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Holiday Gift Exchange Ideas

holiday gift exchange ideasYou probably have at least one-holiday party to attend this year. Buying a ton of gifts isn’t always in the budget, especially if you are drowning in debt. Here are a few holiday gift exchange ideas you could try to avoid debt this year.

5 Holiday Gift Exchange Games

Between family, friends, and work, you may even have four or five parties. If the program hasn’t already been set, you could suggest one of these holiday gift exchange games to control the tempo of spending, especially if you are working to reduce credit card debt. Now, let’s get to five ways to exchange holiday gifts.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is one of the most well-known holiday gift exchanges. The basic premise is to secretly buy a gift for a person you are assigned. Typically, whoever wants to participate will draw a name out of a hat or bowl to get their assignment.

This is a great way to control both the gift budget limit as well as the number of gifts you need to purchase. Rather than having to buy for 5 people, you only need one gift. This may also help with figuring out a great gift idea. Plus, the group can set an affordable limit. The budget can cap anything between $0 to $25 or any other agreed amount.

White Elephant

A White Elephant or Yankee Swap exchange is another fun and popular choice. The rules for this game can make things…interesting for those involved. Now, there are about a 100 variations, so I will just suggest a few options to give you an idea!

Everyone chooses one gift either from their own home or one that is valued within the budget. Usually, half the gifts are strange, very silly, or completely useless and the other half is nice gifts.

Everyone sits in a circle or the group draws numbers to establish an order of opening. The first person opens a gift. Then the next person can choose that same gift that or get a new one. This continues on and on until everyone has gone. You are not allowed to steal a gift twice in a round. And that’s the only rule. The later you are in the cycle, the better your chances of hanging onto a good gift!

Charity

A charity holiday gift exchange is a unique yet very fitting way to celebrate this season and help with debt reduction in your own personal finances. Your family or office cohort can choose a local, national or international charity. Then you can pool donations throughout the month of December.

Another way to participate in a charity is giving to Toys for Tots. This allows folks to spend what they can afford without excluding anyone. Making care packages for the troops or homeless shelters are also great options. Finally, instead of exchanging money  you can just decide to serve at a local organization together.

Book Exchange

A holiday book exchange definitely keeps things simple. You just need to buy or bring in a book that you love or know others would enjoy. A book from home costs $0, a used book could be around $5 and a new one could be anywhere from $10-20. This can meet everyone’s need to avoid consumer debt. Check the New York Times Bestseller list for ideas if you’re stuck. Bookstore employees often have great reading suggestions too.

You can decide to wrap the books and combine it with White Elephant or leave the books unwrapped. Simply place them on a table and allow folks to choose what they want. You’ll need an order for this, however, since someone will have to go last!

Auction Holiday Gift Exchange

Try something really different by auctioning gifts at the holiday party. All the participants bring in an unwrapped or wrapped gift depending on the rules you create. You might even suggest bringing in two or three small gifts each to make things more fun.

Give everyone play-money from your Monopoly game or buy some at the Dollar Store. Everyone starts out with the same amount of money. Elect someone as the auctioneer. And then hold the auction! Again, setting a budget limit for gifts can help avoid credit card debt.

There you have it- five fun ways to hold a holiday gift exchange without breaking the bank or excluding people.

ABOUT AUTHOR / Michelle

Michelle is a regular contributor to Talking Cents. She has taken several financial courses on debt management and is ready to circulate what she has learned from them as well as lessons from her own life- family to DIY projects to student loan debt.

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