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5 Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas for Big Families

Having a big family can mean more excitement and merriment throughout the holidays, but it can also make a Christmas gift exchange problematic in some ways. Here are out top solutions for gift exchange ideas for big families.
christmas gift exchange ideas for big families
Updated: December 1, 2022

It’s the holiday season, and that means it’s a time of traditions, family, and gift giving. Having a big family can mean more excitement and merriment throughout the holidays, but it can also make a Christmas gift exchange problematic in some ways. 

More: 12 Days of Christmas Gift Ideas for the Whole Family

Buying presents for every single person in the family can be extremely costly. It can also produce excessive waste and make it difficult for families who are traveling to transport large numbers of presents. A focus on having a big gift for every single family member can also take up time and take away opportunities for fun and social interaction on Christmas day. Fortunately, there are many fun and creative ways to have a Christmas gift exchange with big families that allow for new traditions and quality time spent together. 

Christmas Family Scavenger Hunt

family on Christmas scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are fun for all ages, and they can be awesome intergenerational activities. With a large number of people you can create teams in advance so that each team has a mix of generations represented. Clues around the house, yard, or park depending upon what kind of space you have access to can offer small gifts along the way or lead to a larger gift that can be shared by the team when the scavenger hunt is complete. Check out these Christmas riddles and clues if you need a little inspiration for your Christmas-themed scavenger hunt.

Vacation Together

family exchanging gifts on vacation at beach

Instead of focusing on the exchange of gifts, why not gather family together for a new tradition that involves making memories together? Agree to forego gifts and to gift yourself with an amazing experience that will allow you time to be together in special circumstances. Whether it’s camping, skiing, a cruise, or a cozy country cabin shared by all, the quality time together will always be remembered.

Secret Santa

big family doing secret santa gift exchange

This tradition is filled with excitement and the element of surprise, yet it cuts down on spending, time, and waste. Simply pick names out of a hat to assign each family member with the name of another family member to buy for. You can set a price limit in advance, and then each family member will only have to buy for one person.

Christmas Present Game

big family playing Christmas present game

Along the same lines, you can have each guest bring one wrapped present that would be enjoyed by most family members attending. Then you can sit down to play a Christmas game with dice to make the gift exchange even more exciting. This game has each person either keeping their gift, stealing another person’s gift, or having everyone pass their gift to the left or right. This will make for a fun time for everyone and it will heighten the element of surprise as family members finally receive their gifts. You can also try a spin on the classic game show, Family Feud, with this Christmas Feud game.

DIY Christmas Gifts

woman wrapping diy christmas gift of chocolate

Why not create a Christmas gift challenge with a do-it-yourself theme this season? This can lead to so many fun gift contributions that can be shared amongst the large group - or you can use this as a variation of Secret Santa. There are many options for how people can contribute: baking cookies, creating art, playing music, singing songs, knitting scarves, filling jars with candy or baked good mixes, and so much more. You can also try options like this one where you use printables to make Christmas dates or experiences in a box for family members. If you’re not the most creative of families, you can always tap into your family’s kindness by committing to random acts of Christmas kindness for all attending. Everyone’s efforts will be so appreciated, creativity will be stoked, and presents will be valued by all.

Looking to have a simpler Christmas this year with less stuff and more joy? Check out our Guide to Having a Minimalist Christmas with Kids.

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a Pinterest guide to Christmas gift exchange ideas for big families

Charise Rohm Nulsen

About Charise

Charise is a Travel Planner and founder of Experience the Dream Travel, specializing in… Read more

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