Home » Simplify Family Life » Holidays » 50 Christmas Gift Exchange Theme Ideas for Families

50 Christmas Gift Exchange Theme Ideas for Families

Looking for fun and unique Christmas gift theme ideas for family fun? This list is full of the perfect holiday gift exchange categories. Whether you’re on a budget or looking for the perfect gift, these holiday themes are sure to be a huge help. 

Family-Friendly Themes for Christmas Gift Exchange. Family wearing Santa hats exchanging holiday gifts.

Once the Christmas season rolls around, shopping and gift-giving seem to be on everyone’s mind. But what happens when you hit a wall and just don’t know what to buy? 

The good news is that these gift exchange ideas are fun, practical, and everything in between. When it comes to holiday shopping, adding a fun gift theme is a way to make it so much more fun. 

You’re going to love this list of fun holiday gift exchange theme ideas! 

Christmas Gift Themes for Families

Family doing a Christmas gift exchange.

It can be so hard to choose a present for a holiday gift exchange.

That is why I love the idea of selecting a theme for everyone involved in the gift giving.

Choosing a theme for your gift exchange makes shopping easier for everyone.

The fun part is seeing how everyone interprets the guidelines and seeing if anyone happens to buy each other the same gift. 

Here are some great gift exchange themes that your family and friends will love! 

Family-Friendly Gift Exchange Themes

Use this simple list of themed gift exchange ideas for your family gathering during the holiday season! With over 50 gift ideas, there is certain to be one or two you can all agree on.

Outdoor Items

Take advantage of this gift exchange to give eachother outdoor items that are perfect for winter. Outdoor gear for winter weather is always appreciated and could included anything from propane heaters, to sleds.

Fun Memories

Challenge the gift giver to think of a fun memory that they have with the person that they’re gifting, and then find the perfect gift to showcase that memory. Have the napkins handy in case the tears flow! This also opens the door for a unique homemade gift as well. 

Before and After

Think of these fun gift ideas as a set of gifts. Get something that reminds you of the person before and something that reminds you of them now. Remember – be nice, or you just might find coal in your stocking from Santa. 

Lost and Found

Who says that gifts have to be something that is bought? If you have a junk drawer in your house, go digging in there and find a treasure to give. 

Pet Gifts

Small black and white dog standing near a gift wrapped in brown paper with Christmas trees.

Everyone has a favorite pet in their life, and sometimes giving the pet a gift instead of the person is one of the best gift ideas ever. 

Less than $25

Pretty self-explanatory, right? Limit the purchase of the gift to less than $25. A lot of people use gift cards for this one! 

Less than $10

The same rule, with a price limit of $10. You can easily use any type of monetary limit that you want. 

White Elephant Gift Exchange

This might be one of the most common types of gift exchange for the holiday season, and it’s because it’s so low-pressure and fun. Basically, everyone buys a random gift and then gives the gift out to whoever’s name they draw. It’s a random gift given to a random person. 


The only rule about this gift is that it has to make the other person smile. The best part? The sillier, the better. 


Some houses refer to these types of jokes as “punny”. Others might label them “Dad jokes.” Whatever you call puns, this is what this gift is all about. You know you want to do “s’more” with these gifts, don’t you? 


Hot chocolate mix packaged in a glass mug for an edible Christmas Gift Exchange.

Edible gifts are some of the best gifts! You can give sweets, treats, spices, beverages, or anything to treat the taste buds. 

Second hand

Head to the local second-hand store and see what you can find. Set a budget, and have fun. Roaming the aisles and looking at the shelf will give you time to find the perfect “new to them” gift. 


This theme is one that can really mean so many things. Homeland candy, homemade food, homemade blanket – dig deep and create something to give. 

Candy or Food Theme

Or maybe both? This theme is one that can literally be anything. You can make the treat or head to the local bakery and get something delicious. 

Favorite Movie

Have everyone pick their favorite holiday movies and then find the perfect gift to showcase them. One of the best holiday movies is “A Christmas Story” – and the leg lamp is always a great gift idea! 


Book themes are always perfect for themed gift exchange ideas because you can pick so many different genres. Books are the perfect presents. 


Use this theme as a fun idea for the kids. They’re Disney-crazy, without a doubt, so this should be a fun one to shop for. 

Favorite Taylor Swift Song

Are you a Swiftie? Or maybe someone in your family is? Listen to the latest albums (Taylor Version only!) and think of a fun gift idea that you get from her songs. 

Christmas song

Speaking of songs, have a holiday song-themed gift idea. With so many popular holiday songs, you’ll be able to listen to the tunes and think of some great gifts. 

Favorite Color

Pick a color, and then find a gift that matches it. Easy peasy. For large families, try and give all the colors of the rainbow. 

Coffee mug

Holiday themed coffee mugs stacked on a store shelf.

Can anyone ever have too many coffee mugs? You can make this into a creative gift exchange by adding fun flavors of coffee in the mug. 

Cute PJ’s

Do you know what’s better than cute PJs? Matching PJs! Have fun with this theme, and see what all the options out there are. 


Can you imagine a holiday filled with nothing but cookies? With this idea presented, it might very well be a reality. Having a cookie swap is a tasty theme idea.

Book exchange

Reading is so much fun to do – and sharing book recommendations with others is part of that fun. If you have a great book, pass it on as a gift or create holiday gift-giving around that theme. 

Car accessory

Everyone needs something new and fun for their car, right? This is one gift idea that people will find useful and fun. 

Bedtime stories

Think back to the days that you were told bedtime stories or when you told them to your kids. Use this as motivation to create a cool theme! 

Future vacation

What better way to plan a future vacation than by using it as the holiday theme? This will challenge everyone to think outside the box and find something unique and fun. 

How well do you know me? 

Put your family to the test right away and see if they know you well enough to get you the perfect gift. 

Summer vibes

Who says that you can’t celebrate summer during Christmas? There are a lot of places that live in tropical locations with tropical vibes, so a warm-weather holiday theme is perfect. 

Ornament exchange

This is one of those themes that could easily be a holiday tradition. Find the perfect ornament, share it with someone in the family, and get a new ornament for your tree from someone else. 

Family keepsake

Have the Kleenex ready because the tears may flow for this one! If your family has a fond memory or thought or keepsake, make it the theme this year! 

Ugly Sweater

Woman opening an ugly Christmas sweater gift, with a confused look on her face.

This is one of those themes that is perfect for all ages. Can you imagine everyone showing up to the holiday party in a funky and fun sweater? Be sure to get a group photo! 

Silly socks

Silly socks have the same thought process as ugly sweaters. The sillier the socks, the better the fun. 

Christmas stockings

Some people have a specific Christmas stocking that they use all year long, while others like to get a new one. This holiday season, make the theme Christmas stockings and let everyone enjoy a new stocking. 

Family tradition

Does the family do something fun every year during the holidays? Make it the theme this year, and have a blast. All your family members will have a blast! If you need some ideas, here are a few Christmas Traditions to choose from.

Board games

Most families during the holiday season are together for many hours, so using board games as a way to connect and pass the time is a must. Perfect for any holiday theme. 

Unique Accessories

Sometimes, the best gift ideas are the ones that are the most unique and bizarre. You just might find and see some of your new favorite things! 

Recipe cards

Giving the gift of your favorite recipe in your handwriting on a recipe card is a thoughtful and memorable gift. This is a great theme that the whole family will love! 

Handmade gifts

If you don’t have the time or money to go to the store, make the gifts yourself this year. It’s the perfect way to show that you care without breaking the bank and stressing. You can give these as a wrapped gift or as a fun gift that you hand directly to them. 

Local treasures

Shop and support locals! Don’t forget that there are a lot of great little shops in town that would love to be the place where your theme was purchased. 

Wine/Beer Gifts

There are for the 21+ crowd, but have fun with the options. Don’t forget to try something new. A new wine glass is always a fun gift. 

Dollar Store Finds

It’s truly amazing what you can find roaming up and down the aisles of the Dollar Store. There are so many options, and everything is cheap and affordable. This is a great way to not put stress on the holidays by having to worry about the cost. 


Dark chocolate, white chocolate, and any other types of chocolate make the perfect gift and the perfect theme. 

Movie night fun

Pick out your favorite movie and movie snacks – and share that with someone else. There are so many great movies and so little time. 

Household decor

Do you need to remodel a specific room or place in the house? This can be the perfect time to get some new household items to do just that! 

Silly bathroom finds

Bathroom humor and bathroom gifts just never seem to get old. People love to buy them and then laugh at them when they’re opened. 

Crazy flavors

Do you want to try a new recipe or flavor? Find something that is crazy wacky and give it to someone else. Then the wait is on to see what they’re going to give you! 


This might be a bit on the pricier side, but electronics can make great gifts for anyone who loves to spoil someone. There are tablets, TVs, phones, and more! 

Something you don’t know you needed

Sometimes, we just don’t know what we need. Having a “surprise me” theme is a fun way of telling everyone that you’re looking forward to whatever gift they want to give you. 

Right hand or left hand?

Have you ever searched for a gift that was specifically for a right hand or left hand? It’s hard to do – but it can be a great way to let someone know that they’re special because of the time and effort put into it. 

Trivia fun

Who’s the Weakest Link? Find out by gifting fun trivia games – and then play them together as well! 

Secret Santa 

Woman holding a Secret Santa gift box wrapped in Kraft paper and tied with red and white string.

No one knows whose present is from who under the Christmas tree, and this is what the fun is all about! There might even be some great gag gifts with this one! 

As you can see, there are so many fun and Christmas gift exchange ideas that can easily be done during the holiday season. 

This year is the year to stress less over what to buy for Christmas and have fun shopping! Any of these Christmas themes would be perfect for buying and gifting to family and even a fun Christmas party with friends. 

And who knows – setting a theme for the holiday season just might start a whole new trend all on its own. 

All of these creative ways are fun for gift exchange parties! 

More Christmas Ideas For Families:

Leave a Reply