2017-12-06 / Community View

Christmas Gift Exchange

A White Elephant Gift Exchange is a popular Christmas event where people vie to walk away with the best present. It also goes by Yankee Swap, Dirty Santa, and a plethora of other names. The White Elephant game is played by a lot of different rule sets. Here are the basic rules:

Each player brings one wrapped gift to contribute to a common pool.

Players draw names to determine what order they will go in.

Players sit in a circle or line where they can see the gift pile.

The first player selects a gift from the pool and opens it.

The following players can choose to either pick an unwrapped gift from the pool or steal a previous player’s gift. Anyone who gets their gift stolen in this way can do the same – choose a new gift or steal from someone else.

To keep things moving along, there are a couple of limits on gift swapping:

A present can only be stolen once per turn, which means players who have a gift stolen from them have to wait to get it back. After three swaps, the turn automatically comes to an end.

After all players have had a turn, the first player gets a chance to swap the gift he or she is holding for any other opened gift. Anyone who’s gift is stolen may steal from someone else (as long as that person hasn’t been stolen from yet). When someone declines to steal a gift, the game comes to an end.

Note that for this last “extra” turn, the three-swap rule doesn’t apply. Players can keep swapping until someone decides to stand pat, or there are no other eligible people to steal from.

Secret Santa is a Christmas tradition.

Members of a group of friends, family, or coworkers draw random names to become someone’s Secret Santa. The Secret Santa is given a wish list of gift ideas to choose from to give to their chosen giftee. After opening their present, the giftee has to guess which member of the group was their Secret Santa.

Traditional Secret Santa rules, in essence, are pretty simple: no one knows who is getting whom a gift. But organizing a gift exchange with your friends, family, or coworkers can be a bit more complicated. Here are the steps for hosting a traditional Secret Santa game in-person:

Write down each name on

a piece of paper. Gather all the participants up and have them scribble their names on a piece of paper.

Have everyone write down a gift suggestion or two.

Draw names to randomly assign a Secret Santa to each player.

Plan a gift exchange party.

Guess who drew your name.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2017-12-06 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.