Family Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas For Your Annual Holiday Party

From white elephant gift exchanges to secret Santa and cookie swaps, there are plenty of family Christmas gift exchange ideas that will make your relative’s seasonal gathering more fun and less stressful.

Rather than trying to purchase gifts for each family member, try out one of these family Christmas gift exchange ideas to entertain family members and simplify holiday gift giving.

Family Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas
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Family Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas: White Elephant

Whether your family is trying to save money this year or they like fun and games, a white elephant gift exchange is a great choice for your family’s annual holiday party.

Generally how white elephant gift exchanges work is participants are asked to bring in a wrapped gift — preferably something that is previously owned, funny, unusual, or impractical.

You can also ask guests to purchase an inexpensive, practical gift, if your think your guests would enjoy that more. White elephant gift exchanges work best with at least six people participating.

Gray Festive White Elephant Party Invite by
Gray Festive White Elephant Party Invite by

After all of the gifts are stacked into a pile, have someone number blank pieces of paper from 1 to however many guests will be attending your holiday party. Then pass a number out to each guest. Whichever guest ends up with number one goes first. They get to pick out a present and open it. Then, the guest with number two goes and that person can choose to either pick up a wrapped present from the pile or steal the gift the first person has already unwrapped.

If they do choose to steal and the person they stole it from has to pick up a new gift from the pile and unwrap it. After that, the person with the number three can go. Again, they can choose to either pick up an unwrapped present or steal a gift from someone who already has one. Learn more about planning a white elephant party here.

Family Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas: Secret Santa

Secret Santa is another gift exchange game that is perfect for big families because it requires only one family member to buy one gift for another family member — rather than relatives buying gifts for each and every family member.

To organize a Secret Santa gift exchange, simply write each guests’ name on a piece of paper. Cut the names out so each one appears on an individual piece of paper.

Then have each family member draw a name out of the jar. The name they draw is the person they have to purchase a gift for. Family members are supposed to keep the name they draw secret, hence the game’s title “Secret Santa.”

Family Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas
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Even after wrapping the gift, only the name of the recipient should be inscribed on the tag. Don’t label who the gift is from. Upon arriving to the holiday party, guests should stack all of the gifts in a pile.

Then when it’s time to open presents, everyone searches for and opens the gift with their name on it. Then they have to guess who the gift is from or who their “Secret Santa” is.

If they can’t guess, then eventually their Secret Santa should come forward. Before drawing names for your Secret Santa gift exchange, set a price for the gift so everyone receives something of equal value.

Family Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas: Ornament Exchange

Rather than having each family member purchase a gift for one another, consider exchanging ornaments instead. Send out ornament exchange invitations to all of your guests. On the invitations, ask guests to bring a wrapped ornament.

Have everyone attach a Christmas trivia question onto their wrapped ornaments. When it’s time to exchange ornaments, have someone read the trivia questions aloud. Whoever can answer the question attached to the ornament correctly gets the ornament. Limit one ornament per person.

Festive Ornament Exchange Holiday Party Invitation by
Festive Ornament Exchange Holiday Party Invitation by

Instead of trivia you can simply write a number onto each ornament and have each guest draw a number out of a hat. Or you can play this Left to Right Gift Exchange Game too.

This family Christmas gift exchange idea is simple, fun, and more meaningful since your relative will likely hold onto the ornament given to them for years to come. Make sure to set a price limit for the ornament so everyone receives something of equal value.

Family Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas: Cookie Swap

If your family likes to bake, consider swapping presents for cookies this year. Start by sending out cookie swap party invitations to your family members. On the invitations, ask guests to bring a large batch of their best cookies, cakes, or sweet holiday treats.

Note how many cookies they should bake. You can select the number based on how many people you’re inviting. Ask them to bring recipe cards and a large container that they can use to take cookies home with. Also request that they bring a large basket or plate to display their sweets on.

To streamline the cookie exchange, you can also ask guests to divide their cookies up into separate bags, so they can pass out a bag to each guest when it’s time to swap cookies at your party. They can even individually label each bag with each family’s name.

Family Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas
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Upon arriving to your holiday party, have guests display their cookies on the plates or in the baskets they brought on a table. Then everyone can walk around and exchange cookies with each family member.

This is not only an affordable way to celebrate the holidays with family, but it’s also a great way for older generations to share and pass on family recipes to the younger family members.

Don’t forget to have everyone bring recipe cards! You can make your own from scratch on Decorate your home with festive decor and prepare plenty of milk, hot cocoa, and eggnog for guests to drink down their holiday delicacies with.

Hopefully you found these family Christmas gift exchange ideas helpful! Make sure to check out our other posts on for more holiday inspiration! Merry Christmas!

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