Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas For Children – Make The Holidays Even More Fun
In the United States, public schools aren’t allowed to celebrate holidays that are based on religious beliefs, including Christmas. However, there are many events that occur during the holiday season at the end of the calendar year that are celebrated by many Americans, including Hanukkah, Winter Solstice and even simply the end of a semester. Although a Christmas gift exchange cannot be held in the public schools, it is not uncommon to find a holiday gift exchange to celebrate the end of one year and a forward look to the beginning of the next year. Even Americans who don’t celebrate Christmas can still enjoy the holiday season, and they do enjoy the opportunity to exchange gifts with one another as a show of appreciation and friendship. Most private schools are not held under the constraints of the public schools, and they too are able to enjoy games that involve the exchange of gifts among the kids.
When hosting a gift exchange between school children, it is important to decide ahead of time which game will be chosen, and what the rules will be. A spending limit should be decided, and it should be low (under about $5.00). Better yet, since there will no doubt be families that will be hard-pressed to come up with even a modest amount of money for gifts, the kids can be encouraged to make their gifts. That in itself can be a fun holiday activity for the children to enjoy. Many children enjoy the process of picking out gifts for other people, so let them have as much say in the purchase as possible. It should also be considered that there may be a child (or several) who won’t be able to provide a gift for whatever reason, and some consideration should be decided so those children do not feel left out. Sometimes the families who are able (and want to) can provide a second “back up” gift to help assure there is a gift for everyone.
Once those details have been ironed out, there are a few ways a gift exchange can go, so that will be a lot of fun for the kids.
One type of game that kids find particularly interesting is the “Secret Santa” game. The names of all the children are put into a big jar, and each child draws a name. Keep in mind, though, that one of the adults should keep a record of who drew which name, so there are no unpleasant surprises later if someone gets confused or forgets whose name was drawn. Each child keeps secret who will be the recipient of her gift. This adds to the fun for many children, but it makes it nearly impossible for those who find it hard to keep a secret. This is especially true of younger children, so this usually works a little better when the group is a bit older.
On the day of the party, each child brings in the gift, and tries to place it in the gift area undetected. Then when the gifts are opened, each recipient will try to guess who was his “Secret Santa”. For an added twist, a wrong answer may be met with an obligation to say or sing something funny, but this will be large dependent on type of group. Some groups of children are very open to this sort of thing, but for others it may fall flat and fail to add anything to the event.
Another type of gift exchange that can be suitable for groups of children can be the “White Elephant” gift exchange. In this game, all the gifts are placed in a common area, and the kids sit around in a group or a circle. Each child draws a number. The child with the number 1 begins by choosing a gift and opening it. The child with the number 2 can either choose to “steal” the opened gift of child 1 or choose a new one from the pile and open it. Child 3 can “steal” either of the opened gifts, or pick a new one. If a gift gets “stolen”, that child then chooses another gift from the pile and opens it, and the turn goes to the person with the next highest number. Each gift can be “stolen” a maximum of three times. The game continues until every child has a gift. The final gift exchange happens when the first child either decides to take someone else’s open gift, or keep the one he has.
Whichever type of gift exchange you choose, follow up with some refreshments, such as cookies or fruit. This will give the kids a chance to enjoy the company of their classmates and friends in a more relaxed setting, and is an excellent way to wrap up the year until they return for the start of a brand new year.
Teri Helms thoroughly enjoys the entire holiday season and loves the tradition of a Christmas gifts exchange with her family and friends.
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