** updated Nov 2021 **

Establishing family traditions is very important to us as a family. I want my kids to remember the special things we did over the holidays and inspire them to do the same for their own families one day. And as I was looking for inspiration on starting a new family ritual to make the holiday time fun and filled with memory-making moments, I discovered Christmas gift exchange games and themes!

Christmas gift exchange games and themes

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may be compensated when you make a purchase after clicking a link, with no added cost to you.

Last-minute shopping

If you are a last-minute shopper like me … no worries! You can always use prime shipping to make sure your gifts are perfect and ready on time. Just click here to start your free 30-day trial and get the most benefit from prime holiday shopping.

We have all experienced the strangest year ever, 2020. And I think we really need to focus our thoughts and activities to spread hope. The easiest way is probably to be grateful and focus on happy things. If like us, you’re not able to travel and spend Christmas with your family this year, I feel you and challenge you to delve deep and find the happiness and cheer in your heart to make this Christmas, one like no other. Simply because our kids (and us) deserve it.

Don’t know about you, but I’d much rather remember 2020 for its magical Christmas than for all the other Covid related issues.

Have you decided on a holiday tradition or game yet? We are going all frugal this year. Read on to find out how.

Christmas gift exchange games

As I was reading everything I could find about this fun holiday tradition, I quickly realized that Christmas gift exchange games and themes are so much more than just sharing gifts at an office party. And the perfect activity to use in creating a new family tradition. And I’m sure you will love it too!

Christmas gift and snow man

Click here to save this Christmas gift exchange games post in your Christmas board on Pinterest

Our new Christmas family tradition

So last year we decided to include Christmas gift exchange games to our holiday plans. And the biggest reason was that I knew it will be fun and give everyone a chance to feel the pleasure of sharing and receiving personalized gifts. It sure was a lot of fun and that’s why I want to share this unique family tradition with you.

For our kids now 9 and 10 years old, traditions like these are what they will remember. And we will be repeating them every year, as that is the purpose of a family tradition.

We started our new family tradition by playing a simple Christmas gift exchange game where everyone prepared a gift according to a theme. And, then we swap them amongst each other.

Our last Christmas gift exchange game

The theme we chose last year was

photo memories

photo memories Christmas gift exchange games

It was super easy to do and lots of fun. I started the tradition by

the kids cut, decorated and created their own framed collages.

You won’t believe how giving the kids free creative rein, resulted in the most incredible gifts. 

Our latest Christmas gift exchange game

Knowing this was a great holiday tradition by kids loved, we simply needed to decide on a new theme for this year and the most votes went to a

memory books theme

memory books Christmas gift exchange games

This year our theme is going to be memory books. Everyone has to draw pictures, and write down memories from the past year. I simply gathered

and the kids will draw one picture for every day of December, starting on the first. Just before Christmas Eve, I will help them to put it together and bind it into a book.

I can’t wait to see what they come up with! They are super excited to do one drawing every day.

At the same time, they will have a fun way of counting the days down to Christmas. Because who doesn’t enjoy the pleasure of having a Christmas calendar! But instead of finding a little chocolate, the end result will be a 25 picture collection memory book to cherish for years to come.

Those are two tried and tested Christmas gift exchange games you can use at any time and read on to find a lot more themes and games.

The Value of Family Traditions

Doing activities like these together as a family is important to create strong family bonds. And, what better time than the Christmas holidays to enjoy moments like these as a family.

Christmas family tradition quote

For me, the best part of Christmas gift exchange games and themes is that we can choose the theme or the exchange games we play to be different every year and we can adapt it to fit our family size and kids’ ages.

A great tip is to enjoy gifts exchange games with small kids

Make it easy for your little ones to partake, by buying something related to your chosen theme and then allowing them to turn it into a certain kind of gift. Like we did with the memory books and photo memories. There are no rules, just be creative!

You can build the tradition within your close family or even include your extended family members for all to enjoy together and create awesome holiday memories. Grandparents are always willing to be part of the holiday fun.

Free Printable Just Because You Are Awesome

Download your Christmas Menu Planner, it is an awesome tool for stress-free holiday menu planning. Just click the link below, print and enjoy!

Christmas planner. #christmasplanner #christmasmenu #menuplanner

More family Christmas Gift Exchange Games and Themes

Choosing the theme for your gift exchange games depends on the age and abilities of your kids. Choose one that is easy for them to participate in and allow them to follow their own ideas.

I will share some of our best ideas with you below. Choose one, adapt one, or create a new one!

You can also write down a couple of your favorite ideas on a piece of paper, place them in a jar and every year someone else gets to choose one for that year.

Here are some brilliant ideas to get you started

Frugal Christmas Gift Exchange Games and Themes

frugal Christmas gift exchange games

As mentioned above, we chose to go frugal this year, here are some great tips if you like this tradition.


During December everyone collects beautiful things from nature, like stones or shells and then creates a gift using their treasures.

You can find some awesome shell gift ideas and grab beautiful shells here.

creative writing

Each family member writes a poem or story and then read it on Christmas Day. Younger kids can draw pictures and tell the story using their images.

christmas notebook let your heart be joyful

This is an awesome way to stimulate those creative minds and this is the Christmas notebook I used to make a memory book of all our Christmas stories.


Save recycled items and make something useful with it for Christmas. For example,

buttons to make wind chimes for Christmas DIY gifts

I grabbed these super affordable buttons to make our wind chimes, and we discovered some great treasures amongst them.

Here are great ideas to also make eco-friendly gift wrap. We love to use

and then add a piece of fresh foliage. Just remember to add those on the day of giving and not before as it can become brown and brittle, depending on the type.

Family Activity Christmas Gift Exchange Games and Themes

Christmas gift exchange games family activity

This is one of my favorite ways to build family holiday traditions. Even when you choose one of the other exchange themes, you can always add a family activity to ensure more holiday memories are made.

movie night

Everyone wraps something related to enjoying a family movie night. Think

Exchange gifts and watch the movie together on Christmas Eve.

enjoy a cuppa

Buy some cute


and let everyone decorate a mug and then exchange it. The best part is enjoying a cup of tea or hot chocolate together in your new mugs on Christmas eve.

Beautiful Memories Christmas Gift Exchange Games and Themes

beautiful memories Christmas gift exchange games

pictures and drawings

Everyone draw pictures of their favorite memories from the past year and share the stories around it on Christmas Eve.

DIY tree ornaments

It is super fun to make your own tree ornaments and decorate the tree together with all the DIY ornaments.

I love these DIY tree ornaments. The best part is re-discovering these DIY ornaments the next year!

Favorite Food Christmas Gift Exchange Games and Themes

Christmas gift exchange games favorite food


The kids choose their favorite chocolates, add a personalized card and exchange them on Christmas Day.

fresh fruit

Go to a local market where everyone selects fresh fruit. We have done this before, after buying the fruit my kids grabbed our re-usable mesh and muslin drawstring bags and created an awesome gift hamper for their grandparents

I also love this fruit Christmas wreath idea with fruit!


Prepare Christmas cookie batter together and have the kids choose their favorite cookie cutters.

They can shape, bake, decorate and then pack a selection of cookies for each family member.

This is also an awesome family holiday activity to do together. Bake and decorate your favorite biscuits or cakes.

Family Fun Christmas Gift Exchange Games and Themes

Christmas gift exchange games family fun

play the gift exchange game with a dice

And exchange gifts. Each number on the dice has a different instruction. Be prepared with a small gift ready that everyone will love receiving and start playing!

Think of gifts like

You can find this and other gifts exchange games here.


Exchanging toys is super fun for kids and you can easily also include the adults in this theme, with toys like

smelly gifts

This is one the kids will love! You can either take the kids to the shop to choose an item or be frugal and have them choose something that’s already in the house.

They need to find something you can smell through the wrapping paper. Everyone receives one of the smelly gifts and needs to guess what is inside before opening it.

good choices include

A good tip is to rub a piece of napkin in the lotion, soap or oil and add it in the package. It will help the person receiving it, to guess the smell.

And, yes the less nice smelly ones like cheese and old shoes will also be considered …

be spoiled

Each family member creates three spoil coupons, offering things like a foot massage, nail care, making a cup of tea, cleaning someone’s room or any other spoil activity.

The spoil coupons are exchanged and everyone gets spoiled!

Favorite Color Christmas Gift Exchange Games and Themes

favorite color Christmas gift exchange theme

This is a super easy and fun exchange theme. You choose a color and everyone needs to be creative and find or create a gift matching that color.

Christmas gift exchange games and themes summarized

Hope you have enjoyed all the great Christmas gift exchange games and themes ideas. Here’s a quick list of all those great ideas again

  • frugal
    • nature
    • creative writing
    • recycle
  • family activity
    • movie night
    • enjoy a cuppa
  • beautiful memories
    • photo memories
    • memory books
    • pictures and drawings
    • DIY tree ornaments
  • favorite food
    • chocolates
    • cookies
    • fresh fruit
  • family fun
    • with a dice
    • toys
    • smelly gifts
    • be spoiled
  • favorite color

Leave a comment

and let me know which one you will be trying this year. The fun of doing this lies within the personalized family touch. There are no rules and you can choose any theme or game.

Think out of the box, start your own family holiday tradition and have fun together!

More Top Posts

how to master motherhood

Start your course How to master motherhood

Please Save and Share

Click here to save this post on your favorite Christmas board on Pinterest

family Christmas gift exhange ideas





with unique parenting cheat sheets including action steps on how to be calm and confident.

Grab your own free copy and quickly gain skills to start being a better parent today.

PLUS BONUS 101 family activities list

Your cheat sheets are on the way!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This