Issue 43
Dec 2017

Gift Exchanges

Last year, we wrote an article on the winter holiday tradition of decorating trees, buildings, and other things with Christmas lights. Families and friends flocked to various gardens and parks that were brightly and colourfully decorated. We want to share another tradition during this season that many groups, at school and at work, participate in: the gift exchange.

For many people, this season is all about giving, whether it’s giving food, clothing, and financial donations to those less fortunate or giving gifts to their loved ones. Shopping malls bustle with people who are taking advantage of the huge discounts. The stores are packed with people looking for the perfect gift. Many classes at school and companies at work enjoy a special kind of gift exchange called Secret Santa. In this type of gift exchange, the names of all of the participants are placed in a hat and randomly drawn by everyone until everyone has a name that is not their own. The task now is to buy a gift for the person you drew. No one knows who is buying for who, hence it’s a “secret”. There is usually a price limit of $10, $20, or whatever the group decides. When the group reconvenes at the holiday party, each person opens their gift and often tries to guess who their Secret Santa is. It is a very fun way to exchange gifts.

Another type of gift exchange is called White Elephant. For this one, only a price limit needs to be set and then all participants buy a gift that costs around that amount. When everyone gathers, they put all their gifts in the middle. Each person draws from a bag of numbers equal to the number of people. For example, if there are 15 participants, then the bag would have numbers from 1 to 15. The person with number 1 opens the first gift – they have no choice. The second person, though, can choose to open the next gift or steal what the first person opened, if the gift is desirable. If the gift is stolen, then the first person will have to open another gift. The third person can now steal either of the two gifts or open a new gift. As you can see, each succeeding person has more choices and having the last number is most advantageous. It’s not always fun to have your gift taken away, but it’s all in fun. There are other additional rules, such as allowing one gift to only be stolen twice or three times, but we will let you read about that yourself. Each group may have their own unique set of rules, as long as everyone agrees.

The final type of gift exchange is the Re-gift. For this one, each person finds something around the house that was gifted to them in the past and wraps it up. The exchange is usually done in the style of the White Elephant. The gifts are often useless or undesirable, so it’s quite hilarious.

Will you be doing any of these gift exchanges this season? Are there other types of gift exchanges that you have experienced? Remember, exchanging gifts is all about having fun and spending time with family, friends, or coworkers. Enjoy finding the perfect gift and be grateful with what you end up getting!