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Holiday Party Gift Exchange Ideas

Updated on December 13, 2015
Photos are my own unless otherwise credited.
Photos are my own unless otherwise credited. | Source

Office, Business, and Club Gift Exchanges Abound During the Holiday Season.

A popular holiday party theme is a gift exchange. Sometimes names are drawn for this event but many times it runs along a Secret Santa theme where participants purchase items which are neutral friendly for whomever may receive it.

Christmas time is a great time to have this type of party and these annual events tend to spring up at work, church, local clubs, and also with community groups that you may be a part of.

It is usually a lot of fun to participate in these seasonal party events. You may even be asked to host one or to become involved in its planning.

Wrap it up and no one knows what is in there till it is opened.

Christmas presents all wrapped and ready to be gifted.
Christmas presents all wrapped and ready to be gifted.
Couple dancing at a local event.
Couple dancing at a local event.

Pick a party theme and have your exchange match your theme.

The theme of a party will generally be dependent on the venue or reason for the event. An office party can cover a range of different themes depending on that work place environment.

Pick a theme for your Christmas party that will match the people attending it. If most of the attendees are business associates uniting to celebrate the holiday season then you may want to have your exchange consist of traditional Christmas gift items.

If your participants have a pretty good sense of humor or are the type of people who like crazy goofy things then consider a bit more versatile theme. There are a ton of whacky funny Christmas gifts out there and many ways that they can be exchanged.

Maybe your participants will be book lovers, animal lovers, construction workers, or cooks, you theme the exchange to somehow match the mood of those attending the event.

Secret Santa Exchange

Generally the main rule for a Secret Santa gift exchange is that everyone purchases a sex neutral gift within a set price guideline.

The gift is then wrapped and at an appointed time each person picks a package to open. This type of exchange is referred to as Secret Santa because no one knows who purchased the gift that they receive.

As each gift is about the same price this type of present exchange really is people friendly. It can be much fun to see what others receive.

Guest book.
Guest book.

Set a monetary value range that everyone can afford.

Gift exchanges generally set a limit on the dollar value of the gifts. It is usually locked within a specific monetary range. Typically these amounts would fall into one of the below categories:

  1. $5.00 to $10.00 in value.
  2. $10.00 to $20.00 in value.
  3. $25.00 to $50.00 in value.

Gift exchanges usually try to keep the dollar value low as this takes the pressure off of anyone who may not be able to afford a higher priced item.

Some parties put a spin on the exchange by having people regift items they have previously received but for one reason or another they did not like or were not able to make use of. This is generally referred to as a white elephant exchange.

For a library, school, or literary group used books can be the items that are wrapped and exchanged at the party.

Whether you are hosting the holiday party or simply attending it these events can be a great deal of fun.

Cool Gifts For The $5 - $10 Range

Westminster Hand Boilers (Colors May Vary)
Westminster Hand Boilers (Colors May Vary)

These are perfect for your local scientist type personality or for those with an inquisitive mind.

The Chinese dragon is considered a symbol of good luck.
The Chinese dragon is considered a symbol of good luck. | Source

A good luck party theme is always a sweet way to greet guests.

Lucky charms are always a nice gift to get and they are pretty much guaranteed to put a smile on someones face.

With so many different lucky items to choose from such there is sure to be quite the variety of items show up at your event. A few to mention are elephant (with trunk up), four leaf clover, money tree, wishbone, ladybug, and of course a brightly colored rainbow.

Maybe a luck themed party is your thing?

Hermit fruit, nut, and spice cookies.
Hermit fruit, nut, and spice cookies.

Cookie exchange: Yummy but my goodness it is a lot of baking.

Cookie exchange parties are a lot of fun and very popular during the holidays. This type of exchange is designed to actually save you time and work during the busy Christmas season.

Each person is asked to bake up a very large batch of cookies of a specific amount. They then come to the party with those cookies ready to be divided among the other attendees.

The theory is that each recipient will then have between 6 and 24 different types of cookies to take home with them while only having to cook up one specific batch. The theory is that it is easier to bake up one large batch than to cook up a number of different cookie recipes for the holidays.

Unfortunately not everyone is a baker. I know several people who pass up a Christmas cookie exchange party because they either do not have the time bake or they are just not a person who can cook. No worries on this one though, if you really cannot bake you may be able to purchase cookies if the host approves it.

Unique Gifts $10 - $20 Range

Can You Imagine Melting Clock Bedside Alarm
Can You Imagine Melting Clock Bedside Alarm

They person who receives this gift will for sure be the only person you know with a melting clock!


Gift exchange parties are great for everyone, even kids!

They are great to cheer up your office.

Invite someone to a gift exchange and see what they think of it.

It's amazing the joy of getting something you'd never imagine.

Food Is Always A Hit!

You can make your party a potluck and have your guests bring whatever they want. If some of your guests don't cook or bake or they are simply busy folks then they can pick up a platter at the store on their way over. That is pretty easy.

The gift exchange can be themed to kitchen items, pottery, jar gifts, sweet treats, or fun and amusing food related items.

This is my Bacon Wrapped Sweet Chili Chicken recipe and it is a hit every time I turn up with it.

A Special Gift Unique Gifts $25 - $50 Range

Deco 79 28174 Brass Wood Desk Set, 4" x 9", Brass
Deco 79 28174 Brass Wood Desk Set, 4" x 9", Brass

Save their fingers from paper cuts with a beautiful letter opener, and stop the eye strain with the matching magnifying glass.

The Zombie Survival Guide Deck: Complete Protection from the Living Dead
The Zombie Survival Guide Deck: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

Silly presents or maybe something just a smidge off the wall could be ideal for the gift exchange party you'll be attending?


Gag gifts can be fun if that is the type of item specified to be exchanged.

Zombie Apocalypse Survival Deck of Cards Perhaps? Zombies seem to be all of the rage nowadays so a zombie theme gift might just be the ideal gag item needed to add a touch of humor to the exchange.

Maybe you want to get together your "Zombie Apocalypse" crew and host a party that could in some way help your group survive the outbreak and aftermath.

Low On Pocket Change?

No Problem!

What? You talked to your friends and they said they can't afford to do it? How about a White Elephant Christmas gift exchange.

Pick a gift you don't use or need and and bring it to the party. A gift you don't like or use could be the next person's treasure.

Re-gifting is ok, right? Yes it most certainly is.

Perhaps you got a nice little Christmas present last year that you figure is going to just take up space and you are never going to use it anyway. I bet there is someone you know that could use a little cheering up with that gift. It is after all the thought that counts.

What do you think about hosting a gift exchange?

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    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      Everytime I think of Christmas I get a really warm feeling inside. I have been a part of many secret Santa gift exchanges and they really do add an exciting touch to a holiday party because no one knows what they will get.

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 5 years ago

      @EMangl: Thank you, I love the funny mugs too.

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 5 years ago

      some very cute mugs, mostly i like the humorous ones

    • profile image

      MintySea 5 years ago

      what a good idea

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      What a great idea! I think it would be a lot of fun too!

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Sounds a fun idea:)

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      What a fun idea!

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 5 years ago

      What a GREAT idea! I love it!

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 6 years ago from Virginia

      Really great idea. Hope it comes to an office near me.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 6 years ago from USA

      Great idea for those who get lots of mugs for Christmas, like us teachers.

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 6 years ago

      @SandyMertens: Thank you, I have added it.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Blessed! Please add this to my Christmas Gifts and Blessings lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is a great idea:)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I should have said it would be a 'blessing' to receive one of your mugs!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What a great idea, a Christmas mug exchange would become an annual event and everyone would want a collection of your mugs.....excellent designs for everyone's pleasure...mine would be the alien or the lizard, they are just special!

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 6 years ago from Gloucester

      Lovely idea! I love fun mugs - also love your kitty one! Blessed. :)

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I think it's a great idea. Disclosure: I collect mugs. But I don't go to cookie exchanges for the reasons you have mentioned, and I am trying to avoid sweets, too. This allows for the same fun without getting fat and tired from more baking.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This sounds like a fun idea for card groups or office parties. Cute mugs!

    • profile image

      aishu19 6 years ago

      This is a very good idea...

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I think it's a great alternative to cookie exchanges!

    • profile image

      Ruthi 6 years ago

      I love your idea of a Christmas mug exchange!

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      A very unique idea, and a great way to end a Christmas party. I liked your choices of mugs that you have displayed. Great lens, very well done. See you around the galaxy...

    • profile image

      seosmm 6 years ago

      Lots of good info. Very nice lens!

    • katemiya profile image

      katemiya 6 years ago

      What a great idea! Everyone needs a fun mug.

    • markettrol profile image

      markettrol 6 years ago

      The mugs are Great!!!!

    • profile image

      TMKtshirts 6 years ago

      It's fun at a Christmas party! Great mug selections.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      nice mugs

    • Doglover5 profile image

      Doglover5 6 years ago

      Great lens and idea thumbs up. My favourite mug is the great dane, would make a great gift for a friend who owns great danes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Love your "Meowy Christmas" mug! I think mugs with cute or funny designs would go over well with kids. They love to have something special, just for them to drink out of.

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 6 years ago

      @WindyWintersHubs: That's a great point, zero calories in a mug!

    • PoncsMom profile image

      PoncsMom 6 years ago

      Great idea! When on vacation with my mom (every year for years), we'd locate a local gift shop and purchase a mug each... It was always a race to pick the best one.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      This is a really fun Christmas Party Exchange Idea (without the calories). Thanks!

    • profile image

      dlgray 6 years ago

      Sounds like a very fun way to celebrate the holiday with friends! Great lens! Gave it a Thumbs UP and Tweeted.

    • seashell2 profile image

      seashell2 6 years ago

      Fun idea for a gift exchange! :-)

    • profile image

      MaryMelindaAnderson 6 years ago

      This is a good idea. Who can't use a cute mug? And it isn't too expensive either.

    • Susan300 profile image

      Susan300 6 years ago

      It sounds like a great idea! :)

    • DuaneJ profile image

      DuaneJ 6 years ago

      I like the idea!

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 6 years ago

      @NYThroughTheLens: I'm so glad you like the idea :)

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 6 years ago

      @lilymom24: LOL that worm one is unique!

    • profile image

      NYThroughTheLens 6 years ago

      I think this is an excellent idea. It allows mugs to get extra love and use with others who will cherish them (even if we are no longer fond of them).

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 6 years ago

      Great mug selections. I think the worm mug is the cutest. =)