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LIVE IT!: A look at some creative gift exchange ideas this holiday season

Creative gift-exchanges for children can involve a fun game. The most important thing is to make sure every child ends up with a gift to open. (SUBMITTED)

Coming up with new gift ideas for friends or family can sometimes be stressful and overwhelming.

Enter the gift exchange, a fun and imaginative way to bring some flair to the holiday season, while minimizing the cost and stressors of purchasing or making gifts.

Aside from the usual deck of cards and dice games used to determine the exchange order, Live it! recently

perused sites of etiquette experts and party planners to find the best ideas for fun holiday-themed gift exchanges.

Here’s a selection of what we found:

The cobweb party

A favorite of readers of Real Simple Magazine, these parties offer the option for a wacky search game popularized in the Victorian Era. Designate one room of your home for the party and assign each player a different yarn color. Tie one end of their spool of yarn to a gift and unwind the yarn as you zigzag across the room, trailing it under furniture and looping it around curtain rods and the like. The goal is to make it as difficult as possible for the player to track their yarn through the “cobweb” of color to find their gift.

Kids musical chairs

With this version of musical chairs, the kids sit in a circle and each passes around wrapped gifts as Christmas music plays. Then, when the music stops, each child gets to open the gift they have in their hand. It makes for a more exciting game, according to the national party planning business Peppers and Pollywogs, and also ensures none of the children leave empty-handed.

The gift guess

For this activity via, participants can buy a random gift and wrap it in a way that others can’t tell what it is or where it came from. When it comes time to swap presents, each participant then holds up their gift while the others attempt to guess what’s inside.

The first person to guess correctly gets to keep the gift.

Christmas card match

This gift idea was spotlighted by Studio 5, a news program out of Utah, for its creative simplicity. Cut colorful Christmas cards in half and attach one half to the gifts. Give each participant the other half of the card. Those who correctly match the card halves receive that gift.

Yankee swap

With this idea from, participants purchase a gift within a set price range and place it in the middle of the room. Then they drawer a number from a hat, select a card from the deck or even roll the dice to determine the order. Each person then goes in numeric order and selects a gift to open. If they dislike the gift they selected, they can steal the gift opened previously by another participant. This process continues until everyone has either opened or stolen a gift.

Holiday trivia exchange

This is a simple concept, according to, one in which a person who correctly answers a trivia question gets to pick a gift from a pile in the center of the room. However, once the gift has been picked, that person is out of the competition. At the end of the game, the moderator gets to pick the final gift or steal a gift from someone else.