Drawing Names for Christmas

It’s’ time to begin drawing names for Christmas gifts!

Our family began drawing names for Christmas about 10 years ago when our Christmas lists were getting way too long! 3 brothers, 1 sister, 3 sisters-in-law, 1 brother-in-law, 6 nieces and nephews…not to mention parents, in-laws, our immediate family, teachers & more!

Over the years, we’ve had all sorts of variations on drawing names for Christmas from traditional name drawing to gift exchange games. Why don’t you try one of these methods this year to stretch your Christmas budget?

  1. Traditional Name Drawing - everybody draws 1 name, a dollar limit is set & gifts are exchanged.
  2. Children Only Gift Exchange – One parent is in charge of pairing the children together, keeping in mind sex and age. For example, my 17 year old son was paired with his 19 year old girl cousin…they bought gifts for each other; my 12 year old daughter was paired with her 15 year old girl cousin…they bought gifts for each other. We set a $20 limit, and we required the children to actually do the shopping. You may also want to consider having the children spend their own money on the gift.
  3. Christmas Gift Exchange Game – Gift Stealing – This is a very entertaining way to exchange gifts IF everybody is going to be together on Christmas Day, IF everybody is over age 12, and IF you have at least 8 girls and 8 guys. See directions below.
  4. Christmas Gift Exchange Game – Left / Right Christmas Story – If you google “left right Christmas stories” you’ll discover all sorts of variations. This game will work best IF everybody is going to be together on Christmas Day, IF everybody is over age 12, and IF you have at least 8 girls and 8 guys. See directions below.
  5. One Family In Charge – If you’re stuck in a rut and are looking for some variety in your family gift exchange, why doesn’t each family take turns being “in charge” and choosing the game or name drawing method for the year.

 
Gift Stealing Game Directions:

  • Set a dollar limit for the gifts.
  • I do not recommend this game for children under 12 since they get upset when they don’t get their favorite gift!
  • I suggest dividing into 2 groups: girls & guys.
  • The girls sit in a circle and place their wrapped gift in the center.
  • The guys make a separate circle and place their wrapped gift in the center.
  • Each person in the circle draws a number, example: if their are 8 people in the circle, make 8 numbers.
  • The person that draws #1 chooses a gift from the center and opens it.
  • Next, the person that drew #2 can either “steal” the gift from #1 or open a gift from the center.
  • Continue taking turns, #3, #4 and so on.
  • Stealing gifts – when it’s your turn, you can either steal a gift that’s already been opened or choose to open a new gift. If a gift is stolen from you, you must then either steal from someone else or open a new gift before it’s the next person’s turn. You may not immediately steal a gift back! For example; I steal your gift, but you cannot steal it back right away!
  • Once a gift has been stolen 3 times, that’s it! The person that steals it the third time keeps it! Remember: 3 Steals and Sealed!
  • Continue taking turns until all the gifts have been opened.
  • Note: Our extended family took a cruise one Christmas, and we played the gift stealing game on Christmas Day with small $10 gifts…the children and grown-ups really enjoyed this game!

 
Left / Right Christmas Story Game Directions:

  • Set a dollar limit for the gifts.
  • I do not recommend this game for children under 12 since they get upset when they don’t get their favorite gift!
  • Make 2 circles…girls and guys.
  • Everyone sits in a circle holding the wrapped gift they brought.
  • Choose somebody to read the story that is not participating in the game.
  • Each time the word “left” is read…everybody passes their gift to the left.
  • Each time the word “right” is read…everybody passes their gift to the right.
  • When the story is finished, everybody opens the gift in their lap.

 
What is your favorite way to draw names for Christmas or your favorite gift exchange game?

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Photo courtesy of Free Web Photos

4 comments

  1. Kristl /

    So good to hear from you Chrystl, and I love your variations on the gift stealing game! It really is a fun, frugal and entertaining way to exchange gifts!

  2. Chrystl /

    On my husbands side of the family, the kids 12 and under pull names and everyone over 12 plays the gift stealing game.
    On my side of the family,the adults play the gift stealing game and we buy gifts for all of the grandkids (there’s not that many). Last year, we added a twist to the gift stealing game! We started using the alphabet! All the gifts had to start with the letter ‘A’! This year we are doing the letter ‘B’! it was fun and hilarious!
    Both ways are a lot of fun!

  3. We started drawing names a couple of years ago when the economy turned bad. My parents are retired and there is just no way they can keep affording to buy gifts for everyone. Everyone over 18 draws names, the only rule is set amount and everyone buys for the babies. My parents now have 3 great grandchildren so its actually alot of fun on Christmas for us :)

  4. My sisters and I (and their husbands) all draw names for Christmas. I have four sisters plus spouses, so it was getting expensive. We still get the little ones gifts though. This has worked out great for us.

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