THE STEALING GAME

The adults in our family exchange names so each of us have only one intentional holiday present to buy. In addition, we each take an anonymous gift costing about twenty francs (dollars) and play “The Stealing Game.”

The gift is wrapped and suitable for either male or female. Numbers one to the number-of-people-attending are written on slips of paper. Everyone draws a slip of paper with a number on it.

Number one starts, chooses a gift and opens it. (A gift is always opened after it is chosen.) Number two can steal the gift from number one or choose a wrapped gift. Subsequent numbered persons have the same choice to steal a gift or choose a new wrapped one.

The first person to draw and choose a gift has a chance to steal at the end as he or she didn’t have the chance before.

(Of course, player number one would be able to steal only if someone had stolen from him or her. Otherwise, he or she would still have the original gift at the end.)

There’s just one extra rule. A person–like Mike–can steal a specific present, perhaps tickets to a play, only once. A certain gift that is very popular can be stolen a number of times.

The game ends when all of the presents are gone.

Betsy (Oct.’14) adds, “What we do for our other family exchange is to draw names, with couples choosing first to have a greater chance of avoiding to choose a spouse. If one does draw the name of a spouse, it is put “back in the hat,” and the draw-er chooses another name. We continue until everyone has the name of a non-spouse.”

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