Are you hosting a gift exchange and want to spice it up a little? One easy way to bring the gift of giving to a big group is to incorporate a fun game into the mix. It will take away some of those overwhelming feelings 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 games are ideal.
Therefore, we’ve made a list of great gift exchange games for large groups. Perhaps you can make things unique this year with a gift exchange for groups of friends, family, or co-workers. Make everyone stand in awe of your hosting abilities by giving them some low stress and generous fun. Try one of these great games and let us know what worked the best for your group.
White Elephant Game
My all time favorite gift giving game is white elephant. This can work amazingly with a group or even a smaller party. Firstly, it’s easy to play anywhere, whether you’re at home, in the office, or hosting a gathering at a bar or restaurant. Part of what makes white elephant fun is its versatility.
Next, the rules to the white elephant game are very simple so far as gift exchange games go. First, everyone coming to the party brings along a wrapped gift. The gift needn’t be prepared with any particular recipient in mind. Second, all the gifts are 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 may go back to pick up a new gift, which can’t be taken by anyone else.
What makes the white elephant game unique is the aspect of taking a gift, as well as the idea behind the gifts. You can bring anything you like, provided it is wrapped. However, most people bring silly, unique gifts that you might not see anywhere else. Unpredictability really amps up the fun factor. Plus, white elephant can turn a usually stuffy situation into something incredibly entertaining!
Cheer Exchange is a fun gift exchange game that will work with groups of just about any size. This may take a bit longer with a crowd, but that just adds to the fun. First, everyone goes to the party bringing a wrapped gift, just like White Elephant. It’s usually good to set the gifts at a certain price limit. Once everyone is there and settled, the game begins.
The host should give directions to the guests to get the game going. For example, you might say something like “If you’ve already done all of your holiday shopping” or anything else. Those who fit that criterion will then stand up. The ones who remain standing will swap gifts with each other. Then you go on to the next set of rules, trading between those who remain standing each time. After someone has swapped, they no longer need to stand up in the next round 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. I’ve found that to keep this gift exchange game fun, it’s best to think up goofy criterions first. You may want to have your statements be on a raunchy never have I ever level, or even mildly embarrassing. Always think about your audience first.
Hot Potato might be 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 wrapped gift as per the usual rules. The gift needn’t be for anyone in particular, but set some group standards. Next, everyone will be put into a circle (or many circles, if required) and a gift is handed out to the group. Only one present will be used at a time.
The game plays out as you might expect. The person with the gift passes it on beginning when the host starts a timer. The people pass the gift around until the timer stops. The person who is holding the gift when the timer goes off 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. You can replace the timer with a clip from a song instead. The more inside jokes you work into the soundtrack, the better!
We’ve all played a game of musical chairs in school. However, the gift exchange game based on musical chairs is a bit different. First, everyone shows up with their individually wrapped gift as with all of the previous gift exchange games. However, when arriving at the party, they will 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. The song is stopped at the host’s discretion. Finally, the present that’s 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!
Musical chairs make for a nice gift exchange game for large groups and parties because it’s a nice introduction. Who doesn’t want to start off a big gathering with a new toy?
Secret Santa is the ultimate classic gift exchange game. This traditional but fun game rounds out the fifth spot on our list of games. This is a name drawing game, but it contains a bit more spice. To begin with, everyone participating has their name put into a hat. This occurs in the days or weeks leading up to the celebration. Once all names have been put in the hat, the host allows each person to pull a name from the hat. If you won’t have an opportunity to gather everyone before the party, randomly allocate names yourself. Do you have a bunch of friends returning home from all over the place? In that case, try using this Secret Santa name generator to avoid host bias.
It’s the responsibility of the individual who receives a name to get that person a gift. Sometimes this may be small gifts over a period of time, especially useful in an office situation. Other times you may just get one larger gift for the person you chose out of the hat.
Make sure everyone is on the same page first to avoid crazy spending discrepancies. On the day of the actual party, each person brings a gift labeled for the person who will be receiving it. They should bring their present and discreetly place it in a communal area. When playing, each participant unwraps their present and then tries to guess who bought it for them. This aspect is often the best part of the whole game since it shows how well you know each other.
A few tips on giving the perfect Secret Santa gift. Personalize and tailor the gift to your match’s needs and wants or personality. Make the gift reflect them or, if you don’t know them that well, make it reflect yourself. Lastly, when in doubt, inject humor or thoughtfulness into your gift idea.
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 at the start of the game. Once everyone is ready, the real fun can start.
The host can act as the auctioneer for the selling and buying of gifts. First, a gift is presented and people can bid their “money” on it, if it’s something they think they’d like. Whoever bids the most gets the gift in the end. You keep the auction going until everyone has a gift. This is a fun and interactive way to get a big group excited and interested in what’s going on. Who doesn’t love a pretend auction?
Left or Right
Left or right is a fun gift exchange game that allows for 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 creativity is usually 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.
If you’re dealing with a group of people who don’t know each other well, this makes for a nice opening activity.
Dice Exchange 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 with them until the game begins.
Everyone sits in a circle (or groups if there are many people) and dice are handed out. Not every person gets one. Every few people are handed a die, and they are then allowed to roll the die. A song of some sort, holiday or otherwise appropriate, starts and the game off.
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
The numbers game is a fast paced gift exchange game to build some healthy competition into your party. Everyone shows up, and as they do, you take their gifts and mark a number on each one. 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. It’s also a nice game to reward those who know the most about everyone else in the group.
If you have a group that likes to get rowdy and have a lot of fun, this Whose Gift is the game 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. The game actually begins with people opening up their presents. 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.
If you’re looking for something additionally rowdy, check out our truth or dare list for good challenges. 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 trivia can be good fun 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 a trivia 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 with that question. 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 in so many different 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 the right one that works for your particular situation. Many of these are well-known, 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. If this still isn’t enough for you, try combining some of these together into a more multi-layered game.
So get out there and be the best host that you can be. With this set of ideas, you’re already well on your way to making someone’s night, and hopefully the whole group. 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