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How Does A Dirty Santa Gift Exchange Work?

Updated: Jul 6




Because of our name, we are often asked how to host a Dirty Santa Gift Exchange.


Well, we are the Naughty Gnome, so you might imagine we’re suggesting an XXX-rated gift exchange, right? Well now, not exactly however we are known for providing cringey gifts that can make even the most stoic among us blush. We will get to that a bit later, but let's begin with the basics.


The Basics


First off it is important to get our terminology straight. Dirty Santa is also known by more innocent names like White Elephant or Yankee Swap. Don’t let those monikers fool you, this game is all about snatching, scheming, and laughing until your eggnog comes out of your nose.


Step 1: Set the Scene


To start, you’ll need a group of willing participants. The more, the merrier and messier. Establish a gift price range that everyone is comfortable with. Maybe somewhere between $10. to $25. works for most folks. Remember, the goal is to have fun, not to take out a second mortgage to buy a luxury yacht for the exchange.


Step 2: The Gifts



Each participant brings a wrapped gift to the party. This is where the dirty part comes in. The gifts can range from the utterly bizarre like a rubber chicken purse, to the surprisingly useful (warm socks). The key is variety and, of course, a touch of cringe-worthy humor.


Step 3: Draw Numbers


Everyone should draw a number from a hat to determine the order of play. If you draw number one, congratulations yay you! You get first dibs and, as we’ll see, a bit of an advantage later.


Step 4: Let the Games Begin



Player number one kicks things off by selecting a gift from the pile. Then unwraps the gift for all to see and possibly envy. Try to keep a poker face, even if you just opened a can of dehydrated water.


Step 5: The Steal


Now the real fun starts. Player number two can either pick an unwrapped gift from the pile or steal the gift player number one is holding. If your prized can of dehydrated water gets stolen, don’t fret you get to choose another gift from the pile.


Step 6: Rinse and Repeat




This process continues with each subsequent player having the option to pick a new gift or steal an already opened one. Gifts can usually only be stolen a set number of times, typically three before they are “locked” and can no longer be swiped. This rule keeps the game from becoming a never-ending cycle of theft and tears. Who will end up with the Huge Red Grannie Panties?


Step 7: The Final Thief


Remember player number one? They get one last chance to keep their gift or steal Any unwrapped gift in the room. This often results in the final dramatic twist of the game, with player number one walking away with the coveted prize, or the most amusing gag gift, depending on their taste.


Pro Tips for Maximum Fun



Know Your Crowd: Tailor your gift to the group. If your friends appreciate offbeat humor, go wild with the weirdest gag gift you can find. If they’re more traditional, maybe lean towards quirky yet useful items.


Wrap Wisely: An oddly shaped or mysteriously heavy gift will pique curiosity. Creative wrapping can add an extra layer of fun to the unwrapping process.


Strategic Stealing: Pay attention to the gifts that are popular and plan your steals accordingly. A little bit of strategy can go a long way in Dirty Santa.


So folks, there you have it, that is everything you need to know on how to host or participate in a Dirty Santa gift exchange. Remember, the best part of Dirty Santa is the laughter and camaraderie it brings. The gifts are just the cherry on top.


While we are on the subject of winning gifts, if you want to be the star of the gift exchange with the most hilarious and unforgettable gift, look no further than Naughty Gnome. Our selection of cringey, wacky, tacky, and downright funny gifts will guarantee your contribution is the talk of the party. Choose from outrageous items to unforgetable naughty surprises, Naughty Gnome has everything you need to ensure your Dirty Santa gift exchange is a roaring success. Let the party begin!












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