Pollyanna Rules And Gameplay
You've decided that your group will really enjoy participating in a Pollyanna Gift Exchange. This game is suitable to any group where you want everyone to leave your event feeling good about what they've purchased and what they've received. Everyone will leave with a gift bought by someone else and there will be lots of talk during the exchange about why each person has received a gift that reflects who they are or what they've accomplished.
Some groups don't know each other very well, and the Pollyanna Gift Exchange can still be held, but it may take a bit more organization on the part of the host or hostess. If this is the case, you may want to consider providing everyone with a short questionnaire about who they are, what they feel is their top three personality traits, what they love, what their hobbies are, which organizations they volunteer with, what their proudest moments in life are. The answers to these questions will help the gift-buyer find the perfect gift.
The Pollyanna Gift Exchange can also be held at any gathering at any time of year, it doesn't just have to be at Christmas! This game works really well at Thanksgiving gatherings as well, where extended family members may not see each other at Christmas-time.
Number of Players: The Pollyanna Gift Exchange can be played with any size group of people. Bear in mind, the smaller the group, the shorter the game. A large group of people may take up to an hour to exchange gifts. So in determining the number of people who are participating, this is the time range you can expect within your party or social gathering.
The Goal: As with all gift exchanges, you want your guests to feel like they've participated in something fun, that they've come away with a great gift. With the Pollyanna Gift Exchange, an additional goal is a bit more specific in that you also want guests to purchase and receive thoughtful gifts, gifts that will have meaning and value to the recipient, gifts that might somehow reflect some of their best character traits. As the organizer, this is not as hard as it seems to accomplish. This gift exchange game works well amongst extended family members, among groups that gather together often, amongst teammates who rely on each other to accomplish a goal, between classmates within a school or learning setting, to name a few.
Gifts: The Pollyanna Gift Exchange means that each guest must bring a gift to the party. All gifts should be of almost equal value so guests don't leave feeling like they've spent more time and effort than anyone else. Because of this, it is a good idea for the organizer to set a price range of spending. Usually $20-$30 works well. It helps too to set a theme for most gift exchanges, but in the case of the Pollyanna Gift Exchange, the theme of a thoughtful gift, a gift that reflects a person's positive character traits or reflects something to be proud of, these themes may suffice. It is really up to the organizer to determine whether a different theme is necessary.
How to Begin: You've created a guest list, and determined a date, place and time for your gathering. The Pollyanna Gift Exchange requires everyone to be in the same place at the same time. Ask for an RSVP from your invitees because this will help you set up the next steps of this gift exchange. In choosing a location, whether at home, in a community center, library room, sports dressing room, restaurant or at the office, make sure there are plenty of seats, a chair for everyone, and that the room is big enough for everyone to sit around in a circle with the pile of presents on a table in the middle.
Variation #1: If guests don't know each other well, provide them with a questionnaire as mentioned earlier, after they have RSVP'd to you. Instruct them to fill it out and return to you. Once you receive it back, you can either pair people together based on the information provided via common interests, or pair them up randomly. In either case, when you give a guest the name of the person they are to purchase a gift for, provide them with the filled-out questionnaire also. This then gives them as much information as they need to purchase a gift that will be of value to that person. Gifts are wrapped and name tags are used on each gift with both the name of who the gift is for and who it is from.
Variation #2: You may decide to have a Pollyanna Gift Exchange where you don't assign gift-giving partners, where everyone purchases a gift and these gifts are selected randomly. This can work really well too and is much less work for the organizer. In this case, use our Gift Ideas page to offer up some suggestions as what types of gifts you are hoping everyone will purchase. When using this variation, guests will wrap their gifts so as not to reveal what it may be, and put no name tag on the gift.
The Gift Exchange, Variation #1: As guests arrive with their gift, write their name on a small piece of paper and place it in a hat, bag or bowl. Draw the first name, they look for their present in the pile and open it for everyone to see. Draw the next name, and they also find their present and open it. Continue until all guests have opened their present.
The Gift Exchange, Variation #2: As guests arrive with their wrapped gift that has no name tag on it, write their name on a small piece of paper and place it in a hat, bag or bowl. Place all the gifts on the table in the center of the circle where everyone will sit. Draw the first name, and this person selects a gift from the pile and unwraps it. Draw a second name. This person can either select a wrapped gift from the pile or choose guest #1's unwrapped gift. If this happens, Guest #1 gets to choose and unwrap another gift from the pile. Draw a third name. Guest #3 can now choose gift #1 or #2 or a wrapped gift from the pile. Continue on in this manner until everyone has an unwrapped gift.
The Pollyanna Gift Exchange will provide some tender and thoughtful moments for your guests. Not necessarily a game of rambunctiousness and hilarity, this gift exchange will have every guest leaving with a gift they feel has been purchased with thoughtfulness and kindness in mind.