Holiday parties and gifts satisfy the kid in all of us. Giving gifts can be rewarding, especially when you see that your thoughtfulness is appreciated. But for many, holiday shopping is a daunting task. Whether you're swapping gifts with relatives or co-workers, consider opting for a holiday game rather than individual presents.
If you are part of a large workplace, it can be difficult and expensive to find the right present for everyone. Many offices that encourage gift exchanges host gift-giving games such as secret Santa, where each employee is responsible for buying one gift. To make everything equal, whoever arranges the office party will usually suggest a price range and a theme for each gift.
If you know the person whose name you pulled, then you might already have an idea of what type of present would be special. If you don't already know him or her, then this is your chance to do a little reconnaissance. Is your co-worker a sports fanatic? Does she have a signature style or favorite accessory? Since most gift-giving games are supposed to be secret, don't give away whose name you picked by asking too many questions.
If you're still not sure what to buy, look no further than the desk. Coffee mugs, cup warmers or picture frames are all great options. You can also give gifts for the home such as a packaged snack set with hot cocoa mix, cookies and marshmallows. Depending on the budget, you can purchase theater tickets, a magazine subscription, the latest book by a favorite author, or -- if you know they are adventurous -- tickets for a local zip line ride.
Some families will also participate in gift-giving games so that everyone receives something special. Involving children in their own gift-giving activities can also be a lot of fun. In "Pass the Present," the kids sit in a circle, each child holding one wrapped gift. An adult chooses specific key words and reads a short Christmas story. When one of the words is mentioned, the children pass their presents to the left or right (for example, every time a number is said, the gift goes to the left, and every time a color is said, the gift goes to the right). At the end of the story, the children open the gift in their hands. In "Musical Presents," music is played while the children pass the presents around the circle. When the music stops, the children open their gifts.
Other fun games for any age and applicable to the office or home include:
Trivia: All the wrapped presents are placed in a pile or a sack, and a moderator asks trivia questions to the group. The first person to answer correctly gets to choose a package from the pile and then sits out of the game until everyone has a present. The questions can be specific to a topic or age group.
Roll the Dice: Using one or two die, depending on the amount of people, each person rolls the dice and picks a present from the pile. The gift is then passed around the circle according to the number rolled. For example, if someone rolls a five, the gift will be passed five times before it reaches its recipient. The packages are not opened until everyone has a present. If the person whose position corresponds with the gift already has a gift, he or she has the option of taking the new present and passing the other one to the person next in line.
White Elephant: The presents are usually very specific and include new, used or homemade items, often around a theme such as cooking, sports or novelty gadgets. One possible theme could be winter accessories, such as hats, scarves or mittens. The gift-giving part of the game can be set up as a secret Santa or a grab bag. You can also put numbers on each package and have recipients pull numbers out of a hat. The gifts should be fun and unique.