10 Classroom Gift Exchange Ideas

Classroom gift exchanges can be stressful.  At least I know that they have been for me.  Unknowingly someone ends up hurting someone’s feelings, a student forgets their gift at home or are unable to purchase a gift. 

Over the past few years, I have tried different things beyond the traditional gift giving and I find that I am less stressed about it and so are my students.  The best ones are the ones in which gift giving isn’t about ourselves rather those less fortunate!

I have compiled a list of 10 Classroom Gift Exchange Ideas to share with you.  Hope you enjoy and find something useful!

10 Classroom gift exchange ideas
  • Have a book exchange where students bring in a wrapped book that they have already read.
  • Students bring in a wrapped full sized candy bar.
  • Students bring in a new unwrapped board game.  As a class, wrap the presents and then donate them to a local charity.
  • Supply the classroom indoor recess cabinet by having students bring in items for those rainy days.  They will be thankful later!
  • Ask students to each bring in one dollar.  Use the money to buy gifts from the dollar store and wrap them for the students.  On the day of the gift exchange students draw a classmate’s name, make a card for them, and then choose one of the wrapped gifts to give them.
  • Have an ornament exchange.  Each student brings in an ornament, and writes their name and year on it.  This creates a keepsake for the one that receives it.
  • Each student brings in 25 (adjust this number to the number of students you have) inexpensive items.  Items may include pencils, erasers, candy, fruit snacks, etc.  Before the gift exchange, place all the items into a bag.  All students receive the same gift.
  • Decorate a mitten tree.  Each student brings in a pair of mittens and place on a tree.  Donate the mittens to a local charity.
  • Instead of a monetary gift, have students write compliments to each other.  Similar to a Valentine’s Day box, students each wrap their own empty box and leave a slot open.  On the day of the exchange, students place the compliments into each others’ box.
  • Have a predetermined craft ready.  Students make the craft and then at the end of the party they take the craft with them to give to someone of their choice that is not at the party.

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