Rules for Party Kris Kringle

Below are the rules for what I call “Party Kris Kringle.”  This is the way my friends and I play the game, certainly not the only way to play it.  You can read the relevant blog post.


  1. Whoever wants to play brings a wrapped, unmarked gift of around $X in value (with X to be filled in as appropriate for your friends.  We play with X = 20).
  2. The gifts are placed somehwere central (underneath the Christmas tree has worked for us in the past).
  3. Anyone who brings a gift writes their name on [one/two/three] pieces of paper (I’ve always played with three, but that can make for a very long game—select as appropriate for the number of people you have and their level of patience).
  4. All pieces of paper are placed in a container.
  5. The host picks a name from the container (this begins the first round).Wrapped presents
  6. That person picks a gift and unwraps it (end of first round).
  7. That same person picks a second name from the container (this begins another round).
  8. That new person now has the option of stealing from the first person or picking a new gift and unwrapping it.  If they steal, the first person selects a new gift and unwraps it (end of second round).
  9. Now rounds continue with a new person being selected and end when everyone has made their selection or there are no more gifts to steal (a gift can only be stolen once in a round—a good way to keep track of this if you have a large group is that everyone places their gifts on their laps at the beginning of a round, and on the floor once they’ve been stolen).
  10. If a name gets selected and that person already has a gift, they have the option of (A) keeping their gift (in which case, the round is over and they pick a new name), or (B) stealing from someone else (in which case, they trade gifts and the round continues).
  11. This cycle of high thievery continues until the last name is picked and that person can keep what they have (game over) or upset the apple-cart (not to mention everyone who’s happy with their gift) by trading gifts with someone else and setting off a whole new wave of stealing.

Cover for Father John VS the Zombies
Primarily a writer of fiction, Karl El-Koura works in a wide variety of genres, from science fiction and horror to mainstream and detective fiction, as well as in lengths ranging from short stories to novels. Almost all of his work can be classified as theological fiction. A Christian deeply interested in the “big” questions, Karl’s stories explore issues of theology and spirituality even when he doesn’t consciously intend them to do so. His debut novel Father John VS the Zombies was published in December 2012.