Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


Last Wed. night we had our high school small group guys christmas party. It consisted of pizza, cake, dodgeball, and 40 random gifts we exchanged- but not like it’s normally done in my world.

For starters, the gifts were all found by an adult volunteer whose wife works for a company that repossesses homes. Most people leave them pretty much trashed. So they contract with people to go in and fix/clean them up before they can be re-sold. As a result, our adult volunteer found all the gifts at the party left behind in the garages and such. He even found the wrapping paper he needed. This is good, because if you ask a group of 40 high school guys to bring gifts to a party, 5 of them will remember and 35 will forget. Also, of the 5 gifts that were remembered, 3 would have been bought by a mom and are actually worth having. The remaining two are wrapped in newspaper and found under their bed and probably disease infested. The other 35 guys are standing around claiming you never told them to bring anything and looking for junk at church they can wrap in toilet paper so they can play too. So, having an adult bring random stuff is at least as good as what they would have brought anyway.

Regardless, since I was trying not to let the gift exchange go on for forever, I was searched the web and found a sweet new way to play the age old game of gift exchanges. It turned out to be so much fun that I think I’ll do it again and surely lobby for it to replace the old drawing numbers and stealing until it’s frozen method.

So, here’s how it works- with a few changes I added in.

  1. Everyone brings a gift and puts it in the pile.
  2. In exchange for bringing their gift, they pick up a cup of 4 dice- not a number from a cup like I’m used to. (This was no big deal since I have like 200 dice in a bag for playing liars dice in large groups.)
  3. Then, one party leader directs everyone to pick up their cup, shake the dice, and turn them over under the cup on a table at the same time. Anyone who gets 3 of a kind, yells out some pre-determined saying. IE: “I got it” or “Santa is fake” or “Happy Birthday Jesus” or “Fruitcake” or whatever.
  4. Then in the order they were heard, they are allowed to go get a new, unopened gift only.
  5. This continues until like 3 people are left or something, then you just tell them to go pick a gift.
  6. Then, once everyone has a gift, you now go into a pre-designated number of exchange rounds in which you do the same thing. Except now, you change what the dice must read to win. One round might be a round where the winner gets two pairs. Another round might be for dice whose sum total is 11. Another might be 3 of a kind with even numbers only. Etc.
  7. Anyone who wins one of the above exchange rounds and yells out they have it, then can either keep their gift or trade their gift with anyone else. Gifts are only frozen for that round. (IE: if 3 people win, they can only trade with different people who did not also win. This way, winning can be like an immunity shield for your gift too for a round if you’d rather not trade) However, all gifts are active for exchange in every round, no matter how many times they have been stolen- so there is incentive to want to win every time. The trick is you must win a round of dice to be eligible to trade or protect your gift in the event you want to keep it.
This was tons of fun. Even for gifts that were mostly random junk they didn’t want and couldn’t use for the most part.

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