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Dirty Santa Gift Ideas: Gifts For Under $20

Updated on November 24, 2014

A Few of the Best Funny Gifts of 2014

For many people, the annual Dirty Santa gift exchange is the highlight of the Christmas season. If you're going to one of these gatherings, you might want to check out this huge list of what I think are the best Dirty Santa gift ideas around. With gifts running the gamut from awesome to just plain funny, you're sure to find something to impress (or disgust) your coworkers, family members, friends - or whoever is invited to the party.

Most holiday gift exchanges have a price limit of around $20, so I've only included gifts that fall below that threshold. If your gift exchange has a lower limit, don't worry - this list has plenty of options that cost less than $10.

What It's All About

Rules and Background

Dirty Santa gift exchanges are known by a lot of different names - white elephant, Yankee swap, and many other terms. There are also a lot of rule variations, but the basics are the same. You bring a gift to the party, add it to a common pile, then everyone takes turns picking a gift and opening it for all to see. But the most important part - the thing that turns this gift exchange into a game - is that participants can steal gifts from others. This leads to a lot of hilarious maneuvering as people try to walk away with the best present.

Dirty Santa gifts can be funny, weird, quirky, useless, or even nice. With a low price limit, food gifts are pretty common. However, many people choose to bring a gag gift or something totally tacky. It's great if people can leave the party with something they really like, but the point is really to have a good time during the party.

What do you call this type of funny Christmas gift exchange?

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Running a Dirty Santa Exchange? - A Few Tips

If you're in charge of running the gift exchange this year, here are a few pointers you might want to consider.

  1. Set a price limit

    The typical price limit is $10-20, but it's up to you. Pick a limit that works best for the group.

  2. Plan to draw numbers to determine the order of opening presents

    The order in which people open presents is a big deal, as it has an impact on the swapping/stealing. To make sure you don't get accused of favoritism, come up with a way to randomly determine the order.

  3. For larger groups, limit the trading

    This isn't so much an issue for small groups of people, but with larger get-togethers, gift-swapping can go on for a long time if left unchecked. Whatever rules you use should include some sort of limit to keep things moving along.

  4. Combine it with an ugly sweater party

    For extra fun, consider having an ugly Christmas sweater contest in conjunction with the gift exchange. You'll have a blast with all the tacky gifts and tacky clothing on display.

Are you going to a Dirty Santa/White Elephant gift exchange this year?

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