Dirty Santa Gift Exchange

It is no surprise that December is a special month of the year and people all across the globe eagerly await holidays to join friends and family celebrate Christmas and the New Years. The trees are decorated, special cookies are baked and everyone seems to be in great, festive mood.

It's a custom to buy people we care about thoughtful presents. Parents buy their children gifts and pretend it was Santa, coworkers show appreciation towards each other with thoughtful gifts and even businesses treat each-other with baskets of goodies to say thank you and keep in touch.

But the gift giving does not stop there, larger groups of people, such as huge family gatherings, company party events and social clubs will often also partake in Christmas gift exchange. Because there usually is a lot of people involved in such events, it would not be feasible for everyone to get a gift for everyone else, so a great, fun and funny alternative gift exchange tradition of Dirty Santa is born!

What Is Dirty Santa?

So you've heard a lot about this holiday gift exchange and now you want to find out what exactly is Dirty Santa and what is it all about. Simply put, Dirty Santa is a Christmas Party Gift Exchange Game, but that's not all of it.

First of all, a Dirty Santa is a Santa, or a person bringing a gift, with an intention to give you a terrible GAG gift and take the better gift away from you. So if you are participating in a Dirty Santa gift exchange, you yourself along with all the other players are all Dirty Santas. Makes sense?

The Party itself is called the Dirty Santa party, because all the Dirty Santas get together for the holiday gift exchange to steal all the good gifts from each other, to laugh, to play, to enjoy presence of family, friends or coworkers.

Dirty Santa Tradition

You might be wondering about the history of Dirty Santa gift exchange. Where did this holiday tradition originate and why? When and where was the very first Dirty Santa party held? To understand the roots of this yearly holiday game, we must examine two quite unrelated traditions: Tradition of Christmas gift exchange and the tradition of burdensome gift giving that took place in the ancient past. While there are many myths and theories regarding the origins of Dirty Santa exchange, common sense points at the most obvious story. Read all but the history in the traditions and origins section.

Playing Dirty Santa

There are no confusions when it comes to how the Dirty Santa game takes place. Although there are some basic rules, you are free to set and follow a modified version of Dirty Santa exchange, which may include a set amount of price limit for gifts, themes for types of gifts that everyone must bring and even the number of times a gift can be stolen or number of times a person can be stolen from.

For the basic Dirty Santa game play, you will need 6 or more people. Although less people could play the game, it's more fun to have more people, more gifts to open and more stealing. The sating: "The more the merrier" has never been more appropriate.

Basic game play goes like this: Everyone is assigned a random number. Then each player starts opening presents or stealing opened presents from each other. The stealing and opening goes on until a pre determined game stopper occurs. When the game ends, everyone gets stuck with the gift in their hand, so you better have stolen the best gift by then. If you'd like more details, read the playing instructions.

Dirty Santa Party

Although the name Dirty Santa may seem like implying to be bad and greedy, the real reason behind the Dirty Santa party is to share special moments of joy and happiness with family members, friends, coworkers and people we socialize with. The whole party is about laughing, getting lost in the moment of fun gift swapping and watching everyone fight over useless and sometimes useful toys and gifts. The party atmosphere, as the name implies, is full of pranks and humor, and can be great fun for adults as well as children. If you'd like to know more about hosting or going to a Dirty Santa party, look at our party guide.

Organizing Dirty Santa

Most of us are invited to events around Christmas, but sometimes it is up to us to organize a Christmas gathering, so if you've been tasked or chosen to plan, organize and book a Dirty Santa exchange, you will want to keep a few important points in mind.

The best Dirty Santa event is the one with well set out rules and expectations. As an organizer, it will be your responsibility to set and enforce rules, set the theme, budget and choose the variation of the game that the player will play at the party. Make sure to have go through the planning checklist

Themes For Dirty Santa

The fun part about Dirty Santa gift exchange, is that it allows for the gifts to be under a certain theme. While it may introduce a bit of a challenge in certain circumstances, it does not have to, and if chosen well, a theme may even give a great structure to your Dirty Santa party.

Although most Dirty Santa parties will simply set a maximum amount to be spent on a gift, lot of times the organizer will set the theme as well. This is important because it defines what type of gifts will be accepted at the party. If you are going to a themed Dirty Santa exchange, make sure your gift falls under the defined theme category. Here is more in depth view on Dirty Santa themes

Can You Win Dirty Santa?

If you are going to a Dirty Santa party, you have already won, as the spirit of Christmas is to have a great time, laugh and enjoy the evening. At the same time, we all know that if we had a chance to improve our odds of ending up with the better gift in the end, we'd take it. Most people playing Dirty Santa will be completely unprepared and hope to get the better gift, but it's natural to wonder if there is a strategy that can put you at better odds of winning the best gift. Explore the tips and strategies for winning in out strategy section

Dirty Santa Budget

You might be wondering what the most appropriate amount for a Dirty Santa present would be. How much should you spend? What's a decent amount for a good gift? You may also be on a strict budget and be looking for gifts that re very cheap or even almost free. Read more about budgeting for a Dirty Santa exchange.

Typical Gifts For Dirty Santa

What should be the best gift for a Dirty Santa gift exchange? Well, first of all, if the organizer has set the gift theme, you must follow it. Don't be THAT person that shows up with a gift that's not within a theme. If everyone is bringing inappropriately shaped cookies, you must follow suit.

But if you are free to bring any gift you want with or without a budget, you will most definitely want to set you mind of some funny, GAG and if the setting allows: inappropriate gifts! Time passes and no one remembers the silly gifts, but the fun experience and laugher caused by well selected Dirty Santa gifts lasts forever.

Finding an awesome Dirty Santa gift will be a breeze on our gifts page!

Few Gift Ideas - more

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Dirty Santa Facts

You don't have to stick with regular Dirty Santa gifts and can set a theme as part of the game rules. For example a theme could be "Funny Mugs", "Candles", "Funny Clothing" or just about anything.

When planning a Dirty Santa Party, the organizers must set a maximum amount allowed to be spent on a gift. The most common amount set in rules and spent happens to be 20 dollars.

Unveiling a gift can be as fun as the gift itself, this is why as a trick, people love to wrap a gift many many times to make unwrapping pain in the butt for the recipient. Frustration on the face of the giftee can be priceless.