Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dirty Santa

My Wordless Wednesday is down below :)

So there have been several people questioning Dirty Santa. I am going to explain it the best that I can. If you are still confused after reading my explanation, please look here. I think I may have confused myself on this one.
Dirty is a gift exchange game that goes by several different names and has several different sets of rules from what I have heard. Some of the names that I have heard are
1. "The Game"
2. Dirty Santa
3. Yankee Exchange
4. Yankee Swap
5. The Present Game
6. The White Elephant Exchange
7. Stealing Santa
8. Rob Your Neighbor
9. Dirty Christmas
10. Screw Your Buddy
11. Cajun Christmas
12. Backward Auction
13. Cut-Throat Christmas
14. Red Neck Santa
15. Rob A Santa
Pretty much every group that I have played it with has played it a little different. There are variations on how many times a gift can be stolen and on whether a player steals before or after opening a gift. I am just going to tell you the way that we play it at my family Christmas, because that is the way that I know best.

This is basically how it is played:
Everybody brings a wrapped gift of a predetermined value. The gift can be anything. A purse , a drill, crazy sparkly slippers, a voodoo doll...anything. You never know what you are going to get.
The gifts are placed on a table in the center of the room and everyone draws a number from a hat.
The person who draws the lowest number goes first. They choose a gift from the gift pile, open the gift for all to see, and keep it for the time being.
The guest who has the next lowest number goes next. This person can either choose to take an unopened gift from the gift pile to open or to steal a gift from any previous gift-opener. Each subsequent person is allowed to either unwrap a new gift, or steal any of the gifts previously opened.
When someone's gift is stolen, that person can immediately unwrap a new one or steal another gift, whichever they choose. This stealing will continue on and on until someone unwraps a new gift, at which point play proceeds onto the next number.
The only gift that a player cannot steal is the gift that was stolen from them on the same round.
A gift can only be stolen three times. After three steals that gift is out of play, or dead. So the goal is to be the third one to steal a really good gift.
In out family we kind of work in teams. As in, "Hey Mama, your turn is coming up and that candle has already been stolen twice, Steal that for me and I will steal whatever you want when it is my turn."
That sounds like cheating doesn't it? But hey, this is a game of stealing and it is all in fun. We haven't had anybody get bent out of shape yet although I have heard of that happening when other people played.
On with the rules... People in possession of live gifts (or gifts that have not been stolen three times) must keep them visible and hold them up when requested. There is no hiding the good popcorn popper under the table and hoping that people will forget about it. Although people do try this ( cough Mamaw cough), we call them out on it. In my family we call them out loudly and then steal the popper just to teach them a lesson. take that, Mamaw.
After all turns have been taken, the person who went first has the option of taking one more turn since they didn't have the option to steal on their original turn. However, the dead gifts remain dead. This is why it sucks to be number 1. By the time you get to the end of the game, especially with 45 people playing, almost everything has been stolen three times.
I hope this sheds a little light on the subject. I highly recommend this game for large Christmas gatherings. It is a lot more exciting (and loud) than drawing names.


Momo Fali said...

Our family got in a fight doing this last Christmas! We call it White Elephant, though I don't have any idea why. I'm not sure we'll be doing it again this year.

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

Okay. That makes more sense. I've done White Elephants, too.

Amanda said...


Dana said...

We do this with my dad's side of the family but we call it Chinese Christmas. We always have a blast!

WorksForMom said...

I like!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I think I'll need to read that a few times.

Mom Chatter said...

I was just talking about this with my oldest brother. He's thinking that we should switch to this gift ritual instead of our current name drawing. We both think there will be too much fighting... bu there's too much fighting with the current method. In our family it's all BahHumbug with too many! (They really are good people, just too competitive, over controlling, etc.!)

lisa's chaos said...

Very interesting, it's just sad that I have such a small family. :(

Dane Bramage said...

We do this every year at work. My first year participating I got a pair of red high heels. Not exactly a guy gift but hey, in susequent years I got a pool stick, a DVD movie, but generally stuff ripe for regifting! (The shoes went to my sister)

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