Pick Your Present

Also known as a White Elephant or Yankee Swap
One wrapped present for each participant (can be provided by the host, or brought to the event by participants)

1. Making sure you have enough presents for each guest can be done one of two ways: either the host can provide all the gifts, or guests can be asked to bring one gift each. Either way, there should be enough gifts for each person to have one. (If guests are bringing gifts, set parameters, i.e., no spending over a certain amount, age range for gifts, food items or not, etc.). However you decide to do this, it is smart for the host to have a few extra gifts just in case someone unexpected shows up, or someone forgets to bring a gift.
2. The types of gifts purchased can be a variety of items. I suggest making them as funny and silly as possible. Some examples include: the Shake Weight, an ugly pair of socks, oven mitts, silly toys, funny salt shakers. You don't need to spend a lot of money..
3. The wrapping of these gifts should be interesting as well. Place small gifts in deceptively HUGE boxes, or odd-shaped gifts wrapped without boxes..
4. Place all the presents in a pile and have your guests form a large circle around the pile..
5. You can pass out numbers to determine a picking order, or your can decide turns on the spot.

How to Play

1. The first person to pick goes to the pile and chooses a gift, opens it, and shows everyone.
2. The second person has the option to steal the first player's gift, or to select their own present from the pile, in which case they open the present, show everyone, and sit down.
3. If a person has their gift stolen, they may do one of two things: either take a new gift from the pile, or steal someone else's present (with the exception of the one just stolen from them).
4. The funnier, the sillier, the more outrageous the gifts are, the better the game will be!


1. Once all the gifts are opened, you can have people barter with one another to gain the present they really want. Someone might offer up a back rub or homemade dessert to get that Shake Weight...
2. Set a limit on how many times a present can be stolen, say 3 to 5 times. Once a present can not be stolen anymore, the owner should put it under their seat or behind their back so as to not cause confusion.


1. Keep the present opening and snatching moving along. This is why it's often smart to hand out numbers so people know when they are next in the line-up.
2. Enforce the rules, but be careful with really young children. They can get upset if someone takes their presents, so for this reason I suggest this game for kids 8 years old and up.
3. It's fun to throw in one or two really good gifts that everyone will want. It makes the stealing more fun!

Activity Length
15 - 30 minutes
Mess Factor
Dustpan, please
Noise Level
Number of Players
5 to 10
10 to 20
As many as you can handle!
Prep Time
20 minutes or more
Space Needed
Small (a clearable open space the size of a 1-car garage)
Team Division
Every man for himself (individual players)