Left-Right Christmas Gift Exchange

The soon-to-be here Christmas holiday often has people wondering how to do a gift exchange. Here's a fun way that's good for parties, group gatherings, teens and adults: Have everyone bring a gift ($10 or less) and sit in a big circle holding their gift. Then, read this story out loud and every time they hear "left" they pass the gift they are holding left. Every time they hear "right" they pass the gift they are holding right. At the end of the story whatever gift they have in their hands is theirs to keep. Here's the story:


Christmas was almost here, and Mother (RIGHT) was finishing the Christmas baking.

Father (RIGHT), Sue (RIGHT), and Billy (RIGHT) returned from their last-minute Christmas errands.

"There's not much (LEFT) to be done," said Father (RIGHT) as he came into the kitchen.

"Did you leave the basket of food at church?" asked Mother (RIGHT).

"I (LEFT) it (RIGHT) where you told me to," said Father (RIGHT).

"I'm glad my shopping is done," said Billy (RIGHT). "I don't have any money (LEFT)."

The hall telephone rang, and Susan (RIGHT) (LEFT) to answer it.

She rushed back and told the family "Aunt Tillie (RIGHT) (LEFT) a package for us (RIGHT) on Grandma (RIGHT)'s porch.

I'll go over there (RIGHT) now and get it." she said as she (LEFT) in a rush.

Father (RIGHT) (LEFT) the kitchen and brought in the Christmas tree.


By the time Susan (RIGHT) returned, Mother (RIGHT), Father (RIGHT), and Billy (RIGHT) had begun trimming the tree.

The entire (RIGHT) family sang carols as they finished the decorating.

Then they (LEFT) all the presents arranged under the tree and went to bed, hoping they had selected the (RIGHT) gifts for their family.

Now I hope you have the (RIGHT) present for yourself, because that's all that's (LEFT) of our story.

Except to wish you a Merry Christmas. Isn't that (RIGHT)?

By Diane from Rochester, NY

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November 29, 20100 found this helpful

This is great! We are always looking for different ways to exchange our gag gifts on Christmas Eve.


We will definitely be using this from now on! Thank you for a wonderful suggestion!

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November 29, 20100 found this helpful

A group of us friends get together every year for a Christmas Cookie Exchange. We play fun (silly) games and always do the Right Family gift exchange. As many times as we've done it, we never get tired of it. There's always someone who messes up and we laugh and giggle like kids. One thing I always do is I print it on nice Christmas stationery. And if I use red for the body of the letter I will make the Right and Left in Bold green. Any two contrasting colors will work. Just co-ordinate it with your paper.
Margaret from Denton, Texas

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November 29, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you! this is new to me and I (we) have experienced the kind where you take gifts and then they are switched in different ways.


We have found some people not really nice in their wheeling and dealing which has put a damper on what was supposed to be a "fun" game. Can't wait to try it this way. Merry Christmas!

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November 30, 20100 found this helpful

That sounds like so much fun! I'm going to suggest this to my friend who has an ornament swap party every year.

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December 7, 20100 found this helpful

About 20+ years ago, my late mother and I were with a large family gathering at Christmastime, and we did this game. Toward the end, I ended up with something I really liked (a red plastic Christmas bathroom set, with cup, soapdish and toothbrush holder, with a Peanuts-Snoopy design), so I left the circle and said "I'm not passing this on, I want it!" I still have it and put it out every year!


As it turned out, the game was over, but a couple of minutes later, a cousin said she forgot to tell us to make one more pass to the left. So she messed up, and if she hadn't and I had stayed, I would have lost my nice bathroom set. All's well that ends well!

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December 21, 20100 found this helpful

Merry Christmas to all of you! Thanks to your kind responses, this suggestion won the contest to my surprise! :D.What a great Christmas surprise for me! Love it! I took the chance to submit it figuring someone might be looking for a different way to do a gift exchange if they hadn't heard of this before (it really IS a lot of laughs because you do get messed up. lol). I've done those other gift swap things and I know what you mean about people getting pretty "grabby" when they spot something.


I like that this game works for all age groups, and there's that fun "punch line" at the end for that one last switch!! Glad everyone liked it and keep passing it on :D.

And Pixiedust7: I'm glad it brought back a fond memory for you with your Snoopy bath set.Thanks for sharing!

That's a good idea to print it out and make the left and right words in a contrasting color (which I do have but of course, doesn't show here); why not print out a copy, roll it up and tie a ribbon around it to pass out to every guest for them to keep?

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