How to Draw Names for Christmas

women exchanging Christmas gifts

Many families draw names for Christmas gifts. This is an economical and labor-saving tool, as it cuts down on long gift lists and saves time looking for the perfect Christmas present for multiple people.

Christmas Gift Name Pairing

With this handy widget, your gift pairing is made easy. Simply input all the names in your group, separated by a comma, and click on "create list." The widget will randomly pair up people to evenly distribute a gift for each person.

Organizing a Christmas Gift Name Drawing

Organizing a name drawing can be complicated if your family hasn't done it before or if you want to switch the rules up a little bit. Names should be drawn well in advance of Christmas and with as many people available to choose their recipient. For many families, this is done at the Thanksgiving celebration, with another family member standing in for those who cannot attend.

Divide the Drawing

The next thing to decide is how to host the actual drawing. Is everyone's name going to be thrown in a hat or bowl together, or will you divide the family up into groups? Common groupings in the Christmas gift drawing include:

  • Men, women, teens under 18 and children under 10 in their own drawings
  • Age groups for everyone
  • Families draw family names out (for example, a brother and his family might draw his sister's name and her family)

The next thing to decide is whether the parents or grandparents are to be included in the drawing. Sometimes each person or family gives a gift to the grandparents/parents themselves and the grandparents/parents give everyone a gift, too. Other times, this isn't feasible for all parties and only young children receive gifts from the grandparents/parents. Sometimes the parents/grandparents are included in the drawing to make things fair for everyone.

Secret Drawing or Not

Once names have been drawn, decide whether the names selected should be kept secret. Both telling and keeping the secret have pros and cons. Telling who you drew can allow you to get better gift ideas, but also might ruin some of the fun for others. Decide as a group and then appoint one person to keep a master list, no matter what the decision.

Final Rules

Finally, set out a few final rules for everyone. A commonality among Christmas gift name drawings is the setting of a price limit. This is usually a dollar range, such as $15-$30, that everyone should aim to spend on the person they drew. This helps keep things fair. Other rules might include:

  • Setting a theme.
  • Deciding that gift cards aren't allowed.
  • Choosing to have everyone make homemade Christmas gifts instead of purchasing them.

Consider Participant Preferences

Every family has their own traditions regarding gift exchanges and drawing names, so be sure to check with everyone before you switch things up as far as the dollar amount or how to divide up the families' names. This way no one feels left out or pressured to participate.

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How to Draw Names for Christmas