Chinese Gift Exchange

Fun, easy Chinese gift exchange rules and ideas for your next office or church Christmas party.

My husband and I attended our church’s Christmas party and they had a Chinese Gift Exchange. It was a lot of fun. Here are the rules:

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1. Everyone brings a wrapped gift of the same cost (it’s a good idea for some to bring an extra wrapped gift, in case someone forgets or doesn’t know to bring one). At our party, they set the gift cost at a minimal $5.


You could even choose to do gifts that don’t cost anything…like handmade gifts, or trinkets you would like to pass on, being sure that they are nice and would be appreciated. No junk allowed. The main thing is to try and keep values the same.


2 Arrange all the gifts in a central area, being sure there is enough gifts for everyone there.


3. Count how many people are there; if there are 18 people, number 18 slips of paper 1-18 and place them in a bag.


4. Have someone bring the bag of numbered slips of paper around to each person and have them draw one number from the bag.


5. To start the exchange, have the person who drew #1 pick a gift and unwrap it. #2 can either take #1’s gift, or pick a wrapped gift to unwrap.


The exchange continues consecutively, each person being able to take a gift from any previous exchangers, or a new wrapped gift until all have gifts.


If your gift gets taken, you can then take a new wrapped gift, or take someone else’s, but not the one that was taken away from you.


The exchange continues in this manner until everyone has a gift. Because #1 didn’t have the opportunity to take a gift from another person, they have the choice to exchange their gift with anyone in the room after everyone has gifts.


6. Any one gift can only be ‘taken’ 3 times. For example, there was a mini Mag-Lite flashlight gift that all the guys wanted.


They decided to let the 2nd elderly gentleman keep it, but if it had been taken away from him (3rd time), that person would have been able to keep it.


This is a lot of fun because of the variety of gifts. Because I knew there were going to be males and females, I looked for a gift that either one would appreciate, however, what makes the game funny is when a male gets a gift that a female would appreciate more, or vice versa.


This is what inspires people to take another person’s gift and produces lots of laughs! So there really is no need to buy gender specific gifts.


Of course, you could imply a non-gender gift rule if you wish, to be sure everyone gets something they like, and it would still be fun.


Have a blessed Christmas!


by Monica Resinger. Reprinted with permission.


Like this article? You might also like to read about the history of the Christmas stocking.


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Fun, easy Chinese gift exchange rules and ideas for your next office or church Christmas party.

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