gifts-1Schae Richards, managing editor 

When it comes to gift exchanges, do you ever fall short on ideas? Chances are, you start a tradition and stick with it. This Christmas, step out of that “safe” zone and consider these six activities to play when trading gifts with your loved ones.

1. Auction: A family auction is the perfect way to exchange gifts with a larger group. Make your own money with some colored paper and a clever family logo. Line up all unwrapped gifts on a table and have the designated auctioneer start the bidding. The person with the highest bid gets that specific gift. Remember to ensure everyone gets the same amount or value.

2. Christmas Trivia: Quiz your family’s holiday knowledge with a set of trivia questions. Download a list from the Internet or create your own. Place all wrapped gifts in the center and have the designated speaker read the questions. The first person to raise their hand gets to answer the question. If they answer correctly, they may choose one gift from the pile; if they answer incorrectly, they skip the next round. Continue to play until every person has a gift.

3. Left and Right: This game will keep your family laughing. Find or create a story that includes various uses of the words “left” and “right” and read it aloud. Have everyone sit in a circle holding his or her wrapped gift. The rules are simple: Pass a gift to the person on your left or right, depending what the reader says. When the story is finished, open the gift you’re holding.

4. Musical Gifts: It’s a classic passing game with a musical twist. Have everyone make a circle and select a gift to start with. When the music starts, pass the gift clockwise until the music stops; the person holding the gift will open it and then leave the circle. Grab a different gift and start the music again. This time, the person holding the gift can either unwrap it or steal from a person who has left the circle. Repeat until every person has a gift.

5. Roll for It: If you’re hot with the dice, you will love this game. Have everyone form a circle and place their wrapped gift in the middle. Hand a set of dice to a random person to start. Take turns rolling until someone lands doubles — that person may select one gift to unwrap. When another person rolls a double, they can either choose a gift to unwrap or steal another person’s.

6. Swip Swap: Ready or not, get ready to swap! Write several random “switch with” phrases on small pieces of paper. Have everyone sit in a circle with his or her wrapped gift and have a random person pick a phrase to read aloud. For example, the paper may read, “Switch with someone wearing red,” or “Switch with someone with the most Facebook friends.” Whoever it identifies will trade their gift with someone else in the group.