Whatever the occasion may be, giving and receiving gifts is full of fun and joy. Gift exchanges are often organized around holidays, but there is no rule to it; you can do it at any time of the year. Gift exchanges are quite common among family, coworkers, friends, or community groups.
So, If you are hosting a party anytime soon, adding a gift exchange to it is a fabulous idea, or If you have already volunteered enthusiastically to organize a gift exchange, make it more fun with themes and games. Themes make the party so much more fun, and it doesn’t always have to be complicated and hectic to pull off.
Here are 35 amazing gift exchange themes to make your experience filled with fun and laughter.
1. Favorite Things Exchange
Some random things are our favorites, and they bring comfort to us. Everyone brings in their one favorite thing. It can be your favorite chocolate, your favorite book, a pair of socks you love, or your favorite perfume. It can be anything, and it does not have to be something big or costly. This is a very thoughtful process, like sharing the happiness the items bring to you with everyone. After the exchange, let everyone open their gifts and tell them what is their favorite thing.
2. Experience Exchange
Experience exchange is a unique way to celebrate by giving other people experiences rather than things. It can be movie tickets, spa coupons, museum tickets, local comedy show tickets, or themed park coupons. People often forget to take time out for themselves, to go out and have real fun, and this game makes people do exactly that. Ask everyone to share their experiences and pictures at the next meeting. Just make sure to pick a place that is easily accessible to everyone.
3. Secret Pal/Santa
This one is quite popular around Christmas, but it can be played any time of the year. Everyone throws a chit of their name in a bowl and picks one. The person has to get a gift for the person named on it. For this game, everyone must know each other well. You all will have to think about what the other person likes and then get them that. It is so much fun as no one knows who is buying them the gift, at last let everyone guess who bought their gift.
4. Grab Bag
Grab bag is quite a simple theme for an exchange. Everyone can bring a wrapped gift; it can be anything random, or you can all decide on a theme. The host puts all the gifts in a big bag, which is not transparent. Let everyone pull out a number from a bowl to decide the order. First, the player goes and picks a random gift from the bag without looking into it. The theme is not restricted to a particular theme; they can get creative or funny as they choose.
5. Food Exchange
A gift of food is cherished by all. Everyone brings in a food item, preferably nonperishable. It can be their favorite snack, jam, bread spread, ready-to-eat noodles, or anything that excites them. To make it more interesting, you can decide on a kids’ theme. Everyone brings in the snack they loved as a child. At last, everyone can tell which snack they brought and a fun story behind it. It will be fun to watch adults indulging in a packet of gummies or skittles.
6. Handmade Gifts Exchange
Making with hands is a great way to unleash your creativity and show love, but we cannot take out time to do that unless we have a purpose, which makes this a great idea. Everyone can bring anything according to their art style. It can be a painting, a photo frame, a hand crochet item, a knitted scarf, a crafted item, or a handmade dreamcatcher. Everyone is good at something, and Nothing is more valuable than something handmade. After the exchange, everyone can guess who made which item to know what hidden talents the people around have.
7. Re-gift Exchange
Regift exchange is a fun way to do it. All the members bring something for the exchange that was gifted to them, but they never used it. For example, a coffee blender was gifted to someone who is a hardcore tea person, and this is a time to bring it to purpose. It can be as useful as this or something as silly as a neon-colored sweater you never wore. Ensure everyone agrees and be sporty about it, as this is a great way to repurpose things.
8. Musical Gifts
This theme is a mashup between a kid’s game of musical chairs and a grab bag. Play music and let one random gift from the bag rotate in a circle. Stop the music, and the person who has a gift in hand when the music stops leaves the circle with the gift. Repeat until everyone has a gift. You can also turn it into a dance party with gifts where everyone dances to some pop beats while passing the gifts.
9. Treasure Hunt For Gifts
You can add some adventure to your gift exchange party by turning it into a treasure hunt. Kids and teenagers love it, but if your group is a bunch of jumpy adults, go for it! Hide gifts at different places in your homes. Write down hints about that place where the gift is hidden in cards, let everyone pick a random card, and find the gift following the hint. This is a lot of fun but needs a little planning. Go ahead with the idea if you have time.
10. Trivia for Gifts
Prepare some questions, general or based on a theme of your group’s common interest, for example, Harry Potter. Make everyone sit in a circle, and the gifts go in the middle, unwrapped. Fire questions, and whoever answers it quickly and right gets to select a gift of their choice and exit the game. You can throw in bonus questions to the person left at last to give him a right to steal someone else’s gift. This is one of the best family gift exchange themes.
11. Finish the Lyrics to Get A Gift
This game is a lot of fun for all age groups. Collect the gifts and put them in a pile. The hosts play a fun song and stop the song in between. The one who finishes the lyrics to the song gets to choose a gift first from the pile. This can end up in a battle or a fun night with all the singing and dancing. Make sure to play songs that are trendy so that everyone can catch up and have some fun.
12. Spin the Bottle
A family-friendly spin the bottle. Pile up all the wrapped presents together and let the bottle spin in the middle of a circle. The person to whom the bottle gets pointed gets to pick a gift from the pile. You can add a twist to make it more interesting by giving the option to the person at whom the other end of the bottle points to steal the gift or pass. The one who ends up with a gift leaves the circle.
13. Charity Exchange
Festivals and celebrations are a good time to give away something to people in need. Everyone writes something they want to give away on paper and puts it in a bowl. All of the members pick a chit from the bowl and buy what is written to give away to someone. All members can later meet up again for the act of giving. This will not only make them happy but will also bring you the joy of sharing.
14. Baked Goods Exchange
Baked items always bring in celebratory vibes, whatever the occasion may be, and everyone loves it, from kids to seniors. Everyone can bring their best homemade specialty or something from their favorite bakery and exchange them with friends. It can be cookies, muffins, gingerbread, or brownies. It is amazing because everyone gets to taste something out of the box. You can also keep the exchange confined to a particular item, like cookies, but this one is easier to go with.
15. White Elephant Exchange
This is also popularly known as Yankee Swap or Dirty Santa. Everyone brings a wrapped gift and keeps it all together. Before starting the game, decide the order by picking up a number from a hat. The first person chooses a gift of his choice, and the second person can steal the gift from the first one or get the other one from the pile. Each gift can be stolen only twice. This is a lot of fun; keep playing until everyone gets a gift.
16. Skincare Exchange
We keep bragging about your favorite skincare products, so what will it be like gifting the same to your friend? Everyone buys their favorite product and gets it wrapped. It can be a sunscreen, face wash, a night serum, or your favorite face moisturizer. This will be even more exciting if conducted in an all-women group. Make sure to buy products that are of general use and can be used by people of any skin type.
17. House Plants Exchange
Plants are such a thoughtful gift for your friends and family, especially if you all share a common interest in plants and gardening. But make sure you choose a plant that is easy to care for and is not too fussy. For example, you can bring in succulents, cactuses, or snake plants in some funky, decorative small pot. They are easy to care for, look beautiful, and match modern decor aesthetics. So, sit in a circle and let the plant find its new home.
18. Gifts to Keep Them Fit
Nothing is better than gifting someone things that help and inspire them to stay fit. Everyone buys gifts for exchange, which promotes fitness and better health. It can be a step counter, yoga mat, healthy recipe book, protein mix, or exercise band. This theme can be done with friends and family, but it works even better if you are doing this exchange with your gym buddies. Everyone opens their gifts and tells how they will use the gift they received.
19. Book Exchange
Exchanging books is a very thoughtful way to carry out this ritual. Especially if you are exchanging with the members of a book club or if all your friends are into reading. This can also be done with people who are nonreaders but want to start reading; getting a book as a gift will give them a reason to start. Everyone can either share their favorite book or a book that they think everyone will love. Sharing books is not only fun, but it is also a very regal experience.
20. A Holiday Celebration Gift
If you organize a gift exchange around a holiday, it’s only fair to keep its theme around the same. Be it Halloween, Christmas, or easter, everyone buys a festive gift accordingly. It can be a home decor item, ornament, food item, or clothing item that represents the vibe of that particular festival. This can be an addition to your annual Christmas parties because receiving and giving gifts makes celebrations even more fun and exciting.
21. Gift in A Mason Jar
A very creative way to wrap your gift. Everyone brings a mason jar, but it is what is inside that matters the most. It can be a cake in a jar, hot cocoa mix, bath salts, body butter, mason jar candles, or candies; the options are unlimited. You have to keep your mind creative. The mason jar can also be decorated cutely. After the exchange, everyone is surprised by what is inside it. This is a very budget-friendly way to conduct the exchange.
22. Color Themed Exchange
Decidecolorour, and everyone brings something of that color. It can be anything: a cookie packet, a scarf, or a mixing bowl; the only rule is that it has to be of that particular color. You can also select the color according to the season or festival. Like fall calls for a game theme and valentines for red. You can go crazy with this theme and can pick up any random thing available in that particular color to make it fun.
23. Guess the Name
In this theme, everyone brings a gift according to the first letter of their name. For example, Stephany can bring socks, a scarf, or a pair of scissors. After the wrapped gifts get exchanged, the person who received the gift guesses the name according to the item. You can also twist this game around, pick up the members’ names from the bowl and bring something according to their first name, open random gifts, and let everyone guess whom it belongs to.
24. Tiny Gift Exchange
Hand down a small envelope to everyone, and the challenge is to buy a gift that fits in that. You need to get creative while picking a gift here. There are several tiny, cute things around us; you need to look a little harder. It can be anything: a tiny card, a keychain, nail polish, or earphones. You can also buy several small things and fit them together in one envelope. You can even decorate the envelope with something celebratory.
25. Cooking Theme Exchange
Go ahead with this theme if everyone in your group shares a common interest in cooking food. Every gift must be something that is used in cooking. It can be a cute apron, oven mittens, a spatula, a mixing bowl, or a recipe book. This is a hit among adults because, yes, they get excited over a new kitchen addition. You can organize this exchange at the end of a baking or cooking party or a family barbeque where everything comes together and cooks something good.
26. Gift What You Want as A Gift
Decide a budget and tell everyone to write on paper something they will get for themselves for that amount. Fold the paper, throw it in a bowl, and let everyone pick one and buy what is written in it. Open the gifts after the exchange and see if they got what they wrote. It is so much fun because someone might get the total opposite of what they wrote, while someone can get lucky to get exactly what they wanted.
27. Tie Exchange
This one is a great theme for an office gift exchange, especially if ties are something everyone wears often. Everyone buys a crazy tie, whether a festive-themed tie or a cartoon-printed one, anything you think is not the usual taste around the office. Do not open the gifts immediately after the exchange; rather, make the reveal more interesting. Decide on a day when everyone will come wearing the tie they got as a gift to the office and see the fun reactions.
28. Long Distance Exchange
Do you want to exchange gifts with people who live away from you? No problem, we have got an idea. If you are five people, buy a cute wooden box, put 4 random gifts in it, and send it to the first person. The first person picks one gift, puts in another gift, and mails it to the next person. The box keeps rotating and comes back to you at last with some surprise gifts. This is special and celebratory for people who stay away from friends and family.
29. Subscription Exchange
In today’s world, everything has a subscription, which is not only now limited to monthly magazines. Everyone buys a subscription, writes it on the paper, and puts it in a bowl. Let all your friends pick one and see what they got. It can be a subscription to video and music streaming applications or of any fun online game; there are many things to choose from. This is a modern take on the traditional way of exchanging gifts.
30. Something Old
Gifting something old means gifting something that you already have and is used by you. It can be a family heirloom, your favorite book, or your favorite scarf. If you own something that everyone adores, you also give that. This is more like passing on the treasured sentiments, something you will be remembered by. This is even more interesting when you play it with your family because passing on your family heirloom to the kids makes it very special.
31. Wine Exchange
Wine exchange is a great way to unwind and indulge in some fun, but make sure everyone in your group is above 21 years old. Everyone comes with a wrapped bottle of wine. Pour a little wine for everyone in a glass to taste, and whoever guesses the type of wine right gets to keep the bottle. Each bottle is opened one by one to taste and make guesses. Everyone has fun in this process and also gets to take the wine home.
This theme is as interesting as it sounds. Tie gifts in yarn and hide them in different corners of your home, and make the yarn trail in your house, make it as long as possible. Hand each person a random trail to lead them to their gift. This is so much fun when everyone is tangled and trying to figure out where their gift is. You can keep the yarns in different colors to make it a little easier. It may get a little messy, but it is so much fun.
33. Seasonal Theme Exchange
You can set a theme according to the running weather or let everyone decide on one. Everyone brings a thing that is useful in that particular season. You can set it to summer, winter, fall, or spring. There are a lot of staple things around each season. It can be a scarf, socks, earmuffs, a warm blanket, or hot cocoa bombs for winter. You can do this exchange when you are all together on a winter picnic or having a beach day out to make it memorable.
34. Something Odd or Funny
Encourage everyone to bring in something odd and silly, something that will make everyone smile. Bring out your naughty and funny side. It can be a mug with a funny quote, an ugly sweater, or a funny clown prop. Make sure everyone shares the same vibe and is sporty about it. This is a great idea for a family gift exchange to have some fun and a laughter riot. You can also bring something related to an inside joke your family shares to make it even funnier.
35. Gift Card Exchange
Every member of the exchange group has to buy a gift card from a certain shop or brand. But for this, you need to pre-fix a limit amount. For example- The gift card should not exceed the amount of $10. Everyone gets a gift card that can be redeemed at that particular store. The gift card can be from a toy shop, clothing store, makeup, your local tattoo shop, or a spa gift card. You will all be amazed by the random stores or brands you have not yet explored.
Before you pick your favorite theme and start planning, keep a few things in mind. Always decide on a budget so that everyone is comfortable with the idea. Secondly, keep the theme practical and simple because the fun lies in the people and the laughter you share with them and not things. Lastly, go creative and crazy while planning a gift exchange because there are no limitations or rules to adhere to.
If you are too excited about the party, keep your spirits high. We Hope these fun-filled gift exchange themes help you to organize the best-ever gift exchange!