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Holiday Gift Exchange??

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      With the holiday season creeping up on us, does anyone have a unique holiday gift exchange idea.  Something unique, not too costly and fun…….

      There is a good mixture of males and females (couples), but none of us have a money tree growing in the back yard.   I’ve thought about a ‘white elephant’ gift exchange where everybody gets a ‘slightly used’ gift from a thrift store, flea market or garage sale.

      Any suggestions would be appreciated.  

      Thanks for your help


        If you are all on the net check out those free ecard sites. ÝEveryone could send each other an ecard. ÝYou could also buy 1 can of food each and donate it in a bag or bags to charity depending how many there are in your group. ÝThen I would give the bag after Christmas to a local food bank. (People tend to forget the hungry after the holidays.)

        If you want your own gift then use the same idea but instead give them a list of several types of canned food each of you eat. ÝCandy and things like toothpaste can be substituted for the canned food. Ý Ý

        In college we could only spend $1.00 so everyone bought lifesaver gift boxes and the like. ÝInstead of buying something people might not like for your white elephant exchange the above ideas could work. ÝEspecially if you don’t want to give everyone a list and have them buy something for everyone.  Have your friends draw names and use that persons list to buy something small.



          One fun thing to do is a “Crazy Gift Exchange”.  Each participant is asked to bring a wrapped unisex gift in a pre-set price range ($5 or $10, whatever limit you want to set).  

          As the guests arrive, they put their gift on a table set up for that purpose and fill out a card with their name and drop it in a box.  

          The first name is drawn from the box and that person selects a gift from among those on the table and opens it.  It must remain on the table in sight (at least for now).  The second name is called and that person can take a gift from the table OR take the gift the first person selected.  If they take the first person’s gift, the first person selects another gift from the table before the next name is drawn.  The third person drawn can take a gift from the table OR take one of the gifts the first two players have open in front of them. Each gift taken from the table has to be unwrapped before the next name is drawn. This goes on until everyone’s name has been called to select a gift. Again, any person who has their gift taken gets to take a replacement gift from the table or one of the opened gifts others have selected.  (caveat:  If your gift is taken, you cannot take it back.  You must select a gift from the table or from another person.  A particular gift may be “taken” from another person only twice.  The third person to have the item may keep it.  It can be “retired” under the table so it is no longer available to be taken by others.   At the end, the first person whose name was drawn can keep the gift they have or take a gift from someone else (since they did not have this option in the beginning as the first player) in exchange for the one they have.  Everyone leaves with a gift.

          This can be a lot of fun especially if people get into the spirit of “snatching” gifts from others.  A real competion gets going on some items that are “hot” (in high demand). Some items that have been quite “hot” at some of our parties are lottery tickets, jars of nuts, holiday decorations, wine, etc.  

          We have done this for years at the holiday parties for one of the organizations I belong to.  We decided to do something else one year and received so many complaints that we went back to the Crazy Gift Exchange.


            Great ideas.  ::)
            Here is another one:   :D
            Another suggestion is to bring/exchange your favorite recipe.  

            Again depending on the money situation, you can decide.

            I have given to couples my favorite cake recipe in large canning jars, all they had to do was add the liquid ingredients.  I attached a card with the directions on it.  You could do cookies, brownies, etc.  I also make an assortment of jams and jellies throughout the year ñ so I might include whatever my specialty of the year is (or what I know they might like).  Sometimes I get requestsÖÖ..have you made this kind (flavor) yet, etc.

            I have even received in a basket from a friend ñ her favorite soup mix in dry form and I added the liquid with the directions, crackers, mints, and a desert box of pies.

            My husband creates lots of seasonings or sauces when he grills and always gets requests ñ how does he do it, etcÖÖ.

            I think you get the idea ñ you can be creative.  J  Use what you already have or are doing that others donít do and it will be a hit and appreciated.
            Good luck. Let me know what you decide to do!


              To add to the previous idea if you are an arist paint them some pictures.  If you are great with plants give them some easy starter plants or set up a flower bed from your or others excess bulbs.  (Check out free plants under Gardening topic.)  If you like to clean, iron or do other household chores use that as your gift.  And if you are without any giftable talents (in your opinion) then have movie or card night at your house.  Provide the drinks (kool-aid works) and have them bring their own snacks.  A nice homemade card can be the gift, just include your service that you are offering as the rest of the gift in the message.  


                Just to add to the above ideas, my family is very big so our answer is to play Dirty Santa, much the same as the above games mentioned but we limit our gifts to the Dollar Store.  If there are five in a family, that family only spends $5.00. Wonderful items from candles to fishing lures and everything in between that are useful get exchanged!  One step further if items are not needed is to donate them to a charity based thrift store.


                  At our family party we are doing a gift exchange.  We are doing a family gift……… perferable with a theme.  Like putting together a basket of things for New Year’s Eve.  or  “movie night….. you could give away a movie from your own collection.  Let this open up ideas……. like game night.  letter night…. family night….  craft evening… :)  


                    I have a very large family. At first my brothers and sisters and I used to do a grab bag, but then it’s migrated into something totally different.

                    The first things is that we all started giving homemade goodie bags. One bag per family. (My Mom plus six brothers and sisters.) For instance, in the bag I give to each family member I have a loaf of zucchini bread, cookies, homemade truffles and Christmas ornaments my two year old made from pine cones. I also have small packages of marigold seeds (third generation) that were harvested from my garden.

                    The second thing is that we still do a grab bag but the gifts also have to be homemade. Some of us knit or crochet, some are carpenters — everyone has a talent. Each year the most amazing things are made!

                    I still have lots of nieces and nephews to buy for, but I try and make things when I can. For instance, I made my teenage nieces ponchos this year.

                    I hope this helps. If you must do a gift exchange, maybe you can do a baked goods, or a homemade gift exchange?


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