http://www.letterstolalaland.com - You may have noticed my dislike of Winter, I dislike being cold. However, I do like to find the brightside to any situation. The silver lining to Winter, CHRISTMAS! What better way to get into the festive mood than to check out my favourite gift exchange games. 1. Chinese Gift Exchange/ White ElephantThis game is suited to groups of any size. As a group you decide on the dollar amount of the gifts this can be anywhere from $5 to even $50. It all depends on your group. When you have all the gifts together you determine who will go first. To do this you can play rock, paper, scissors or throw dice even inny, minny, miney, mo whatever you like. Once the first person has the first gift they can open it. The second person goes and has a choice they can either choose another gift or steal the gift from the first person.If the gift is stolen then, the first person must choose a new gift. Then another person goes and they can either steal the gift from the first or second person or choose a new gift. So on and so forth. Considerations you may choose to limit the number of thefts possible, or the number of times the same gift can be stolen. As a group you can decide on the rules before you being. The game ends when everyone has a gift. The first player goes last (the perk of being first!) The first player at the end can choose to trade with any guest he or she wishes.2. Musical GiftsThis is pretty straight forward, everyone buys a gift and brings it. As with all the other games you set a budget for how much the gift can be. Then you all sit in a circle and pass around one gift, when the music stops that person gets to keep the gift and open it. Then that person is out and you start again. This is a fast and simple game plus you get to have music! And no even though it is Christmas you do not have to play Christmas music!3. Twas The Night Before Christmas StoryFirst you sit everyone in a circle with a present in everyones hand. Instruct the participants that you are going to read a Christmas story and when you say the words “Left” or “Right” they should pass their gifts to the person on the left or right depending on the word you say. Read the story pictured below.Twas the night RIGHT before Christmaswhen RIGHT through the houseNot a creature was LEFT stirring, not even a mouse—The stockings were hung RIGHT by the chimney with care,In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be RIGHT thereThe children were nestled RIGHT snug in their beds,While visions of sugarplums danced Right around in their headsAnd mama LEFT in her kerchief, and I LEFT in my caphad just settled RIGHT down for a long winter’s nap,When RIGHT out on the LEFT lawn there arose such a clatter,I sprang RIGHT from my bed to see what was the matter.Away to the RIGHT window I LEFT like a flash;Tore open the RIGHT shutters and threw up the LEFT sash.The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snowLEFT the luster of mid-day to objects RIGHT belowWhen, what to my wondering eyes should appearBut a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.With a little old driver RIGHT lively and quick;I knew RIGHT in a moment it must be St. NickMore rapid than eagles his coursers they came;And he whistled and shouted, and called them RIGHT by name:“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and Blitzen!To the RIGHT top of the porch! To the LEFT top of the wall!Now dash away, dash away, dash RIGHT away all!”As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane flyWhen they meet RIGHT with an obstacle,mount RIGHT up to the sky,So RIGHT up to the housetop the coursers they LEFT flew,With a sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas, too.And then in a twinkling, I heard RIGHT on the roof,The prancing and pawing of each little RIGHT and LEFT hoof.As I drew in my head and was turning aroundDown the LEFT side of the chimney St. Nicholascame with a bound. He was dressed all in fur,RIGHT from his head to his LEFT foot,And his clothes were all LEFT tarnished with ashes and soot.A bundle of toys he flung RIGHT on his back,and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.His RIGHT and LEFT eyes, oh how they twinkled!His dimples? Oh how merry!His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!His droll little mouth was LEFT drawn up like a bow!And the beard LEFT on his chin was as white as the snow.The stump of a pipe he held RIGHT in his teeth,and the smoke– it encircled his head like a wreath.He had a broad face and a round little belly,That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.He was RIGHT chubby and plump,a RIGHT, RIGHT jolly old elf,And I was LEFT laughing when I saw him in spite of myself.A wink of his LEFT eye and a LEFT twist of his head,Soon gave me to know I had nothing LEFT to dread.He spoke not a word, but went RIGHT straight to his work,And filled all the stockings; LEFT to RIGHT,then turned with a jerkAnd laying his finger to the LEFT of his nose,And giving a nod, he LEFT… Up the chimney he rose.He sprang RIGHT to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,And away they all LEFT like the down of a thistle.But I heard him exclaim, as he LEFT—out of sight,“Happy Christmas to all—to all a good night!”4. December Dice GameThis game works like the rest of the games. As a group you set a price limit for the gifts, and then everyone buys one and brings it wrapped to the party. For this game you will need two six- sided dice. Everyone sits in a circle with their gifts in their lap. You hand the dice to one person and they roll the dice and follow the instructions according to the number they have rolled. For example if someone rolls a 10 you switch with the person on your left, roll an 11 and you can switch with anyone; for a full list of the rules see below. Go around the circle allowing everyone to roll the dice two times (or however many you choose). During the second round before someone rolls, if they have not yet unwrapped their gift have them unwrap it so all of the gifts are unwrapped by the end of the second round. Once the dice have gone around the circle twice, your guests will keep the gift in their hands.5. Secret SantaThis is one of my favourites! This has to be done with a group of people, it's easier if you all know each other well. Everyone gets assigned a person, there are many apps out now that make this much easier like Elfster, and DrawNames.Once everyone has a secret santa you can set a budget for the gifts. To make the gift buying easier everyone can submit a wish list. The apps allow everyone to have their own list that everyone can see. Then everyone gets together and exchanges gifts. You bring your gift in a black garbage bag so no one sees what your gift looks like. You put the recipients name on the gift and put from secret santa on there. Then everyone opens their gifts, and you guess who you think your secret santa is. So much fun!What are your favourite gift exchange games?