11 Games Like Secret Santa That Are Just As Fun

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While the holiday season is arguably one of the most joyful and festive times of the year, it's also one of the most stressful — especially when it comes to getting the people you love gifts. In a perfect, adult world, we'd all be given a present allowance that would give us the ability to get everyone the perfect gift while still being able to pay rent and not go completely broke. Alas, while I'll keep calling my representatives about that proposal, there are other ways to keep afloat during the gift giving season — like, for instance, gift-exchange games with a price limit. And no, I don't just mean Secret Santa. I'm talking unique gift-giving games other than Secret Santa.

Here, I've put together a list of games that will allow you to celebrate the holidays with all of your peeps without going broke. From book swaps to re-gifting games to group charity donations, there are so many ways you can give and give back without getting your power turned off. Just get your friends together on an email chain, pick a game, and start assigning. And while you're at it, you might want to suggest playing one of these games with your family, to help everyone save some money this year.

Mystery Gift

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Have all your friends or co-workers buy a gift and wrap it so that its silhouette is obviously. Once everyone has their gifts, sit around in a circle and, one at a time, show the group your gift. The first person to guess what it is gets to keep it.

Thematic Gifting

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Even when you're buying a gift for a close friend and with a set budget, it can be impossible to find the right thing. Make things easier on everyone by choosing a group theme. Ideas might include: French-inspired, tech accessories, green beauty, or foodie tools.

The Regift Game

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For a group of friends or co-workers who enjoy gag gifts, this is a great game. Bring a wrapped gift — it can be something someone gave to you, something funny, or something random. Have everyone take turns selecting a gift from a pile. The first person up will open a gift, then the second person will have the option to steal that gift or open a new one. If they steal it, have the first person pick another gift. (This game might quickly turn into mayhem, though, so make sure you do this with a group that has a sense of humor.)

Book Swap

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Have each person bring a book that they love, but are willing to let go of. Then once you're all together, have each person gift the book to someone in the group who they think will appreciate it. That personal touch will likely make the person more inclined to actually read it.

Grab Bag

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Assign your participants to get a gift that's small enough to fit in a shopping bag with many other gifts. Then, once everyone has arrived with their gifts, place them all inside of  the bag and have your guests fish out a gift without looking.

Caffeine Swap

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This is best for an office environment, because no one understands your need for caffeine like your co-workers. Draw names out of a hat, Secret Santa style, and have each person buy their gift recipient a special mug with a box of coffee or tea that they would enjoy.

Donation Game

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Instead of swapping gifts, pick a charity that you and your friends all want to support, and donate together to make a big impact.

Prelude To Potluck

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Instead of playing Secret Santa, have all of your friends put the name of their favorite dish on a piece of paper, and then place that paper into a bowl. Have each friend then fish out a piece of paper with their eyes closed. Whatever they draw is going to be the dish they're going to have to make for a potluck dinner that you have later on in the week.

Best Match Gift

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After all of your friends or co-workers or family members get a gift (within the same price range) have them bring it to a gathering. One at a time, have each person list out some qualities about the gift, inviting people to raise a hand if they're enticed. For example, if you purchased a gift certificate to iTunes, you might say, "raise your hand if you don't have enough music on your phone, or have a backlog of movies you missed in theaters." That way, the gift will go to the right person.

Wish List

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On a piece of paper, write down your name, and five gift options that you're really hoping for this holiday season. Then fold up the paper, put it into a bowl with the other participants papers, and have each guest blindly pick a new piece of paper. It's similar to Secret Santa, but with a better chance of making your recipient happy with their gift.

Musical Presents

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You remember musical chairs — this is the similar. Instead of you moving around, you're going to pass your presents around. When the music stops, the gift in your hands is the gift you get to keep.