Many Christmas parties have some type of Christmas game and gift exchange as the center of the festivities, whether it is a party for co-workers at the office or a gathering of friends or extended family. The old Secret Santa gift exchange is just that—old and traditional—but for something new this holiday season, try having a dirty Santa gift exchange. This allows guests to have a limited amount of control over what gift they leave the party with instead of the pure luck aspect of secret Santa Christmas gift exchanges.
Invite your guests to the dirty Santa gift exchange game
Invite a group of friends to your dirty Santa party. You'll need to have at least a group of 10 guests. The ideal number is between 10 and 15 guests; the maximum number of guests should be 20.
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Ask each guest to bring a wrapped gift. As the host, you should set a price range that each gift should fall within. To keep the gifts relatively even in value, this range should have no more than a $15 difference between the high price and the low price.
At some white elephant gift exchanges, gag gifts are the preferred option. Be sure to specify whether the gifts for your party game should be funny gifts or desirable gifts.
Gift certificates tend to be a very popular item when people have trouble coming up with dirty Santa gift ideas, but it's also a very boring one. Many hosts institute a rule that gift cards are not permitted as a gift.
Prepare to play the game
Direct each guest to place their gift on the gift table as they arrive. No "to" or "from" names should be written on the gifts so that there is no indication of who brought the gift.
If it is revealed that a player failed to purchase a gift that met the minimum price required for the dirty Santa gift exchange, they must offer to exchange the gift they finish with for the gift that they purchased.
Write each guest's name on a piece of paper. Fold this piece of paper and place it in a hat. Make a separate list of names as each guest gives you their piece of paper.
Start the dirty Santa game
Start the game by announcing the first player's name on the list. They can choose any unopened gift on the gift table and open it. That is all this first person can do, but they will also have a turn after the final person on the list to compensate for having no options in the gifts they get to see before choosing one.
Continue going down the list, allowing guests to take their turn. The second and each subsequent guest will have an option: They can either steal an opened gift or open a new gift from the gift table. If a guest has a gift stolen from them, they have the same option to either open a new gift or steal a gift someone else has already opened.
It's a good idea to have several house rules for the dirty Santa gift exchange. These can include that couples cannot steal gifts from each other, that a player cannot steal a gift from the player that just stole the same gift from them and that once a gift is stolen three times no other player can steal that gift again.
Dirty Santa rules state that the maximum number of steals there can be in a round (a round starts with the next person on the list) is three. If a player is the third player to have their gift stolen in a round, they must open a new gift instead of stealing.
Continue going through the list, giving each person the opportunity to open a new gift or steal a gift to start the round. The player that started the first round is allowed to start the final round.
A dirty Santa gift exchange is a fun way to exchange gifts at an office party or a larger gathering of friends and family. When the game ends, everyone will not only have a lot of fun but they will also have a gift to take home from the holiday party.