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Alternatives to Secret Santa

Are you in the mood for doing a gift exchange this holiday season but don’t have a group of people you know well enough for Secret Santa? Fear no more! Here are three alternatives that are just as great!

Yankee Swap

This is where everyone brings in a wrapped present with no one in mind. Participants are randomly assigned a number which determines the order of who picks up a present. The first person will pick a present and unwrap it. The second person will go pick a present and unwrap it, and then they have the option to either keep it or steal the first person’s gift. If the first person’s gift is stolen, they will have to pick another one. Gifts can only be stolen once. This goes on and on. At the end of the game, the first person has the option to steal a gift from anybody.


Everybody brings in a wrapped present and then they will all gather together in a circle with their gifts in their hands. One person who is not participating will read a story that has the words “left” and “right” many times. Every time the word “left” is read, participants will pass the gift down to the left. Every time the word right is read, they will pass it down to the right. At the end, they will all open the gift they are left with. ​

Hot Gift Potato

Everybody brings in a wrapped gift. During each round, participants will toss one gift back and forth. When the timer goes off, the person holding the gift will open it and then they are out. The game ends when the last present is open. 

I hope these ideas will help you have a fun holiday season!

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