Are you hosting a gift exchange and want to spice it up a little? One easy way to do that is to incorporate a fun game into the mix. It will take away some of that overwhelmed feeling and get everyone in the mood for a party. Whether you’re in charge of your child’s birthday party, a family holiday get-together, or an office party – we have you covered. We provide a list of gift exchange games for large groups so you can make things a little different this year. Make everyone stand in awe of your hosting abilities by making them have an entirely good time. Try one of these great games and report back!
White Elephant Game
My favorite gift giving game is the white elephant game. This can work amazingly with a group or even a smaller party. It’s easy to use at an office, home, or almost anywhere else. Party of what makes it so fun is its versatility.
How the white elephant game works is rather simple. Everyone coming to the party brings a wrapped gift along. Those gifts are all placed in one area together. When it’s time for the actual opening, the first person chooses the gift they would most like. However, the next person can either choose a gift from the table or steal the gift from the individual before. This continues down the line until everyone ends up with a present. Those who were stolen from go back to pick up a new gift, which can’t be taken.
What makes the white elephant game unique is the aspect of taking a gift, as well as the idea behind the gifts. While you can bring anything you like, provided it is wrapped, most people bring silly, unique gifts that you may see nowhere else. It amps up the fun factor and can make a usually stuffy situation incredibly entertaining!
This is a fun one, and will work with any size group. It may take a bit longer with a crowd, but that just adds to the fun. Everyone goes to the destination of the party, bringing a wrapped gift at a certain price limit. Once everyone is there and settled, the game begins.
How this works is through the host giving directions to the guests. You might say something like “If you’ve already done all of your holiday shopping” or anything else. Those who fit that criterion stand up! The ones who are standing will swap gifts with each other. Then you go on to the next set of rules, trading between those standing each time. After someone has swapped, they no longer need to stand as they have a present of their own. The game continues until each person has had a chance to exchange their gift with someone else at the party.
Hot Potato is known as a silly children’s game, but it can be a lot of fun for adults as well! In this scenario, everyone brings a gift, as usual. Everyone will be put into a circle (or many circles, if required) and a gift is handed out to the group.
This plays as you might expect. The person with the gift passes it on when the host starts a timer. The people pass the gift around until the timer stops. The person who is holding the gift gets to keep it. They leave the circle and are finished participating. Meanwhile, the game goes on with the next gift. This goes on until everyone has a gift in hand. It’s a fun game that will cause a lot of laughs, in my experience. I would suggest it, especially for a family get-together.
We’ve all played a game of musical chairs. However, the gift giving exchange based on it is a bit different. Everyone shows up to the party with a gift, as usual. However, when reaching the party, they then place their gift on a chair somewhere in the room.
Gameplay begins with the host starting a song, something for the holiday or occasion, and everyone circles the presents as it goes on. When the song stops, which is at the host’s discretion, the present in the seat in front of the partygoers is theirs to keep. The guests can open their gift and then use the seat for the rest of the festivities!
A traditional, but fun, game rounds out the fifth spot on our list of gift exchange games for large groups. This is a name drawing game but with a bit more meat to it. How this works is that everyone participating has their name put into a hat. This occurs in the days or weeks leading up to the celebration. Once names are all collected, the host allows each person to pull a name from the hat.
It’s the responsibility of the individual who gets a name to get that person a gift. Sometimes this may be small gifts over a period of time, this is especially useful in an office situation. Other times you may just get one larger gift for the person you chose out of the hat. On the day of the actual party, each person brings a gift labeled for the person to receive it. Each participant takes their present and then after, they try to guess who bought it for them. This part can be the most fun of the whole game!
No money is required for this fun game, at least no real money! Everyone brings a gift to the party and trades it in for some Monopoly money. The amount doesn’t matter as long as everyone has the same available. Once everyone is ready, the real fun can start.
The host can act as auctioneer for the gifts. A gift is presented, and people can bid their “money” on it, if it is something they think they’d like. Whoever bids the most gets the gift in the end. You would keep going until everyone had a gift, of course. This is a fun and interactive way to get a big group excited and interested in what’s going on. Everyone loves a pretend auction.
Left or Right
This one is fun and allows some creativity on the part of the host. Before the party begins, the host needs to make up a story that contains many instances of the words ‘left’ and ‘right.' You can also find some online if you prefer, but creation can be half the fun. Once that’s done, the party gathers as normal with everyone bringing a wrapped present.
Everyone will sit with the present they brought in, and the host will explain the rules. As the host reads the story, the packages change hands to the left or right each time the host says these words. The story continues until the end. At this point, each guest has a gift in their hands. They get to keep it, and everyone can open their new and exciting parcel.
This one is an interesting one and can easily accommodate a large group of people. Everyone attending goes out and gets a gift that anyone would enjoy. They bring that present, wrapped, to the office or home where the party is going to be held. In this case, they keep these presents and are seated.
Everyone sits in a circle (or groups if there are many people) and dice are handed out. Not every person gets one; every few are handed a die, and they are then allowed to roll the die. A song of some sort, Holiday or otherwise appropriate, starts and so does the game. If the person with the die gets a 3, they get to trade the gift they brought with someone else. Whether they get a gift or not, they pass the die on to the next person and play goes around the circle. This continues until the song ends and everyone keeps the present that has landed in front of them.
Love dice games? Make sure you check out our extensive list.
The Numbers Game
Everyone shows up, and as they do, you take their gifts and mark a number on them. You will then hand them a paper with the same number on it. Ask them to write down an unusual fact about themselves. That paper goes into a hat, and the presents are all collected for later.
Once the time comes for gifting, the host will pull a piece of paper from the hat and read out the fact, but not the number. People can then guess who the fact is about. The first person to get it right gets that present and are out of the game for the rest of the time. The game continues until everyone has a shiny new gift. This one is a lot of fun, and you can get people participating pretty quickly. There’s something about fighting for a gift that gets people all riled up.
If you have a group that likes to get rowdy and have a lot of fun, this one is for you. All of the gifts are wrapped and put in a central location. You decide on an order for participants in whatever way you want. You can draw names or come up with something a bit more creative.
Once the person comes to the table, they get their gift. They open it as well. Then the fun starts. The person who received the gift has to guess who brought the gift. If they get it right, their turn ends, and you move on to the next person. However, if they get it wrong, and this will happen a lot – they have to sing a song or do something equally embarrassing. This gets everyone to lighten up some and have fun. It also really makes a party exactly that. You’re already in the mood to enjoy yourself after watching everyone and perhaps making a fool of yourself, too!
This one is especially useful for the holidays but can work at any time of year. It’s a great way to get lots of people involved and will work no matter how large the crowd. It starts as expected, with each individual showing up and bringing a nicely wrapped gift. Then they are seated with the gifts in a central area so the game can begin.
This one is fun! The host will have drawn up some trivia questions beforehand, and each will be associated with a gift. The host will show the wrapped gift and then ask the question. The players raise their hands if they know the answer. The host calls on them and whoever gets it right first gets the present associated. If it’s a holiday party, you can use holiday trivia. If it’s a birthday party, you could incorporate subjects important to the birthday person. You can go so many ways with this exchange.
Once the first person has received their gift, it moves on to the next until each person has a gift. It can get people going and excited as everyone wants to show off their smarts and get a gift to boot. This is a favorite for many, and it’s not hard to see why that is.
Gift Exchange Games
These are the best of the best when it comes to gift exchange games for large groups. You are sure to find that one works for your particular situation. Many of these are well-know, but others are less so. If you want to incorporate more creativity or want to go with something convention, both are easily possible. No matter what style you like, one of these games is bound to please you and the group coming to your party.
So get out there and be the best host there can be. With this set of ideas, you’re already well on your way to making someone’s night. Enjoy yourself and have fun. That’s the most important aspect of a gift exchange or party anyway.
Make sure you check out our best yankee swap gift ideas as well.
Featured Image via Pixabay