Gift Grabbers Auction

Each holiday season we join with our loved ones in sharing centuries-old traditions such as exchanging gifts, festive foods, and family get-togethers. We traditionally do this in my family by me screaming at the children to clean their rooms for a week. Cooking every recipe known to man that requires a quarter teaspoon of a spice I do not own. Wrapping gifts till all the tape is gone and I have more paper cuts than band-aids.


Cleaning out the medicine cabinet of embarrassing items because nosy family members will look when visiting, and the traditional putting out of the ugly gifts from family members from past holidays hidden in the closet. If the game of acting like it is a pleasure to host forty-seven relatives is not enough, how about our game of Gift Grabbers.

Each year after the turkey, ham, and ducks have been properly eaten, we all gather for the ceremony of gift giving. Presents are arranged around the tree, stacked as high as possible. We do not hand out presents to each individual at our home. The children are restless and want the fun to begin, so they are allowed to open all of their gifts. Each choose a handful of fun and off to the playroom they go. Now the adults get to have fun. Gift grabbers is adult only, cutthroat, laughter filled, and always entertaining. You must buy your gifts at the Christmas present auction before it is grabbed up by someone else.


One thousand dollars of fake money is handed out to each relative in attendance. The object of the game is to buy all of the presents that are addressed to you. Plus you also want to have the most money left to buy the mystery gift at the end of the evening. The mystery gift from years past have been a gift card at Lowes, a digital camera, a rotten egg, a roll of toilet paper, and a trip to Cancun. This year the mystery gift is a Wii game system.

The auctioneer auctions off gifts in random order to the highest bidder. Generally, the bids start small and most people let the person whom the gift is addressed to win the bid. As the gifts are sold, the bidding gets higher and people start grabbing other people's gifts from them. You are not allowed to open a gift that is not addressed to you, but you can hold it hostage.


After all the gifts have been auctioned off. You are allowed to open the presents you have bought that are addressed to you. The remaining gifts must be sold to their intended owner at your price. Now the hilarity begins. Begging has been seen in the past, extremely high prices are put on some wrapped treasures, and promises of mowing the yard for a yard have been penned in writing.

The gift grabbers continue to sell their packages over dessert and coffee. The children have now joined the clan for the pumpkin pie and mounds of cool-whip. Sad to see some parents using their children to barter with grandparents for a gift that their parents want to unwrap. Sad, maybe, but funny all the same. Kisses and hugs are often used to soften some higher prices for a bargain.


At the end of the evening, ten minutes is announced that all gifts must be sold or handed over for free. Now the chaos begins. If the gift grabber does not successfully sell all of the extra gifts they have, they are not allowed to bid on the mystery gift. We have never had a gift go unsold to the person the gift was actually designed for. Laughter and handshakes between the men happen at this point as they are always a tad more competitive than the women.

The mystery gift is then auctioned off to the highest bidder. You are not allowed to give money to others and you can not pool your money together. It is an individual bid. The winner then must open the mystery gift in front of all, and it declared the gift grabber winner. They become the auctioneer for next Christmas as an added bonus.


It is a game that has many memories attached, and something the children look forward to doing as they graduate from high school and become an adult. It is a wonderful Christmas game that allows everyone to interact and to be involved in.

The game is a great way for those family members that do not receive as many gifts as others to win a great mystery gift. They do not have to bid on as many gifts with their name attached. Plus, the fun and excitement overpowers the ugly socks you received as a gift from your great aunt. It is a wonderful adult game that brings out surprises each year. Who knew that sweet great grandma was a cut throat bidder and tripled all her prices on gifts she grabbed at the auction. Couples always have fun buying their mates gifts and forcing them to make promises to get them back.


Christmas is a time of giving. Gift grabbers gives smiles, laughter, and togetherness in an unusual way. It gives a family a tradition that can never have a price attached. A family tradition is priceless. It is the best gift of all.

By Crystal from Branson

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October 20, 20080 found this helpful

What a great tradition, it sounds like a blast!Thanks for the story and the wonderful holiday idea.


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October 21, 20080 found this helpful

What a fantastic tradition and fun for the whole family. I wish many families can spend Christmas together this year. It is especially rare for 3 or 4 generations to gather together.

I don't have Christmas traditions but certainly can plan for one after reading your post.

Thanks for sharing!

May you have a wonderful Christmas!

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By tami (Guest Post)
October 25, 20080 found this helpful

I love it! This is awesome! Tami

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