Christmas Gift Exchange Games for Kids

by Tiffany Silverberg
Instruct kids not to write their names on their gifts.

Instruct kids not to write their names on their gifts.

The holidays are a time of giving. From teachers to grandparents, your days are filled with shopping for gifts for loved ones. Lighten your load by limiting the number of gifts you have to buy. Instead of letting your kid buy gifts for everyone in his class or on his team, host a get together and conduct a gift exchange. Everyone will have a great time and will give and get gifts they enjoy.

Why

Unless you stumbled upon the winning lottery ticket this year, you probably find your budget overstretched at the holidays. That doesn't prohibit you from wanting to teach your child proper behavior, though. Christmas is such a great time to learn how to give. An exchange game limits the amount spent to the size of a child's own budget. He learns the value of buying gifts for friends, by confining it to a single friend or gift.

Who

Potentially, all kids can enjoy a gift exchange. However, younger kids' games should be less complicated or emotionally driven. For instance, who gets which gift should be decided by arbitrary factors, like numbers, rather than swapping based on preference. Older kids may enjoy "white elephant" or "Yankee swaps," where they can choose if they like a gift or want another from a pile.

How

When planning your party or Christmas get together, be sure to place instructions in the invitation. Ask each child to bring a gift, already wrapped. Assign a number to each gift, then let the kids draw numbers from a hat or bag. Whichever number they draw will correspond with the number they get. If you want to do a swap, you can let the kids pick any gift, based on which number they get. For instance, the child with the number 1 gets to choose a gift first. The child with number 2 gets to take that gift or choose a new gift and so on.

What

To make shopping easier on children and adults, choose a theme. You may ask everyone to bring a food item or item related to a sports team or hobby. You could even do gift cards or certificates.

How Much

Limit the amount that each person spends to $5 to $10. Make sure it is a number low enough for kids to be able to afford. A limited price also ensures that no one brings an expensive gift and no one's feelings are hurt.

About the Author

Tiffany Silverberg has written grants and copy materials for over three years. She graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in linguistics. Silverberg has conducted research regarding language development in deaf children and worked as the lead reporter at the Kingsville Record and Bishop News in Texas.

Photo Credits

  • christmas-gifts image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com