Holiday Gift Exchange – Dirty Santa Gift Grab
Supplies: Wrapped gifts, budget limit, paper and pen
Holiday party gift exchanges take place at neighborhood, office and group parties. This is a review of the standard holiday gift exchange also known as Dirty Santa. It is easy to adapt based on party theme or participants.
Holiday Gift Exchange Prep
Have all of your guests bring a small gift that costs under $10 – $20. You’ll need to have one gift for everyone attending. (You may want to have some spares just in case.)
The gifts can be anything from gag gifts to wine to movie tickets, hot sauces, teddy bear, anything goes. As guest arrive place the gifts in one central area. Once everyone is there, put numbers (1 for each guest) on pieces of paper (1 per piece), fold and put in a hat and have the guests choose a number, this determines who goes first.
Running Your Dirty Santa Holiday Gift Exchange
1. The guest with number 1 goes first and selects a gift from the pile and they open it.
2. The person who is number 2 has a choice take Number 1’s unwrapped gift or select a wrap one from the pile. If person Number 2 takes Number 1’s unwrapped gift then person Number 1 picks from the gift pile again and unwraps it.
3. DECISION: Gift Steals per turn (Limited or Unlimited)
a. Limit the number of Gift Steal per turn to two or three. (Best when time limitations.)
Example with Two Gift Steals:
Player 5 – takes Player 3’s gift (One gift grab)
Player 3 in turn takes Player 2’s gift (Two gift grabs)
Stop: Now Player 2 must pick a new gift from the gift pile.
That ends the turn and now the Player 6 – Takes their turn.
Remember there is no gift stealing if a gift is chosen from the gift pile.
b. Allow unlimited Gift Steals by players, but you can not steal a gift that has already been stolen during that turn.
(Game takes longer but more fun and entertaining.)
Example Unlimited Gift Steals:
Player 8 takes Player 3’s Gift, 3 then takes 2’s gift, 2 takes 4’s gift, 4 takes 6’s gift, 6 takes 5’s gift.
Player 5 didn’t want player 1 or 7’s gift so they choose a unopened gift from the gift pile.
That ends the turn and now Player 9 takes their turn.
4. This continues until the person with the highest number goes and either grabs a gift from another or chooses the last gift from the pile.
More Dirty Santa Gift Exchange Rules – Clarification
– You can not steal a gift from back from the person who grabbed your gift.
So if player 5 takes 3’s gift, then 3 can NOT take 5’s gift. They must choose from 1, 2, 4 or the pile.
– Gift Stealing Limit. Some Holiday Gift Exchanges limit the number of times that a gift can be stolen to 3 or 4 times. This means that the person to steals the gift the last time gets to keep it and no one else can steal it.
Example: (3 Gift Steals)
Player 1 Picks a Gift from the pile.
Round Two: Player 2 steals Player 1’s gift (1 gift steal)
Round Four: Player 4 steals Player 2’s gift (2nd gift steal)
Round Six: Player 1 steals Player 4’s gift (3rd gift steal and now the gift stays with Player 1)
If there is a large group the easiest way to track this is to put those little Post it flags on the gifts and after each time they are stolen remove one. Then when there are no more flags the gift is theirs.
Standard Holiday Gift Grab Game Decisions / Variations to change it up a bit.
Select Budget for gift: Up to $5, $10, $20, etc…
When to unwrap? Unwrap after gift selected from the pile (standard) or unwrap once everyone has a gift.
Gift stealing – 3 times and it can no longer be taken or unlimited stealing