How To Reduce Expenses With Fun Gift Exchanges

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Christmas Gift game to Save money

If money is tight and you are looking for a way to reduce expenses but still have fun, these two gift games are for you. You’ll learn more about others while playing the game. There is the White Elephant Exchange and the Christmas Gift Exchange. Instead of buying gifts for a long list of people, these games can limit the gifts given, but still be fun and memorable.

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These gift ideas below entail each person bringing one wrapped gift. If there are some that don’t want to play, it is fun to watch too. If you are hosting the gathering, a suggestion is to have a few extra gifts in case someone just forgot to bring it.

Decide on a price range so that everyone will know what to expect and how much to spend. There is no right or wrong number, but a good price range includes $15-$20.

The decision could be made to not buy anything, but instead bring something that you don’t want any more from your house. (You know when multiple families have a garage sale together, they end up buying things from each other as they are setting up.) Why not bring something you don’t want? I’ve seen this done once and it was hilarious and fun!

White Elephant Exchange

Supplies needed:
gifts – wrapped
paper and pencil


As guests arrive, have them place all the gifts in a designated area. Write down a number for each of the gifts on paper and put them in a cup. If there are 5 gifts, there should be a paper with 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Everyone that brings a wrapped gift pulls a number and they take turns in the order of the numbers.

There are different ways to play, so be sure the rules are set before you start.

One way we play is that the person can unwrap a gift and if they want to keep it, they can.  Or they can exchange that gift with someone else’s unwrapped gift.


Others play the game where you can take someone else’s  gift that has already been unwrapped and then that person has to get another gift or choose a wrapped gift from the pile.

Establish how many times a gift can be taken from someone. There is no right or wrong number, but a general number used is 3. There are generally 1 or 2 gifts that are hot items and it travels from person to person throughout the game.

Everyone draws a number to decide the order they go. Establish the rules as to if the largest or lowest number gets to go last.

Number 1 will go first, but if the lowest number gets to go last too, then number 1 is the best number to have. They go first to get the game started, but they have to pick a wrapped gift as no one else has unwrapped anything yet, but they also get to choose at the end of the game if they want to trade their gift with someone else.


If the highest number goes last, then they get the best number as they have access to choose whatever gift they want as long as it has not exceeded the number of times for that gift to travel from person to person.

If the group has different ages playing, have a variety of gifts available. You may want to have the kids’ gifts grouped in a certain area. When we play this, we generally trade after the game with the kids for them to get what they want.

Some of the suggestions for gifts include coffee cups, blankets, gift cards, games like Jenga, etc.

Let the games begin!

Christmas Gift Exchange

Supplies needed:
gifts – wrapped
paper and pencil
list of tasks

Below are the list of tasks to follow on how to pass the gifts around. It creates discussion about who has a real tree versus an artificial one, who has an elf on the shelf and many other topics.

The list of tasks can be printed out by clicking here. They are decorated with Christmas items.

Swap gifts with someone wearing red.

If you are left-handed, everyone passes their gift twice to the left.

Trade gifts with the person whose birthday is closest to you.

Trade gifts with the oldest person in the group.

Swap gifts with the youngest person in the group.

If you are wear glasses, everyone pass their gift to the right two times. If you don’t, trade with someone who does.

Trade presents with the third person to your right.

Swap presents with anyone who watched Charlie Brown this year or likes to watch Charlie Brown.

Trade presents with someone who has a real Christmas tree this year.

If you took your picture with Santa this year, everyone passes their gift once to the right. If you have not, everyone passes gifts three times to the left.

Trade presents with someone who has an Elf on the Shelf. If no one has one, everyone passes their gift twice to the right.

If you are wearing a Christmas shirt, everyone passes their gifts to the right twice. If not, pass twice to the left.

If you like eggnog, everyone passes their gift to the right four times. If you don’t, everyone pass their gift to the right once.

If you are wearing blue, everyone passes their gifts six times to the left. If you are not, everyone passes it twice to the right.

Name as many reindeer as you can. Everyone passes their gift to the right the # known.

Name as many items as you know for the 12 Days of Christmas. Everyone passes their gift to the left that many times for the correct # of answers.

If your house is decorated outside, everyone passes the gifts twice to the right. If not, everyone passes to the left five times.

Everyone should exchange gifts with someone across from them.

Feel free to make your own tasks too.


As guest arrive they can put their gifts in a designated place. Everyone should start with a wrapped gift. Each person will get to pull a task from the cup.

Decide where you will start the game and then go to the left. The game ends when everyone has read and followed the task.

Whatever gift they are left holding at the end of the game, is their gift to open.

Unique items like this reindeer face holiday mug with red nose and antlers are cute. Other items can be a gift card for coffee or a store, puzzles, etc.

Try something different this year when everyone is gathered for the Christmas holidays. To help reduce expenses, try the White Elephant Exchange or the Christmas Gift Exchange. All of these are fun additions to your holiday gatherings.

Save money on gifts



Are you looking to reduce your gift list this year? Try some of these gift exchanges for family and friends. They are great budget saving ideas and fun!