When you are a college student, you have to start thinking about gifts for the holidays earlier than the rest of the world. Why? All of your college friends will head home as soon as the semester ends, which is long before Christmas Day. The stressful atmosphere of finals week isn’t exactly an ideal time to coordinate an event either.
This means that you’ll need to start planning a gift exchange quickly. All you need is a group of willing friends and a great idea to pull it all together.
A great gift exchange doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. If you set a price limit or choose a theme that doesn’t require a purchase at all, you can enjoy all the fun while saving money. Pinterest has a plethora of ideas for how you can organize a fun holiday activity with your friends.
Secret Santa is one of the more classic types of gift exchanges. The leader assigns each person to bring a gift for one other specific person. The giver’s identity is secret until the gifts are opened.
This activity is a great way to give and receive personalized gifts without having to buy something for everyone. If you have a flair for the traditional while making everyone feel special, Secret Santa is perfect for you.
However, Secret Santa only works if everyone is guaranteed to participate. There’s nothing more saddening than showing up to a gift exchange and finding out that the person who was supposed to buy you a gift either didn’t show up or didn’t bring anything.
Secret Santa also is more of a success when everyone knows each other and can pick out something that the recipient will enjoy.
Although some people use the term white elephant and gift exchange synonymously, a true white elephant exchange means bringing an odd item that you normally wouldn’t give as a Christmas gift. Anything from a can of Spam to antique salt and pepper shakers can be given. Finding old junk from around the house makes it easy to give a gift without spending a penny.
The key to organizing a successful white elephant is a humorous and lighthearted group. If you have a bunch of creative friends who love to laugh, choose to organize this type of gift exchange.
Let’s face it — some of us head to the store to buy one gift and end up walking the aisles for hours with no clue what to get. Agonizing over finding the “perfect gift” for your Secret Santa match or coming up with a clever white elephant gift can add unnecessary stress during an already tense time of the semester.
Themed gift exchanges solve the problem by providing participants with a gift category, like mugs, fuzzy socks or ugly sweaters. A theme also helps to standardize the gifts to ensure everyone leaves feeling like the exchange was conducted fairly.
If you want to save your guests the hassle of thinking of a gift idea from scratch, a themed exchange is the way to go. If you need help generating a theme, you can choose from one of these ideas:
- Fuzzy socks
- Ugly sweaters
- Snow globes
For more gift exchange ideas, explore Pinterest.