Everyone loves a good game for exchanging Christmas gifts. Most people go for the traditional white elephant. Probably you've played the game but maybe you have no idea where it originated from.
The white elephant came from Asian countries where it is considered holy and rare. It is also very expensive to take care of. When a king was displeased with someone he would bestow a gift of a white elephant. It would usually end up causing the person to go bankrupt from trying to take care of the elephant; it's maintenance exceeded it's usefulness. And thus we have a white elephant gift exchange where we bestow our unwanted or useless items on our friends. Fortunately we are not doing this to financially ruin them. Typically it's done to get a good laugh or joke out of the gift.
In my circle of friends the game for the white elephant is started by all participants drawing a number. Number 1 goes first, and so on. You can choose any wrapped gift to open. On all subsequent turns the person may choose a previously opened gift, or a new gift. Once your gift is stolen from you, you may choose a previously opened gift or a new gift. The turn ends when a gift is unwrapped. I play with two rules for stealing; once a present has been stolen 3 times it is off limits and no longer open for play in the game. The other rule, you can't steal from someone who has just stolen from you, i.e. you can't take your stolen present directly back. The game continues until all presents have been unwrapped, and each person has a gift.
On Saturday I had a Christmas party with some friends of mine and we had an ornament gift exchange. This time we wanted to try something new! We had all done a white elephant exchange before, some of us the previous night.
We had a cobweb gift exchange, which was popular during the Victorian Era. You choose a room for the game and assign each person a different skein of yarn. We tried to stick with red and greens to make it festive. Before the party you zigzag all over the room. Under chairs, around the curtains, in the bookshelf, under couch cushions, a huge tangled web of yarn. One end of the yarn is tied to the gift and hidden somewhere you can't see it. The other end is given to the player of the game. Once you say, "Go" everyone untangles their strings.
It really was a fun idea! It took about 20 minutes for me and my mom to tangle the web, and only about 5 to 10 minutes for us to untangle it. The work was worth it. Next time you have a gift exchange, try something new!
Before the web was untangled we took a picture in the middle of it. Funny thing, we didn't pay much attention to whose gift was on the end of what string and all of us except for one got our own gifts. (You might want to work that out before you begin.) We did some quick thinking and read a left/right Christmas story.
To do this exchange, you simply sit in a circle and pass your present the direction that the story dictates. If you hear the word "left" you pass to the left. And if you hear the word "right" you pass your gift to the right.
"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble."