Left Right Christmas Game

gift exchange left right game

There are plenty of options when it comes to holiday gift exchange games. However, one of the best around is the left-right Christmas game. This game is easy to play and is suitable for a large gathering of friends and family during the Christmas season. 

The left-right game involves a group of people who each purchase a gift for the game. Then the group sits in a circle holding their gifts while listening to a story. During the story, there will be cues that tell everyone when to pass their items. If you’re interested and want to learn how to play this game, read on.

Left Right Gift Exchange Rules & Gameplay

To play the left-right Christmas game, you need a group of people willing to partake in a gift exchange. On the day of the game, everyone should bring a wrapped gift of a predetermined value. Then the players will sit in a circle and listen to a story. In the story, the words left, and right will come up often. Players then pass gifts to the left or right following what word comes up.

Here is a step by step breakdown of how this works:

  • Each player brings a wrapped gift
  • Players sit in a circle holding the gift they brought
  • One player tells a story containing many instances of the words left and right
  • Each time the words left or right come up, players pass their gifts in that direction
  • When the story ends, the gift each player is holding is the one they open and keep

3 Reasons Why it May be a Better Gift Exchange Game than Others

Among all of the gift exchange games out there, the left-right game has several advantages over the others. Here are a few of the reasons why this game is better than the rest. 

It’s Inclusive

The simplicity of this game means that anyone can play it. You can also play the left-right game with large and small groups. 

Also, while this is a Christmas game, it can be adaptable. People of all faiths and backgrounds can alter their left-right game stories as they please. 

It’s Easy to Play

The left-right game requires no skill at all. That means that everyone from senior citizens to children can play. That lack of a skill requirement also makes it more likely that people will be willing to play this game. In the end, that makes for a more fun-loving environment at your holiday party. 

Storytelling Makes the Game Engaging

The storytelling aspect of this game is one of its most exciting elements. Since every player needs to know when to pass their gifts, they need to maintain their attention to the story. Based on your preference, those stories can be Christmas or holiday-themed, or you can get creative and make a story of your own.

hosting left right gift game

How to Host the Best Left Right Christmas Game

If the left-right Christmas game convinces you that it would be fun, you might be ready to host a game. However, you need to know that this game’s success depends on having a good host or hostess. Here are a few tips to help you put on an awesome left-right Christmas game party:

Choose a Gift Value

The first thing you need to do when setting up a left-right Christmas game is to set a gift value. As with any other gift exchange game, a pre-established gift value is the fairest approach. By ensuring everyone brings a similarly-priced gift, there is less chance that someone will go home disappointed with the gift they received. 

Try setting a gift limit that is in a reasonable price range. Setting a lower dollar amount allows your guest to enjoy your game with no financial stress. People spend a lot during the holiday season as it is. So, asking your friend to purchase something in the $20 range may encourage them to accept your invitation to the game. 

Have a Great Story

The most vital aspect of the left-right Christmas game is the story. The last thing you want is to have your guest bored and losing focus while the game is taking place. To avoid that, select a story that is interesting enough to hold the group’s collective attention. 

Thankfully, there are many pre-made stories for this game online. But if none of those options work for you, you can always make up your own story. As long as the story has the words left and right appearing often, it will work. If you host an annual left-right Christmas game, remember to switch the story each year and keep your guests listening with intent. 

Make Sure No One Ends Up with the Gift They Brought

Imagine going to a gift exchange party and returning home with the gift you brought. That would ruin the surprise and fun of playing a gift exchange game. If you are hosting a left-right Christmas game, it is easy to make sure that no one is left with the same gift. 

Your best approach to this is to make sure that you are the one reading the story to the group. If you come to the end of the story and notice that people are holding the gifts they brought, add some more lines. With an impromptu extension of the story, you can throw in a few more left and right commands. 


The left-right Christmas game is both fun and easy to play. But if you are hosting this game, you should remember a few tips to ensure that your guests have as much fun as possible. 

Above all, make sure that the story you choose is as entertaining as possible. This story will have the most impact on how fun your left-right Christmas game is. If you do that and follow this article’s guidance, you should be ready to enjoy the best left-right Christmas game in your upcoming holiday get-together!