I love Christmas gift exchanges but I've seen too many that have been spoiled by poor communication. White elephant gift exchanges or Yankee swaps sometimes mean one thing to one person and something completely different to someone else. I am a member of several groups who have held gift exchanges and we've had the most success when we remember a few basic rules.
1. If you're going to have a theme, be pretty specific - ornaments, Christmas home decor, and Christmas kitchen/entertaining items have all been successful exchanges.
2. Set a limit - you can usually get a nice gift for $10.
3. Since there are so many versions of white elephants or Yankee swaps, be up front with the rules for your swap to avoid hurt feelings or try a scripted exchange. This one was a huge hit - I cut it off at ten but it can go up to fifty if you have that large of a group. Leave me a message if you'd like the script for fifty. With this one, there is some stealing but it's according to the script and not random. The script came from a friend and I'm not sure where she got it so if you know who should get the credit, please let me know so I can acknowledge them.
Lucky you, you're number one, you get to start all the fun.
So grab a gift and grab it quick, 'cause you're the one who gets first pick.
Number two, you're on the way, it's time for you to have your say.
Get your gift and when you're done, swap it off with number one.
Number three it's plain to see, it's your turn to pick which gift 'twill be.
And when your choosing job is through, swap with one and then with two.
Number four must use your head, so grab a gift that has some red.
If it doesn't suit you to a T, you may swap with two or three.
Jump to it, five, don't drag your feet, take your gift back to your seat.
Wonder of wonders, it's yours for a spell, but what comes next, you can never tell.
Number six it's your time to go, grab a gift and don't be slow.
Now put on a smile so they won't be sore, 'cause you must swap with number four.
Seven is a lucky number it seems, you choose a gift that has some green.
Poke it, and shake it until you get back, now trade with someone wearing black.
Number eight it's up to you, to get a gift that has some blue.
Now go quietly to your place or trade with someone with a smiling face.
Nine we haven't forgotten you, so choose your gift and don't be blue.
Consider well and when all is said, trade with someone wearing red.
Number ten come to the front, for yours you shouldn't have to hunt.
Now hurry back and look alive, for you get to swap with number five.