Dirty Santa is a game a lot of people play with family, friends or co-workers during the holidays. While it's tons of fun and a unique event to add to your Christmas holiday customs it's also a way to save money on your holiday shopping.
What some families do during Christmas to make their holiday budget a bit more economical is to draw names. Each person puts their name in the pot and each family member draws a name out. The name you choose from the pot is the person you buy a gift for. Well, Dirty Santa can add fun and take the place of drawing names.
So, what exactly is Dirty Santa?
Remain calm. The Santa in Dirty Santa isn't 'dirty' in the way of perversion! Instead, for the purpose of the game Santa is a potential thief. Who plays the role of this dirty, rotten, thieving Santa? You do, if it's your turn. In fact, every player will get their chance at being Dirty Santa.
Gifts for Dirty Santa
Dirty Santa is a holiday game that requires each player to bring a wrapped gift. Each gift should have a value that matches the price range that's been set beforehand. Usually, Dirty Santa gifts will fit into a range between $10 and $25 dollars. When the night wraps up, each person takes home their gift.
When wrapping your gifts, take special care. Since no one will know what each gift contains, the wrapping is what will be most appealing. Take time to wrap your gift extra nice. Include ribbons, bows and anything else to make it look special.
Gifts should have nothing that identifies their contents or who brought the gift. Some Dirty Santa players do like to indicate a man or woman's gift. To do this, simply use a marker to write M or F on the outside of the package. Personally, I think it is much more interesting to have no indication of the wrapped gifts contents at all.
When buying gifts be considerate of all the players. Since children sometimes play, find out beforehand if any children will be attending the Dirty Santa festivities.
Shopping early in the year will help you to choose a gift that is both within the price range and unique.
The host or hostess of the Dirty Santa party will be required to buy one additional gift. The value of this gift must value at the same or more than the price that has been set for all the other gifts. The person who has the brought the best gift will receive this bonus present. This is a nice way to motivate players to bring unique and well thought out gifts, making the game all the more interesting!
Dirty Santa Game Rules
Alright, how's this game actually played? Let's assume there are 15 players. Someone; usually the host or hostess, writes the numbers 1 through 15 down on a small piece of paper. The pieces of paper are then placed into a hat. Each player draws out one piece of paper. The number drawn is the official number of that player.
Players may trade numbers amongst themselves if both parties agree. However, the number you have once the game begins is your number throughout the entire game. No more trading!
To move the game along nicely, let everyone know which number belongs to who. This will allow each player to know where they fall within the sequence of play. It also gives everyone an opportunity to develop a Dirty Santa game play strategy. Another advantage to everyone being aware of their number is it allows people to plan bathroom breaks and to get drinks or snacks without holding the game up.
Upon arrival, each guest should give their wrapped, unmarked presents to the host or hostess. The gifts will be placed in a location where everyone is allowed to inspect them easily. Usually, a table is set up in the Dirty Santa game play area. The packages can be picked up, shook a bit and felt of by all the players to see if they can determine which gifts they may want to attempt to get.
Player #1 chooses a gift and opens it. Player #1 will now show the gift to everyone, reads the package to tell exactly what it is, what it does, etc.
Player #2 may select an unwrapped gift from the table and open it, show it about, model it and explain what it is or does or player # 2 can be the first Dirty Santa of the game and steal the gift that player #1 has.
If player #2 takes the gift that player #1 has, player #1 then has to choose another gift from the table of remaining unwrapped presents. Again, player #1 would unwrap the new gift and then demonstrate and explain what the new gift is to the other players.
Player #3 can either choose an unopened gift from the table of wrapped gifts or this player can be the Dirty Santa by stealing the unwrapped gifts of player #1 and player #2.
If Player #3 were to select player #2's gift, #2 has two choices. Player #2 could select another unopened gift or select #1's unwrapped gift, Player #2 cannot select #3's unwrapped gift because it was just previously taken from #2. This eliminates a gift bounding back and forth between two players without someone else having a chance to take possession of the present.
And the game of Dirty Santa goes on with each player having the two choices, taking a new unopened gift that is on the table or by being the Dirty Santa and thieving someone else's already opened gift.
When a gift if taken from you, you cannot get it back immediately from the same person who just stole it from you. In this event, you select a new gift from the table or an unwrapped gift from one of the other players. However, if you want a certain gift back that has been taken from you, you can steal it during your turn in the next round.
Retired Dirty Santa Gifts
Gifts get passed back and forth all throughout the game. However, when you have had a gift in your possession three times, it is yours to keep. This gift is now retired, belongs to you and you are out of the game.
A bit of confusion is sometimes dealt with when it comes to when a gift is retired. Many people claim it is once the gift has found it's third owner. No. It is when one player has owned a specific gift on three different occasions. This is the only way to retire a Dirty Santa gift as well as allowing the game to progress and eventually end.
How Dirty Santa Ends
Player #20 is the last player in our scenario. When the game gets down to the last player there will be only one wrapped gift left on the table. Just like all the other players; with the exception of player #1, the final player will have two choices. He or she can either accept the last unwrapped gift from the table or the player can be the last and final Dirty Santa of the game by taking a gift from the remaining players. Remember, retired gifts are safe. They can never be taken again. So, the last player (in this case player #20) is only allowed to take gifts that have not been retired.