Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Gift Exchange


The weekend before Thanksgiving, we gathered with Mr. Handsome's extended family to ring in the holiday season. With everyone scattered in different directions this year, we knew we wouldn't be able to get together for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone.

Lunchtime was our Thanksgiving celebration. We ate homemade soup and bread bowls, played board games, and chatted at Mr. Handsome's aunt's house (the one whose wedding dress I wore).

At 4:00, we headed over to a nearby church building to play air hockey, ping pong, foosball, and more board games (including Wits and Wagers, a new one recommended by one of my readers). Then we ordered pizza for dinner and did our Christmas gift exchange. (I know pizza isn't super Christmasy, but we have some picky eaters in our bunch, and it's hard to find foods that please everyone. We also wanted to minimize prep and cleanup time so we could spend more time together as a family.)

The aunts still buy presents for the few remaining kiddos, but the adults try to find a unique way to exchange gifts. For as long as I have been coming to family gatherings (four years), we have drawn names, which isn't super unique. This year, someone came up with the brilliant idea of doing a gift card exchange.

Everyone purchased a $20 gift card to a random store, webstore, or restaurant and came up with a clever way to wrap it. The goal was to provide a hint at what the gift card might be and then have everyone guess.

The actual exchange proceeded like a regular white elephant or dirty Santa gift exchange. (We drew numbers, and everyone either chose a gift card from the pile or stole one that had already been opened.) Mr. Handsome's grandparents gave prizes to those who brought what they considered to be the most clever gift cards. It was a blast.

How does your family do gift exchanges?

30 comments:

  1. Anonymous12/06/2016

    We haven't exchanged family gifts in years. Makes it really simple. I only give gifts to a few friends and neighbors. I'd rather spend the money on charities I support all year long.

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  2. Anonymous12/06/2016

    What's up with the fly pictures? Did someone give a gift certificate for extermination services??!

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    Replies
    1. Those were done by Mr. Handsome's cousins. They are for Shutterfly. Lol. I got one of them and am looking forward to making a photo book!

      Ellie

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  3. Shela G12/06/2016

    With my husband's extended family We have done the gift exchange several ways. We have drawn names. Had the guys bring guy gifts and the girls bring a girl gift and then everyone picks one. We have done white elephant. This year the extended family decided no gift exchange. We will be getting together for Lunch on Christmas Eve.

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    1. Hi Shela,

      Sounds like you have some good variety by changing it up each year. Enjoy your Christmas Eve lunch. That will be lovely!

      Ellie

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  4. We have always picked names with our whole family. Now with some of us married with children, we're all included and it keeps it really simple. A few years ago we started a tradition of targeting one person with gag gifts (usually a spin off of what they ask for, and we've had people ask for things they know will bring the gags on!), and it brings so much good fun and laughter. It's definitely something we all look forward too!

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    Replies
    1. I love the gag gift idea, Betsy! That would definitely be a lot of fun. For my father-in-law's birthday this year, we gave him a university of Tennessee shirt. (he lives in a different state and likes a different team.) he made a big fuss about it and rolled his eyes, but then he went and put it on!

      Ellie

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  5. This idea sounds like so much fun. Gives me the idea for future gifts

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  6. Anonymous12/07/2016

    Sounds like fun, but I would not like somebody taking my gift card if I really liked it. I buy a small gift for 3 siblings and a friend. Than I buy for my husband, 2 married children & spouses, 3 grandchildren & my mother who is my best friend. We all live close so it's easy to exchange. Merry Christmas

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    1. That's a pretty long list. Merry Christmas to you too!

      Ellie

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  7. Anonymous12/07/2016

    I don't like the idea of people being able to take/steal a gift from another person. That can create bad feelings, even in the nicest of families.

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    1. I was thinking that, but when we actually did it, the people who had their gifts stolen and then were able to either steal a gift or pick a new one often got the better gifts. You can play the game without stealing too.

      Ellie

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  8. Anonymous12/07/2016

    I would find it not fair to choose to give a gift to a friend over a family member! I give gifts to my parents,grandfather,my brother and his 4 kids,my son,his two children. Then I bake things for friends instead of purchasing for friends.

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  9. Anonymous12/07/2016

    We don't give Gift exchange. I don't have family near by.

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    1. That's what Christmas was like for me growing up. Our family was very far away, so we never got together. Sometimes we sent small gift through the mail.

      Ellie

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  10. Anonymous12/07/2016

    Last year you posted about the shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. I did the shoe boxes this year-I did 6, one for each age group and boy and girl. A co-worker helped contribute. So much satisfying than gift exchange with Adults who already have so much and do not need anything. I plan on making Operation Christmas Child my new Christmas tradition. Thank you for sharing, I did not know about it until your post last year.

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    1. Anonymous12/08/2016

      That's cool! I really want to do Operation Christmas Child sometime. I agree its so much nicer to give to people who need than to give to people who have a bunch of stuff already. Not that its not nice to show a gesture of love to a loved one.

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    2. I'm so glad to hear that! Six boxes is a big undertaking. God bless you!

      Ellie

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  11. Anonymous12/07/2016

    We draw names with $50 limit. Everyone makes a list of what they would like to receive. Has worked out very well for our family. No junk or useless gifts to go to the Salvation Army.

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    1. Making a list is a very good idea. Merry Christmas!

      Ellie

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  12. Anonymous12/07/2016

    Part of mine are out of state but the postal service will mail gifts for you! They don't have to be close by.

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  13. Anonymous12/08/2016

    Many of the gifts I buy are from TEAR Australia's Useful Gift catalogue: https://www.usefulgifts.org

    My Bible study does Christmas in July (so that it's not stressful with planning and end of year uni exams/assignments). We do a gift swap with the option to pick from unwrapped or steal when it's your turn. We've swapped CDs, DVDs and books so far. It's great because you don't have to spend any money (you can bring something from home) and that often makes it hilarious! We've had old text books, learning to lip read computer programs, and Richard Branson's biography, just to name a few of the odd things!

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    1. That's a neat website. Such a wonderful way to do Christmas gifts. I like the idea of exchanging CDs, DVDs, and books. We might have to try that next year.

      Ellie

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  14. Anonymous12/08/2016

    I got the jist but could not really understand it well.

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    1. I'll try to explain it better. :) everyone sat in a circle and put their gift in the middle. Then each person took a turn. On your turn, you could either take a gift from the middle and unwrap it or steal an already unwrapped gift from someone else. If you stole a gift, the person you stole from would either steal or pick a gift and unwrap it. Each gift had a maximum of three "steals."

      Does that help clarify?
      Ellie

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  15. Anonymous12/08/2016

    You married into the right family of you are smart enough to enjoy playing all those games.

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  16. Anonymous12/08/2016

    Thanksgiving was just bread bowls of homade soup?

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    Replies
    1. That gathering was the weekend before Thanksgiving. On real Thanksgiving, we had a big feast with both our immediate families and a few extended family members.

      Ellie

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