5 Perfect Holiday Gift Exchange Ideas

Exchanging presents at Christmas eveIt’s HEEEERE! Holiday time is officially here because Thanksgiving is done with. Need some ideas for a budget-friendly gift exchange with your roommates? Ugly Christmas sweaters on now, below are the BEST options for a gift exchange on a small OR large scale.


1. Start a Facebook Invite for your best friends and plan a holiday party in your apartment.

2. Each person wraps and brings a fun gift. It can be crazy, weird, fun…anything. Think of the spectrum as a wine bottle opener to a Chuck Norris blanket. Anything. The weirder, the better. And be sure to set a price limit. $10 or $15 works best for most of us.

3. At the party, each person in attendance draws a number, 1 through however many people there (ex. 10).

4. The friend with the #1 picks a present and unwraps it. Yay!

5. The #2 person can then choose to take #1’s present or open a new one. Then, the game goes on through the rest of the people at your party. (It’s best to choose the last number (ex. 10) because that person can choose any present or to open the last wrapped gift).


The fun here is that you’re not allowed to spend any money…

1. Find something random in your apartment. It can be a gag gift or something you like but don’t use.

2. Wrap it…again in something you already have. Old tissue paper, paper towels, aluminum foil…

3. Follow White Elephant instructions for the exchange!


1. Choose a impartial friend or a website (I recommend www.DrawNames.com).

2. Include all of your roommates in the drawing. Each of you will choose the name of one roommate.

3. Buy the perfect present for the roommate you drew!

4. Plan a night to exchange gifts and watch your roomie be WOW-ed by your gift!


1. Draw names for your friends and keep it secret.

2. Donate $10-$20 to a charity in their name that they would appreciate. (Animal lover? Think ASPCA)

3. Write them a note explaining your choice.


1. Get together and choose something all of you like. (My apartment is considering Mantra Bands, but it could be a fun night out or a small trip)

2. Treat yourselves! Get your own gift and enjoy the connection you’ve forged with your friends.

Not sure what to get them? …These won’t break the budget:

– Gift Card to Starbucks/Publix/Local food joint. Food = love.

– Bottle of wine…who doesn’t love that?

– Card with a nice message inside. Think of why you like living with them or thank them for something they did nice recently.

– Picture frames! Include pictures of your apartment having fun or leave them blank.

– Candy, their favorites, in a cute Christmas bag.

– Copy of your favorite book that they would also enjoy.

– Pack of their favorite Keurig Cups or coffee blend with candy canes.

– Live with girls? Anything monogrammed.

– Blank journal for them to record their life and thoughts in.

Also check out my fellow blogger Melissa’s thoughts on roommate gifts. Or read blogger Alex’ post for a guy’s take on holiday gifts.

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Author My First Apartment

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Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

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