On the 22nd Day of Blogmas…

Each Christmas as our extended family gathers at my grandmother’s house, there are certain traditions that take place. One of those annual traditions is a gift exchange among the “grown-ups” in the family.

This type of exchange goes by a number of names. I typically refer to it as the “Dirty Santa” exchange. It’s the kind of game where everyone brings a gift and puts it in a pile in the middle. At the start, every participant draws a random number. Whoever gets number one kicks things off by choosing and opening a present from the pile.

The next person then has a choice to make… They can steal Number One’s newly opened gift or they can go to they pile and take their chances on whatever the next surprise could be.

Of course, the rules can vary, depending on the group with whom you’re playing. In my family, we typically limit the number of times a specific item can be stolen. For example: let’s say Number One opens something that is coveted by many members of the group. If that item can only be stolen three times at most, that means that Number Two can steal it from One (who then gets a new gift from the pile). Then Number Three can steal the same thing from Two, leaving Two with the choice to steal again from One or pick something new. Then if Number Four decides to steal that first gift that was so popular, it stays with them, because that’s the third time stolen.

Does that make sense? Clear as mud?

That’s about how well we understand it when the rules are explained every year.

Anyway, the other thing we tend to do is give the Number One person a chance to basically take whatever they want at the end of the game. They get to choose out of everything that has been opened. So the best number to draw is one. The worst is two.

There are, I would assume, several schools of thought when it comes to bringing gifts for this exchange game. What sort of gift are you throwing into the pile? Are you taking something that no one will want? Are you taking something that you hope will be the one that gets stolen the most? Are you taking a gift that you hope gets the most laughs?

Me… I go with a gift that I know I would not mind walking away with. That way, if I get stuck with what I brought, I’ll be happy enough with the results.

Most of the time, that’s not how it works, though. More often than not, I get stuck with cute little coffee sets (I don’t drink coffee) or chocolate gift boxes (I don’t like chocolate). That’s typically how my luck runs on these gift exchanges.


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