5 Unique Gift Exchange Ideas for This Christmas

December 01, 2023 · by Ashton Dorow

The Christmas season is officially upon us! Which means it’s time to start planning and purchasing presents and get ready for ALL the parties! If you’re looking for a way to spice up your family gift exchange this year, or maybe you’re planning a party for your friend group or a group you lead at church and need ideas beyond the typical White Elephant exchange or Secret Santa, I’m here to help you out a little. I’ve compiled a list of five fun, out-of-the-box gift exchange ideas that can give your Christmas a creative twist.

Book Exchange

    It’s no secret that reading is one of my favorite things in the world. Gift me a book, and I am on cloud nine. If you and your friends or family members also enjoy a good read (or maybe you want to get into reading in 2024), why not exchange books this year? There’s a number of ways you could do this. You could draw names and purchase a book for that specific person, bring a book you love to exchange with someone in a White Elephant game, or put together entire reading baskets with a book and other fun items to go along with it like tea, a candle, etc. This is also a fun idea for a gift exchange between kids.

    Thrifted Christmas

    This is actually what we’re doing with my mom’s side of the family this year. Since us granddaughters started getting married, we’ve grown too large for everyone to buy every family member a gift, so for years we’ve drawn names and bought a gift for that specific person. Last year, we switched things up by doing a guys and girls White Elephant exchange, but this year we decided to go back to drawing names while still putting a twist on things by stipulating that whatever we buy for our person must be thrifted. Now, this might not be for everyone, but in my family, we LOVE going to thrift stores, antique shops, garage sales, etc.! It’s our preferred way to shop, truth be told, and there’s really nothing like scoring an awesome treasure at a random resale shop. Purchasing our gifts second-hand this year will be a challenge, but it will be so fun to see what we can come up with.

    Favorite Things

      I remember my mom going to a couple “Favorite Things” parties when I was a kid, and I always thought it sounded so fun. How it works is you bring a gift made up of a few of your favorite things (favorite snacks, hair or body care products, candles, home products, etc.) to exchange with your fellow party guests. If you have a small group, you could have each guest bring multiple of the same gift, enough for every person, or if you have a larger group, you could limit the number of gifts to one or two. Each person takes a turn sharing what they brought and why they love these items so much and then hands out the gifts or draws a name/names of who to give their gift/gifts to.

      Comfy & Cozy

        Our church hosts a ladies Thanksgiving/Christmas party every year, and this year our theme was “Home for the Holidays”, so for our gift exchange we told everyone to bring something “comfy & cozy”. This was a fun change from our usual ornament exchange and gave everyone a great variety of things to choose from, everything from blankets and socks to candles and things to make a holiday potpourri simmer pot--basically whatever the word comfy or cozy means to you!

        Handmade With Love

          There’s nothing like a gift that you know someone has made with their own hands. It just gives that present an added touch of specialness! This Christmas, why not exchange handmade presents? Even if you aren’t particularly skilled with making anything yourself, you could still purchase something handmade from a local gift shop or craft fair or online from Etsy. If you purchase your gift from somewhere like that, you can know you’re not only getting a gift for someone you love that is unique and handcrafted, but you’re also supporting a small business owner.

          Photo by Katie Azi on Unsplash

          Ashton Dorow

          About Ashton Dorow

          Ashton Dorow has loved reading for as long as she can remember, and she began writing her first book at age fourteen. Since then, she has written more books, launched her blog, Life & Lit, and is in the process of publishing her first novel. She currently resides in Conroe, TX, with her hubby and their two spoiled-rotten furbabies. They attend the church Ashton grew up in, Abundant Life Church in Willis, TX, where they are both involved in music, youth, and children’s ministry.

          Connect with Ashton on Instagram at @life.and.lit