We all have fond memories of the holidays, and we wouldn’t be surprised if one of your fond memories includes getting a cozy and cool new pair of socks. So why not build upon the traditions that everyone loves? This year, it’s time to put a new spin on a classic gift exchange — sock style!
The holiday sock gift exchange is a simple,flexible and fun game for holiday parties. Each person brings a nice, new pair of socks that’s filled with goodies and, in turn, receives a pair from someone else. This is a fun gift exchange idea all on its own, but what if we said that socks could be even more fun? Let us break it down for ya.
the rules of the game
Though the rules can be tailored to your group’s liking, the holiday sock gift exchange is a lot like the commonly known White Elephant holiday party game. It could even be considered a fresh and fun variation of the classic! To play:
- each person brings a pair of socks stuffed with small, novelty gifts. Even just one small gift will do the trick. (As a tip, the maximum cost of the sock/gift combos should be established in advance!)
- all of the socks are placed into a large pile, basket or under a Christmas tree. This is when people will naturally begin feeling extra excited, so find a way to amplify it! Whether it be letting everyone put their socks into the pile one by one or creating a special basket just for this, it’s a moment worth investing a little thought and time into!
- the order of who will pick is determined. Along with establishing an order, this is a good time to boost everyone’s enthusiasm and spirit as well! Consider drawing names for suspense or even something as simple as pulling straws to make it that much more fun.
- each person takes their turn in order. They can choose to either take a pair of socks from the pile or take a pair of socks from someone else who has already chosen. If you have your socks “stolen,” the pile is yours to pick from again! (Before you begin, decide whether everyone will be allowed to open and reveal the gifts inside the socks they’ve chosen on the spot or whether they have to wait to look inside until the very end.)
- the game is over once everyone’s had a turn, the pile of socks is gone and everybody is left with their permanent gift! That’s it! Let everyone open and reveal the contents of their socks if they haven’t already.
why it's a great game for holiday parties
The holidays are known to sometimes be tricky on the brain or hard on the budget for gifters, but the holiday sock gift exchange is a light celebration from paying to playing! Both the socks and the little gifts inside take the hassle and hard work out of finding something affordable, inclusive of all sizes and appealing to all styles. It also allows everyone to stay equal in terms of gift value and excitement.
Socks are as fun as they are functional — everyone wears them, there is the perfect pair for anyone amongst our selection, and you can fit some good stuff inside! Thanks to all of these factors, the holiday sock gift exchange is perfect whether you’re a group of friends, a team of coworkers or even a remote team or distant family trying to do something fun.
what you’ll need
The best gifts for group exchanges or swaps tend to be ones that celebrate the season, embrace the humor of the group or spread some love to those in the group. Get your hands on an awesome pair of socks, and find some awesome Christmas sock gift ideas that fit the description, plus something to go inside the socks, and you’re set!
1. the socks
Even if your group has opted to leave the little gifts out of it, the one guarantee for this game is that you’ll need socks. And no matter how your group decides to play, the socks will undoubtedly be the focal point of every gift. So from picking a bright and bold pair of knee high socks that will lift the room to picking the perfect pair of warm winter socks that will help them embrace the season, make sure to put a little effort into picking the socks that you’ll gift! No matter what kind of crowd is playing, though, most people will love:
- Bright, bold and colorful socks they wouldn’t normally buy for themselves but will smile at every time they see or slip into them.
- Comfy, cozy socks that they can kick back and relax in, whether it be thanks to a cozy material that envelopes their feet or a comfy pattern that evokes a warmth inside of them.
- Interest-based socks that will help them to outwardly express and showcase their personality. For group ideas, like the holiday sock gift exchange, it’s always a good idea to find and embrace some of the interests that brought you all together or that you all share, whether it be animals, a movie or television show, an activity, your relation or even your jobs!
2. the stuff
Aside from the socks themselves, if your group has chosen to include gifts inside, it’s important to establish a price limit before anyone has had the chance to begin buying! That being said, one of the best parts of the holiday sock gift exchange is its simple excitement and inclusivity, so the limit is normally assumed and set at a very affordable level. Consider looking at these fillers, kind of like stocking stuffers:
- Small self-care and spa-time items like tin candles, nice lip balms, cool nail files and clippers and novelty toothbrushes.
- Petite but practical products like unique pens, extra earbuds, funny sticky notes and noteworthy notepads.
- Tiny treasures like relevant keychains, simple but significant jewelry, unique USB sticks or even stylish face masks.
3. the special touch
While it’s not necessary, once you’ve found the perfect gifts and socks, it’s always encouraged to make them and their delivery extra special with a little gift wrap! Your little gifts will be going into a pair of cute holiday socks for your party game, but when it comes to celebrations, there’s always room for a little more fun and holiday spirit! It’s important to remember that no effort is too small and could be as simple as:
- Tying some sparkly ribbon around your stuffed socks to seal them in holiday magic and add allure. Though it doesn’t take much to make a sparkly ribbon look good, a big curled bow always helps! (Most ribbons will have a shiny side and a dull side. Simply press the dull side of your ribbon flat against the sharpened edge of a pair of scissors with your thumb, and pull it across the blade quickly while you continue to press firmly.)
- Wrapping certain items, or the single most special item, within the socks in a nice wrapping paper to add interactive excitement and bring out the kid in anyone. If you’re not sure what kind to use, consider using leftover pieces from any big gifts you’ve already wrapped. (When it comes to wrapping sock gifts, it’s also good to remember that they don’t have to be done perfectly!)
- Stuffing the socks and surrounding the items with a crisp and light tissue paper to add unexpected anticipation to the experience. (Bonus points if you’re able to pick a complementary or matching color of tissue paper to the socks that you’ve found!)
finding the perfect pairings
Socks and small sock-sized gifts may seem limited, but the possibilities and pairings are endless! In fact, finding the perfect pairing for your sock-stuff combination is actually where the holiday sock gift exchange gets extra fun, and The Sock Drawer is where it gets extra easy! If you do find yourself having a tough time though, whether that be because you have too few ideas or too many, it’s always great to make it easier on yourself by embracing the holiday, the season, the group or a certain theme!
- embrace the celebration with a seasonal combination: like a pair of holiday or seasonal socks (picture any of our cool colorful or cozy Christmas socks) filled with goodies like a small scented candle, some candies that give a taste of the season or even a cute face mask that matches the socks. This is a great combination when it comes to adding some spirit and excitement to the party and reminding everyone what it’s all about.
- embrace your love for the group with a relaxing combination: like a pair of soft or fuzzy socks filled with comfort and care products they can indulge in like a pack of luxury hot chocolate and a replenishing sleep mask. This is a great combination to let them know that you care about their wellbeing and want them to embrace the season and any upcoming time off that they have for the holidays.
- embrace the humor of the group with a funny combination: like a pair of hilariously funny socks filled with novelty pieces like our “f**k this meeting candle,” “adulthood pen set” or our “daily struggle sticky note packet.” Humor-driven combinations like this will make for as funny of a delivery as they do a gift and are a great way to lighten up the party! Warning: This gift is likely to get “stolen” several times!
- embrace everyday life with a fun and functional combination: like a pair of bright and colorful socks filled with fun everyday essentials and excitements, such as unique stickers, small scented hand sanitizers or our “pencils for the office” that are as funny as they are useful.
- embrace what the group has in common with an interesting combination: like a pair of our “pearly whites socks” filled with floss, a face mask and our “dental hygiene toothbrush” for instance if you’re doing a holiday sock gift exchange with your dental practice crew. Focusing on your shared interests is a great way to make a combination as it’s sure to land with anyone who picks it!
enjoying the exchange
Assuming that the holiday sock gift exchange is being hosted in a sock-friendly environment (aka indoors), gifters and giftees should be encouraged to indulge in their new socks and show them off for the rest of the party! Whether it be to get cozy and embrace the joy around them, share the laughter from the unique novelty gift wrapped inside of their socks or to spread the spirit of the celebration, the holiday sock gift exchange is sure to be a fun and exciting part of the party.