Gift Card Exchange Ideas
December 7, 2009 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Help me plan a fun gift-card giving Christmas game for the adults in my family.

In an effort to keep Christmas alive (everyone wants to 'skip it this year'), my family has reluctantly agreed to a 'gift card exchange' for the adults. All the adults in the family are going to purchase varying amounts of gift cards at various establishments ($5 McDonalds, $10 Walmart, $25 Best Buy, $10 AMC, etc) to put into a 'pool' of gift cards. Our adults have varying financial positions so it will be up to each adult to purchase what they feel they can. All gift cards will be wrapped and I expect there to be a 5x1 ratio of gift cards to adults.

I need a game that can help us distribute the gift cards in a fun and interesting way. I want to avoid the standard 'white elephant' gift exchange mainly because I've never liked how the last guy gets the best gift.


1) It can't be a game of skill (some adults would end up with nothing)
2) It should allow for 'exchanging'... for instance, Dad may not want the $10 Bath and Body Works gift card, so maybe he wants to trade that for the $10 Home Depot gift card that my sister has.
3) There should be some sense of equity. The gift cards will have varying balances, so maybe that can be considered as well.

Any ideas? Any traditions you already have?
posted by shew to Human Relations (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A board game such as Candyland is more of a game of chance than skill. First person to the end gets to pick a card first. Maybe you could have mini-challenges in there somewhere to keep it interesting.
You could maybe do the same thing with a deck of cards.
posted by amethysts at 2:27 PM on December 7, 2009

I'd say use something like Candyland (or Chutes and Ladders), and designate certain places acquire-a-card and lose-a-card locations, and make the picking up or putting down of cards automatic (top or bottom of each person's pile-type thing). The person who gets to the end first could then choose a specific card. If all the cards are in the same generic envelope or case, or are packaged by a 3rd party (maybe one of the older kids) so the adults don't know which is which, there's even more chance the game.

Or, play a card game and mark the cards beforehand with some distinction for each of the gift cards. People could get the gift cards once they get a marked card, or they could see if they get a different card through gameplay (go fish / old maid type things come to mind).
posted by filthy light thief at 2:42 PM on December 7, 2009

Not really a "game" but one tradition we used to have was putting various amounts of money in envelopes and then sticking the envelopes in the Christmas Tree. Everyone would draw numbers and we'd get to pick an envelope from the tree in order. There would always be a big prize (like $100) and all the others were mainly 5's with a few 10s and 20s thrown in.
My family is super cheesy and dramatic so picking envelopes was this whole Vana White ordeal and became a game in itself.

After each person picked they would open and we would "ooh, aah" (or "awwww" if they got the 100) and the next person would go.
You can include an optional trade request after each person's turn.
posted by simplethings at 2:53 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

FWIW, the way to eliminate the "last guy gets the best gift" aspect of white elephant exchanges is to limit the number of times each gift can change hands. For example in my family, once a gift has been 'stolen' three times, it stays with its fourth possessor and both the gift and participant are out of the game.
posted by jamaro at 3:32 PM on December 7, 2009

« Older Tie me up; or, rather, tether me, please   |   Name that Disorder Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.