A Family Thanksgiving Activity
Give everyone a head start on their holiday shopping


This is a great family Thanksgiving activity or fun Christmas party game. After the big meal, don't let everyone wander to the TV or head directly to the kitchen sink. Gather them together for some entertainment. This activity is one of our own family favorites. "Hold or Swap" (also known as Yankee Auction) is a game that helps us all kick off the holiday shopping season. Everyone leaves our Thanksgiving celebration with a gift they can keep or "re-gift" to someone on their own Christmas list.



This fun and funny game allows everyone to choose a gift, open it and either Hold it or Swap it for another guest's gift! Here's how to get organized! Pull together and purchase enough items for everyone here. (Yes, regifts from your own closet are acceptable!) The items go into boxes of assorted shapes and sizes, then are all wrapped the same and displayed on the table. Number index cards for the appropriate number of guests. The game is now ready to begin..but not before a review of the rules!

fun thanksgiving game

Click and print a copy to post at your game!


How to organize this funny and fun Thanksgiving activity

What kinds of things to get- For the kids : Do a kids table with different wrapping paper for boys and girls. Anything from Barbies, to trucks, to books, to dvd's to stuffed animals. No trading for them! We want them all to be happy! For the adults: Yankee candle, Holiday potholder and dish towel, Starbuck coffee card with a holiday mug, Dunkin Donuts gift card with a holiday mug, baseball caps, winter hats, scarves, gloves, cozy slipper socks, bottle of wine, six pack of beer, anything that I have lying around the house unopened and the most sought after prizes: A Christmas Cash Card and A Store Gift Card. The amounts and store change every year..but they are the most traded gifts. Click here to see the cards I make and wrap for those two items. Christmas Cash and Store Gift Card Items


yankee auction holiday game

Now Let The Games Begin! The master set of numbered index cards is shuffled in a basket and each guest draws one. Then the person who drew #1 goes to the table and VISUALLY examines the boxes.. no touching or lifting! They make their choice, return to their seat and unwrap. After #1, each succeeding player gets a turn in numerical order. They must make a decision before they unwrap their gift to either keep it or swap it for one that a previous player has. If they swap, the player they swapped with then gets to open the gift. This goes around until all numbers have been called and at the very end, the person with card #1 gets the final swap. You can only imagine the begging, bargaining and laughs that are going on throughout the game. Yes, it takes some work, some planning and some money.. but as I have always said.. it is all worth it in the end! This family Thanksgiving activity is always a hit. My turkey may be marginal but my family only remembers what they won at the auction that year!


christmas party game


This was the year of the hats ... 3 happy winners!



fun thanksgiving game



Our Christmas Mad Money Winner that year.. One of the West Coast Cousins!!
Feel free to use this fun family Thanksgiving activity to turn your Thanksgiving Dinner into a family event and enjoy the laughter and fun that comes with it!




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Visit our Thanksgiving Fun section for more Thanksgiving games, festive desserts ideas, table centerpieces, crafts and more!




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