The White Elephant Gift Exchange (also known as a Yankee Swap or Dirty Santa) has many rules about stealing presents. But that’s so 2017.
Instead, apply any number of these party-pleasing power-ups.
Beggars & Choosers: Open gifts in order of annual salary.
3 – 5 Years: File a police report against the person who stole your gift. (Two reports allowed per game.)
It’s Christmas Mime, Pretty Baby: Point out your desired gift for the person to your left to touch/sniff/shake and describe without using words. Let this play out much longer than necessary.
The Pitch: The Gift Haver and Gift Stealer each give the Host their best pitch for why they deserve the gift. PowerPoint required.
Florida FTW: Nominate representatives for the Gift Haver and Gift Stealer to debate the merits of the gift followed by an anonymous vote and a lengthy recount broadcast across the neighborhood.
By Applause Only: Decide whether a gift may be stolen based on volume of clapping and applause by partygoers for the Gift Haver and the Gift Stealer. Continue back and forth until it's absolutely clear who the winner is. Ignore all pleas for a cease-clapping. (Best reserved for Hosts without echoing homes.)
Finders Keepers: The Host hides the gift in his/her house for the Gift Stealer to find. The Gift Stealer can either search for the gift or choose an item from the Host’s home to steal instead.
Losers Weepers: Cry until you get the gift you want. (Or until everyone has left the party.)
Me Too: Choose another partygoer to take home in lieu of a gift—mutual consent required. Lack of consent results in loss of turn and dignity.
Oceans 8 – 13: Go to your friend’s house the following night and attempt to steal back your gift—warning your friend is optional. (Variation may be used a maximum of three times. Reboots are discouraged.)