games

If the family members drew names, there are several fun things you can do. The gifts can be hidden and clues given as to the location of the gifts. So, if you arrive at grandma’s house with your gift for Aunt Martha, you might tuck her gift into a kitchen cabinet. Then you’d create a series of clue as to where it is. You might say, “Vanilla lurks here” or “it’s the hub of the home, but not always the home of the hub”.

The clues can be silly or very serious. They can be designed so someone will know where to find their present in just minutes, or designed so that it takes a series of clues to get someone right to their gift. If the group is small or the house particularly large, and the participants have the time you can always create a hunt where more than one tip is left and one tip leads to another, which leads to another until the gift is finally found.

Why should the kids have all the fun? Create some fun gift exchange ideas for adults. Whether the family is doing a name draw and exchanging regular gifts or not, you can have some good family fun with a white elephant gift exchange. How about a themed Yankee Swap gift exchange? If the family is into baseball, you could create that as a theme. Everyone must bring a gift related to baseball (this could be anything from sporting goods items, to wash cloths and hand towels). It could be a hand held electronic baseball game or a board game with baseball as a theme.

In that same vein, you could create a “cooking” Secret Santa exchange or a camping themed gift exchange. Again, it’s more about what will please members of the family than anything. Then create some fun games for the exchange itself. Perhaps everyone draws a number and gets to pick their gifts from the pile in the middle based on their number. Perhaps you begin the game that way, but then also people to ‘steal’ somebody else’s gift if they choose.

You can require that the gift recipient shakes a gift, studies a gift and makes a good, educated guess as to its contents before opening it. If they are right, they can “steal” someone else’s gift, but if they are wrong, they keep theirs. Add to the silliness factor by playing a card game and dictating that people can’t get their gift and open it until they win a hand in the card game (ideally something fairly quick like poker or rummy).

The idea behind any family gift exchange should be enjoying each other’s company and enjoying the Christmas spirit. As long as it’s fun and engaging, there’s no reason why the adults in the family can’t have some fun games for exchanging gifts just as the kids might.

© Moomettes Magnificents

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About Moomettes

New England blogger from Connecticut and author of the multi-generational Moomettes Magnificents where she writes about Family, Grandparents and Grandchildren, home decor, Crochet, Knitting, DIY, crafts, family travel familiarization trips (FAMs), photography, social media and reviews. You can also find her at Moomettes Crochet for Handmade Wash Cloths, Crochet Accessories as well as at Frugal New England Kitchen for food and recipes. ***Products and/or companies featured on Moomettes Magnificents may have provided product samples and/or compensation for consideration. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. See also Disclosure***

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