Every Christmas my Bible study group plays a gift exchange game called Stealing in Christian Love. Hahaha!
You might know the game as its more popular name, Dirty Santa. It’s where everyone in the group brings a gift which gets put in a common area, usually the middle of the room.
Then, all players draw a number and take turns opening a gift. They can get a gift from the pile or they can ‘steal’ from someone else who has already opened one.
My sweet friend, Angie, who used to lead my bible study, didn’t like to call it Dirty Santa since that sounds so harsh.
That’s why she decided to change the name to something that makes us giggle every time, Stealing in Christian Love.
Haha. Don’t you love it?
That will always make me laugh!
The game itself can make you laugh, too. It’s so much fun to see the players who are too nice to ‘steal’ always grab from the pile of presents.
And then there are the ones who steal from everyone. And also those who have opened and want to keep their gifts so they try to hide them behind their chairs or under their feet.
If you have a group of either ministry, friends, or family, you’ll absolutely love this game!
Gift Variations of the Dirty Santa Game
It’s possible to play Dirty Santa or Stealing in Christian Love multiple ways. Put it to a vote with your group and see what they want.
- Nice or popular gifts with a price limit – For my Bible study group, we set a $15 limit. With my family, we set $30. It all depends on your particular group. It’s even fun with $5 to $10 limits.
- Exchange Christmas ornaments – One year, we chose to purchase ornaments to exchange. That was different and so much fun.
- White elephant gifts – Choose any old gift from around the house and wrap it up. It can be something fun or truly helpful. You might want to discuss ahead of time if you want only silly gifts or not. Even though it’s all in fun, sometimes people get upset if they get an impractical gift when others in the same exchange receive something valuable.
Rule Variations for Dirty Santa
In the printable here, I’ve shared the rules for how we play the games. However, I’ve heard of others playing in various ways.
- Unlimited stealing – rather than freezing a gift after a certain number of steals, you can have unlimited stealing so that nothing is ever ‘locked’ until the end.
- End the game on the highest number – instead of letting the number 1 person go last, simply end the game with the highest number person either opening the last gift from the pile or by stealing one. The person whom he steals from will open the last gift and the game will be over.
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Stealing in Christian Love – Dirty Santa Gift Exchange
What other ways do you play this Dirty Santa gift exchange? Do you call it Dirty Santa or has your women’s ministry group given it a ‘nicer’ name like Stealing in Christian Love?