Dirty Santa / White Elephant Game

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Posted 11/24/2012 by maallen in NSBR Board


PeaNut 289,617
January 2007
Posts: 2,092
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Loc: USA

Posted: 11/24/2012 12:50:00 AM
Read about this on another thread. Our family does it, but we roll dice. If you get 7, 11 or doubles, you take a gift from the table. We keep passing the dice around (in a box lid) until all the gifts are taken. Then we go 1 at a time and unwrap what we have and show to all.
Then we pass the dice aroud again (group determines how many times around it'll go) and if you get 7, 11, doubles, you can take a gift from someone else. Don't have to trade. So , some end up w/ more than 1 gift, some none.

I like the idea of the dirty santa where everyone gets something, but am looking for a different way to play instead of with drawing numbers.

Anyone have their own version of this game? Looking to switch things up at our family xmas party!!!

Ever get the feeling your stuff strutted off without you?


PeaNut 338,295
September 2007
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Loc: NC

Posted: 11/24/2012 6:33:40 AM
My group of senior citizens likes to do this game at church, but they all want to open a gift so nobody takes a gift from anyone else. That was very boring, so last year I changed it around. When a person's time came to open a gift, they opened it and then had to decide who the gift best suited. That person then received the gift. If the person already had a gift, he/she had to give the first gift received to someone else.

It was just like "dirty" Santa, but with a "it is more blessed to give than to receive" twist. They all had a lot of fun with it.

Proudly Canadian

PeaNut 43,061
July 2002
Posts: 33,591
Layouts: 2

Posted: 11/24/2012 7:40:53 AM
The ones I play are much more "violent" than those. It's all about stealing and it can be really sneaky and fun! I'm pretty sure no one gets the original gift they opened. It's a lot of fun and a lot of steals and throws and stuff.

I'm not sure I'd want to do this kind of exchange if there wasn't all the action.


PeaNut 491,019
December 2010
Posts: 1,467
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Loc: NC

Posted: 11/24/2012 8:11:36 AM
The one that I normally go to does it a bit differently. Everybody draws a number out of a hat, and that is the number that you go in. The first person picks a present and unwraps it. The second person has to chose to steal a previous present, or unwrap a new one.

If your present is stolen, you can steal from somebody else (can't steal yours back), or open a new one. Each present only has 3 lives though. Opening is one, 1st steal, and 2nd steal. So if you are the second person to steal it, the gift is dead and nobody else can take it from you. There was one year I opened 6-7 gifts because mine kept on being stolen from me.

For each round, once everybody has an opened present, you move on to the next person. Each person has the choice to steal from anybody, so long as the present isn't dead. We really enjoy doing things this way.


PeaNut 138,830
March 2004
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Posted: 11/24/2012 8:16:59 AM
Ugh! I'm not a fan of these at all. I find them tolerable when they're done with a bunch of people I know and am comfortable around. However, I'm starting a new job in a little over a week and have been told that they do this. Not.looking.forward.to.it.

Baby Pea Step

PeaNut 573,122
November 2012
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Posted: 11/24/2012 9:11:05 PM
@ maallen,
Our recreation team has developed several variations of these gift exchange games. We are introducing Lefty the White Elephant this year as a combo right/left game and white elephant exchange.
Her is a link to several unique variations of the game: http://albinophantblog.com/white-elephant-gift-headquarters/white-elephant-gift-exchange-idea-center/

True North Strong and Free

PeaNut 227,939
October 2005
Posts: 14,480
Layouts: 5
Loc: Southern Alberta

Posted: 11/24/2012 9:26:30 PM
Our family plays it every year, the same way as happeainsnow. It's fun, with a little friendly stealing going on.

So , some end up w/ more than 1 gift, some none.

I would be choked if I ended up with nothing. But we each spend $50 so that we all end up with something pretty good.


PeaNut 190,378
February 2005
Posts: 2,448
Layouts: 31
Loc: Near Atlanta, GA

Posted: 11/24/2012 11:33:07 PM
We ask that your gift be wrapped in more than one layer of paper. Some might wrap their gift twice, some might wrap it ten times. Everyone sits in a circle and the gifts are passed while music plays. When the music stops, you take one layer of paper off the gift in your hands. If that layer was the last one, then you keep the gift and leave the circle. The game continues until all gifts are unwrapped. It's fun and everyone gets a gift without stealing from someone.

Mother to Catherine (20), Zane (18), Kent (16)
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