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Throw a Holiday Party: The Dirty Santa Way
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Throw a Holiday Party: The Dirty Santa Way

Let’s talk Dirty Santa.

No, no. Remove all images of Santa at your local dilapidated shopping center. We’re talking the Dirty Santa gift-exchange game played at holiday parties. If you haven’t heard of it, well consider this your lucky day! We’re about to explain how to play Dirty Santa with your friends. Ho. Ho. Ho. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

First of all, the game is called “dirty” because participants steal gifts from one another. The goal is to end up with the best gift. Or at least not the worst gift!

1. Ask your guests to bring a wrapped gift and provide them with set a spending limit. Generally the lower the dollar amount, the better. Ten bucks is the go-to standard. Not too high, not too low. And stress that the gift must be wrapped. There should be no indication about the contents.

2. As your guests arrive, place the gifts together on a table.

3. Have a pile of scratch paper on hand. For every gift, write a number on a piece of paper. Place the pieces of paper them in a bowl or Santa hat.

4. When you’re ready to let the games begin, walk around the room and let each person draw a number. But only those who brought a gift, of course!

5. The person who chose #1 will be the first to choose a gift from the table. They must then open the gift in front of everyone.

6. The person with #2 can choose to pick and open another gift or steal the gift from person #1. If a gift is stolen, the person who originally had it can steal from someone else or pick another gift to open. They cannot, however, take the gift that was just stolen from them.

7. Once a gift is stolen three times, it is retired from the game. Meaning no one else can steal it!

8. The game will continue until everyone has had a turn opening or stealing a gift. The last person to go (person with the highest possible number) can steal from anyone in the game or open the remaining gift.

Feel free to change our version of the Dirty Santa game as you see fit. And if you have any other fun suggestions, please share!

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