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Painless Classroom Gift Exchange

For years I struggled through the classroom gift exchange at Christmas. You know how it goes – everyone draws someone’s name to buy a gift for them. This inevitably follows:
·         Someone dislikes what they are given and lets the giver know, tears follow
·         Someone breaks their gift before the party is over, tears follow
·         Someone (usually several) doesn’t bring a gift and you are left buying a handful of spare presents

After suffering through this for years, I came across the idea of Christmas stockings. Rather than exchange presents, students simply bring small things for the stockings (one small thing for each student). This idea works because:
·         Everyone receives the same gifts
·         Most parents don’t have to spend more than $5 unless they choose to
·         No one knows who the gifts are from
·         No one knows if someone didn’t bring anything

The “stockings” that I use are simply brown lunch bags. I have found that the larger ones work the best. I have had a fellow teacher use the large brown grocery bags before too.  I like the lunch size because it seems like a stuffed full stocking. We usually decorate our “stockings” a few days before our Christmas party and I line them up along a back counter.

Prior to our Christmas party, I let the students fill the stockings with the goodies that they have brought. The highlight of the party is opening the stockings! I pass them all out and then let all of the students open their stockings at the same time. You may want to have extra grocery sacks handy to help students carry home all of their goodies!

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