on Dec 13, 2008


I did not make up this game. I don’t know who made it up or where I got it from because it’s been a tradition in my family for YEARS. But I want to share it because it makes for a cheap activity to do at Christmas and avoids guests having to buy expensive presents for the other guest while still making everybody feel they got loads of presents.

Photo by Compromised Exposure

First of all you will need a pair of dice. Next, go to the dollar store or to Target or Walmart or wherever and buy a lot of crap. It is usually good if the stuff you buy is heavy, but choose whatever is cheap and fun. Here are some examples of stuff you can buy:

A Costco sized can of tuna

A big bar of soap

Toilet paper

A bag or jar of candy
Used books
An old phonebook


I would recommend 2 to 3 presents per person although this will totally depend on the amount of people present. Don’t personalize the stuff you buy. (With this I mean, don’t buy that brand of coffee uncle Ed loves, because chances are he will not end up getting it, you will understand why in a bit) We also like to buy one ‘good’ present, usually a gift certificate so that anybody who wins it can make use of it.

Now the tricky part is wrapping the presents. You have to wrap them so that nobody can tell what they are by looking, touching, or shaking them. If you bought toilet paper put it in a box with something heavy so whoever lifts it thinks it’s something good. If you lift a big box with no effort, you are automatically going to think it’s empty. Note that light and small presents are usually not very popular. Don’t just put the gift certificate in an envelope because everybody will know what it is. If you got a cd or a book, don’t just wrap it as is, try smoothing the edges with cotton or newspaper to disguise the shape. You can use any gifts from your office that you don’t want. Diaries, brownie baskets and figurines will serve the purpose, and it’s a good way to get rid of them. Don’t label the gifts, they are for the whole party of guests, not for specific people.

After dinner, or whenever it suits you best, (we do it after dinner because it’s when the table is clear and people usually run out of stuff to do/ talk about) put all the gifts on the table. Sit around the table and roll the dice. If you get an even number, you get to choose a gift. Take it and put it somewhere next to you but don’t over shake, touch, look, etc. Do this clockwise around the table until there are no more gifts left. Now for the fun part!! Agree on a number of rounds. We usually do 3-4 but it really depends on the number of guests and presents. Roll the dice again, (we go counter clock wise for these rounds) and if you get an odd number you get to STEAL a present from somebody else. Let’s say you really wanted that big, heavy box but somebody chose it before you got your even number during the first round. Now you can take it from that person. And that person can take back it from you on the next round!

This is the fun part because usually people start fighting over one or two particular gifts, thinking they will be amazing (remember nobody but you knows they are mostly crap) It creates lots of laughter, jokes, family strategy planning, etc. When the rounds are over, everybody gets to open their presents. It is very, very funny to watch people realize they have been fighting for the toilet paper.
There are two ways of doing this, and it will totally depend on your personal style. One is to do it on your own if you are the host or a guest that doesn’t want to arrive empty handed. The other is to ask your guests to bring some presents too, without giving too much away. In my opinion it’s the most fun to host it by yourself the first Christmas, and have people participate with presents of their own the following holidays once they get what the whole thing is about.

I really like this game because this way everybody gets to unwrap loads of presents, nobody broke the bank, and it is an extra activity for the dull after dinner part of the party. Like I said before, you can get everybody to participate bringing say 10 crappy presents and one ‘good’ one (fix a price if you want) and that way experienced people in the game still have something to look forward to.


Bethtastic said...

I've been wondering where you were! Sorry about your computer. Dang it. I hate when stuff like that happens!

Merry Christmas, in spite of it all, Dynamita!