There are as many varieties of gift exchanges as there are opinions about them. They can involve joke gifts or serious ones; grab-bag or targeted for specific people; open or secret givers; very inexpensive or valuable . . . Some people love group gift exchanges as an alternative to having to think of a gift for each individual; others may feel put on the spot.
Fun; appreciation of each other; holiday celebration; getting to know each other.
Each person is asked to bring a gift for one other person in the group. There is usually a price/value limit set, such as "$10 or under" Schedule a gathering time. Directions: We will give two examples here: White Elephant Gift Exchange The gifts are meant to humorous. They can be re-gifted items that the original receivers didn't want, or items found at second-hand stores. Toys, generic clothing, art, electronic gimmicks . . . anything goes. Be aware that some people may covet what someone else considers a throw-away! Each person wraps their gift, perhaps disguising the size and shape so others can't guess what is inside. All wrapped gifts are displayed. The leader creates some system for the order of receivers, eg. picking numbers from a hat. Number One selects one of the gifts and opens it in front of all. Number Two can either select another gift from the collection, or can "steal" the gift opened by Number One. If your gift is stolen, you then select another gift (from the collection or by stealing another's gift - but you can't steal back what you lost). It goes on in order. Each gift can be stolen only 3 times - after that it is owned by the last person to acquire it. Some groups find that people save the most outrageous gifts to bring to the exchange the next year.
Named Gift Exchange In a random drawing, each person draws the name of another person. The organizer could also have each person list examples of items/colors/flavors they would like. Each giver brings only one gift, selected for the person whose name they drew.
People can discuss ways to alter the giving ritual for the next time.
"Silent Santa" is a system in which each person gets (randomly) the name of one other person and during a period of time (e.g. one week) the giver secretly slips small gifts to their giftee - e.g. put on their desk a coupon for coffee; tuck a piece of candy into their coat pocket.