Christmas Left And Right Gift Exchange Game – How To Play

christmas left and right gift exchange game

We all know that Christmas is a great time of year to exchange gifts with friends and family. But, if you’re looking to add even more fun to your Christmas party this year, maybe you should consider doing a ‘Left & Right’ Christmas story to help with your gift exchange.

If you’ve not heard of it before, or you’re just a bit rusty on how it all works, here’s how to play the Left and Right Gift Exchange Game:

What You’ll Need


Each participant should bring a wrapped gift, so you’ll need to communicate this to your guests before the party – set a price limit to keep it fair and fun for everyone.

Story or Script:

A Left and Right story that mentions the words “left” and “right” frequently. You can find pre-written scripts online or create your own. We’ve got some great, free, printable left and right stories here.


Arrange chairs in a circle so that everyone can see each other. Alternatively you could sit on the floor in a circle, but this can be difficult for any older guests who might be in attendance.

right left game

Setting Up the Game

Gather Everyone:

Have everyone sit in a circle holding the wrapped gifts that they brought along.

Choose a Story Reader:

Select someone to read the Left and Right story aloud. This person will need to emphasize the words “left” and “right” clearly. They can also participate in the exchange or may choose to just read the story, it’s up to them.

Distribute Gifts:

Each participant should begin holding the gift they brought, alternatively you could place all the gifts in a central pile and have each person pick one at random before you start the story.

How To Play

Playing the left and right game is very simple and fairly self-explanatory, but if you, or your guest, need a refresher, here are the step-by-step instructions:

Start the Story – The reader begins reading the Left and Right story.

Pass the Gifts – Every time the word “left” is mentioned, everyone passes their gift to the person on their left. When the word “right” is mentioned, they pass their gift to the person on their right.

Keep Listening – Participants need to pay close attention to the story to ensure they pass the gifts correctly. This can lead to a lot of laughs and confusion, especially if the story is fast-paced or has a lot of direction changes. 

It doesn’t matter if a different spelling is used, if the group hears the word ‘right’ they will pass to the right, even if the word is written as ‘Wright’ or ‘write’.

End of the Story – When the story ends, each participant keeps the gift they are holding.

christmas left and right game

Example Story

Here’s a short example to give you an idea of how the story works, but you’ll probably want to use a longer story, especially if you have a large crowd attending – you want to make sure those gifts really get moved around!

Christmas was right around the corner, and Mrs. Wright was busy preparing for the holiday. She left the house and went to the right store to find the perfect gifts. Mr. Wright stayed at home and cleaned the left side of the house. When Mrs. Wright returned, she realized she had left her wallet at the store! She went back to the store, but it wasn’t there! She went out of the store, and turned left into the store next door – it was the right one this time. On her way home, she turned left and noticed she had taken the wrong road. Finally, she arrived home and placed the gifts right under the tree. The Wright family was now ready to celebrate Christmas right!

Remember, there are plenty of stories that you could use – we have some free, printable stories here.

Tips for a Successful Game

Practice the Story – If you’re the reader, practice reading the story beforehand to ensure you can read it smoothly and emphasize the directions clearly. If there’s been no time for practice just ensure that you pick someone who typically reads fluently and well and understands the game.

Have Extra Gifts – If you’re hosting the event it’s a good idea to keep a few extra wrapped gifts on hand in case someone forgets to bring one or if unexpected guests arrive. Just something simple like a wrapped box of chocolates is all you need to make sure that nobody misses out.

Keep It Light – The goal is to have fun, so encourage everyone to laugh and enjoy the mix-ups that inevitably happen.

gift passing game

The Left and Right Gift Exchange Game is a delightful addition to any Christmas gathering. It’s simple to set up, easy to play, and guarantees a lot of laughter and holiday cheer. Whether you’re with family, friends, or colleagues, this game will help create lasting memories and make your Christmas celebration even more special.

So, gather your loved ones, grab your gifts, choose your story, and get ready to have a merry and bright time with the Left and Right Gift Exchange Game!

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