21 Fun Virtual Gift Exchange Ideas for 2022

Virtual gift exchange ideas are presents and activities that make online gift swaps more engaging and entertaining. Examples include holiday trivia, gift auctions, and themed presents. Virtual gift exchange ideas can help build bonds among participants, promote the holiday spirit, and show gratitude.

Exchanges are examples of holiday team building activities. For gift ideas, check out the best employee holiday  gifts, remote employe holiday gifts, and employee gifts under $50.

This article contains:

  • virtual gift exchange games
  • online secret Santa ideas
  • online white elephant gift exchange ideas
  • virtual gift exchange instructions

Here we go!

List of virtual gift exchange ideas

During the holiday season, exchanging presents with coworkers is a wonderful way to express gratitude. Consider the following ideas if you are running a virtual gift exchange.

1. Holiday Trivia

If you are considering virtual gift exchange games, then holiday trivia is a great choice. You can conduct a holiday-themed trivia contest over video call and give the prize winners first dibs on the gift pile. After a player wins and chooses a prize, they are no longer part of the game, and the other players continue until all participants have received a present. However, the players with pleasures can still give hints! Colleagues may enjoy themselves and get into the holiday mood together through these competitions. Gifts may be digital, like gift cards, or physically delivered to workers’ homes.

2. Gift Train

This idea is a fantastic option if you have a remote team within the same geographical location. You will gather presents, wrap them, and place them in a single box. You will then send the package to the first recipient. The worker takes one of the presents and passes the box to the next recipient of the gift recipient. This process will continue until all participants have received a present and the box is empty.

3. Gift Auction

If you are hosting a virtual gift exchange, you can turn the event into an auction. The idea is to limit the cost of items and let employees decide what items they will be getting. During your Zoom session, host an auction where workers bid to pay the best possible price for the item. The winner is the highest bidder. When the bidding starts, interested employees can use the “raise hands” feature on Zoom. You can also add comments in the chat section to keep track of gift winners.

4. Raise Your Hand

This game can set the season’s mood and is playable over Zoom. Every participant will get a gift within a specific price range and wrap it before the Zoom meeting. When employees meet, have them bring the wrapped present. You will ask participants to raise their hands if they satisfy specific holiday-related requirements. For instance, “raise your hand if you have decorated your Christmas tree already” or “raise your hand if you are wearing white,” and then have the employees whose hands are raised exchange presents. You may play as many rounds as you desire, but every worker should leave with a present that was not theirs. You should keep track of the pairs and remind participants to mail their gifts after the event.

5. Gift Guess

Gift guess is a fantastic choice for virtual gift exchanges. Participating workers each purchase a mystery present and disguise it with creative wrapping. Each worker will take a turn holding up their gift in front of their cameras while the others try to guess what is inside. Whoever makes the first right guess gets to keep the prize. Workers can provide clues, but they must not be too obvious. You can continue with each employee until the exchange is complete. Participants can mail out their gifts after the event.

6. Themed Presents

You could pick a theme for your virtual workplace gift exchange and have employees buy a present that fits the bill. You may use ideas in conjunction with another system to assign rewards. It will be fun to see how your group members’ imaginations stack up against each other. Examples of themes to consider include:

  • Food
  • Gift Cards
  • Tech
  • Drinks
  • Art and Crafts

Using themes for virtual gift exchanges can level the playing field for participants.

7. Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a longtime custom of gifting a random recipient anonymously. Every employee in the company participates in a Secret Santa exchange by getting randomly paired with a coworker by an online generator and then buying that colleague a present. You can add fun to your online secret Santa ideas by having workers drop clues about their identities to their intended receivers before the big revelation.

After deciding a day and time for the virtual event, the next step is to pair participants with their Secret Santas. Instead of physically drawing names, you may use an app like Santa’s Secret Keeper to electronically assign each participant a recipient and set a limit on the budget.

8. Gift Grab

Gift Grab is a gift swap idea that leaves the gifting process to chance. To run this idea virtually, you must take a different approach from the traditional version. You can make a lift of virtual gifts, including restaurant meal tickets, online subscriptions, and gift cards. Preferably, have employees contribute a certain amount towards buying the gifts. Afterward, assign a number to each virtual gift and have employees pick a number at random. Or, do not number the presents and have all workers choose presents according to the order of the numbers they drew.

9. Charity Exchange

A better way to share Christmas happiness than gifts is to do good for others. A charity swap, as opposed to a standard gift exchange, is another creative option for the virtual office holiday party. A charity exchange is a Secret Santa-style gift-giving game in which employees draw names to determine who receives donations. On the other hand, instead of purchasing an item, you would make a financial contribution to an organization that has special meaning to your giftee.

You can also write all of the workers’ names and the name of their preferred charity on separate pieces of paper, and then draw names out of a hat. Then, the staff will give a token amount to the designated charity in the honoree’s name.

10. White Elephant

Online white elephant gift exchange ideas, also known as “Yankee swaps,” may be a great way to boost morale over the holiday season if your staff members have a strong sense of humor. Encourage employees to bring a wrapped present to the video call for this idea. Then, before the day, allot numbers to each participant.

To play, have participants raise their gifts, and the player with number one chooses a present they find the most alluring. The employee with the gift opens it, and then the worker with number two may either take the item from the previous person, in which case the first picker must select another or choose a new gift. What makes the white elephant unique is that the gift is often strange or humorous objects or undesirable items that workers select to regift to one another.

11. Book Exchange

Bookworms in the workplace will appreciate this swap idea since reading is a valuable activity. Employees should bring a copy of their go-to read or a work by a favored author to share over Zoom. You can choose names from a random list to determine who receives which book. To make the process even more personal, you might encourage staff to write a message to the receiver describing why that book is so important to them before sending it out. It is an excellent opportunity for workers to bond through a shared interest while getting to know one another and even discovering a new favorite author. To keep the activity fully virtual, you can have participants send each other ebooks.

12. Dessert Stipend

Holiday desserts are the ultimate Christmas telltale. You might gift a gingerbread home or a gingerbread cookie house to show your festive joy. You can also offer recipients the gift of a basket filled with various delights.

You can indulge your sweet craving in a humorous manner. A Hoppier card or a gift card for a delivery service can ensure recipients get some warm and scrumptious pastries delivered straight from a local bakery. You can add a little healthy competition by picking a winning cookie from the votes cast by all the participants. When baking, providing a gluten-free or allergy-friendly section is a good idea.

Gift ideas for virtual gift exchanges

You can get the following gift ideas for the virtual gift swap event.

1. Art Kit

Art may be an excellent therapeutic aid for employees enduring great stress, anxiety, or loneliness. As a side interest, it is also possible to have a lot of fun with art. The perfect Secret Santa present for the artist on your list is an art kit, including doodle pens, pencils, a notebook, and some paints. If you want to do an art-based swap sans shipping, then you can have employees make art for each other. After getting an assigned recipient, participants will craft a special creative creation. Examples might include caricatures, digital avatars, songs, logos, coloring pages, and short stories. The gifter will then reveal the art during the video call and send a copy to the giftee.

2. Crafted Presents

It is hard to beat the thoughtfulness and effort that goes into a handmade present. You may organize the virtual gift exchange such that each participant crafts something unique for one individual, or you can have them all work on the same idea and give it to whoever wants it.

If you have a knack for a hobby such as knitting, crocheting, or sewing, you should think about making handmade gifts. Your coworkers will appreciate the extra time, effort, and thinking you put into a handcrafted present. If you can knit and you know a colleague likes knitted hats, you have got yourself a thoughtful, inexpensive present. Mailing a handmade mitten to a remote worker during the holidays is a good idea.

3. Scented Candles

Candles and incense, two of the most popular aromatherapy accessories, are thoughtful gifts to send to olfactory-obsessed employees. Natural soy and beeswax candles, handcrafted incense, and other aromatherapy goods are available from various internet retailers. Candle and incense holders and other one-of-a-kind items for use with aromatherapy are also great presents.

4. Herbal Teas

Herbal teas and tea accessories are great options for the office gift exchange if you have a colleague who enjoys tea as much as coffee. If you have a tea connoisseur colleague, you may show your appreciation by sending them a thoughtful gift like a tea sampler, a diffuser, or a set of specialty mugs for boiling teas and infusions.

5. Recipe Baskets

Regardless of culinary prowess, every employee has a go-to dish they love to prepare. Exchanging beloved recipes, rather than simply a note with directions, is a unique and enjoyable alternative to traditional gift-giving. Workers should put together a gift box with all the supplies and recipe materials for the cuisine and send it out to recipients. To determine who receives each basket, you can draw names at random. Another idea is to simply compile the submitted recipes into a digital cookbook.

6. Amazon Gift Cards

If you still have no clue what to get an employee on your virtual Secret Santa list, Amazon.com gift cards are the perfect electronic present for such occasions. Giving a gift card ensures that the receiver may get exactly what they want without worrying that you wasted your money.

7. Virtual Cooking Classes

This idea is great you have employees on your online Secret Santa list who loves to cook but whose skills are less than stellar, or maybe you are a talented chef who is interested in developing your abilities You can gift your employees some virtual cooking courses this holiday season so they may try out their culinary chops in a risk-free and entertaining setting. Virtual cooking classes are a great opportunity to spend quality time at home with loved ones, whether you are celebrating Christmas or any other time of year.

8. Calendars and Planners

Office organizers such as calendars, planners, and agendas are thoughtful gifts for colleagues who value punctuality and efficiency. You can think about getting your colleague a yearlong bullet planner so they can keep track of their schedule, priorities, and activities outside of work.

In addition, journals, diaries, and notebooks are always appreciated by coworkers. Many other kinds of bullet notebooks, and journaling accessories, such as stickers and stencils, so you should be able to find an item that suits your coworker’s taste. You can have the item delivered to the recipient before the new year.

Virtual gift exchange instructions

Here is how to pull off a virtual holiday gift exchange for your distributed workforce:

1. Determine the Date

First, contact guests to choose a time and day that works for all participants. Depending on the group size, it may be a good idea to send out a questionnaire through email, the kind that asks participants to choose their most available days and times of the week, and then go from there.

2. Arrange for Employees to Buy and Wrap Gifts

Each participant must purchase and wrap a present for the virtual gift exchange ideas to work. If you can, try to agree on a budget and gift category ahead of time so that nobody feels shortchanged or left out because they received a joke present while their coworker walked away with a high-end coffee machine. Here, a firm spending limit might be helpful, as extravagant presents are actively encouraged. You can also send participants recommendations for emailable and online gifts.

3. Choose Presents at Random

If you are the host, you may just give every team member a number. Two websites, whiteelephantonline.com and secretsanta.com, are dedicated to helping teams maintain the spirit of the traditional transaction by leaving every aspect to chance. After signing up, you will have access to their service, where you may generate random invitation numbers.

4. Choose Your Medium

Since many individuals are still learning the ropes of virtual platforms, it is a good idea to check in with your invitees to find out which video platform they prefer. If you know that one of your pals is only familiar with FaceTime and has never used Google Meet before, you can save yourself and the group a lot of frustration by doing some preliminary research. It is also best to do the technology demonstration ahead of time.

5. Prepare for a Conference Call

When the time comes, every participant in the call should be ready to go live. After catching up with your colleagues, get out the cameras and have them hold up their presents so the games can start. Now, the employee with number one will get to choose the most enticing mystery present, and the worker who purchased that bundle will get to open it in front of others. The gameplay is easy. You may want to establish some fairness regulations and prevent the event from going on for too long. Some white elephant parties limit theft such that no guest has their present taken from them more than three times.

6. Swap Mailing Addresses

Before ending the party, every participant should know their gift recipient so they can ask for their address and send it out. You can track recipients address in a spreadsheet. If you are hosting a virtual secret Santa, you can use the host’s address, who will, in turn, mail the gift out after the event. This process makes the exchange process more discreet.


Holiday office parties that include virtual gift exchanges are a lot of fun for participants. You probably want to give the ideal present if you participate in a virtual gift exchange as part of a company party. It might be difficult to pick the perfect present for your colleagues since there are so many options. Therefore, if your company plans virtual gift exchanges, do your best to learn each recipient’s preferences as much as possible.

These exchanges are often part of virtual Christmas parties and Zoom holiday parties.

FAQ: Virtual gift exchange ideas

Here are frequently asked questions about virtual gift exchange ideas.

What are virtual gift exchanges?

Virtual gift exchanges are a fun way for employees to gift to each other without meeting physically. the activity involves drawing names and buying a virtual or physical gift for the chosen recipient.

What are some good virtual gift exchange ideas?

Some good virtual gift exchange ideas include gift auctions, homemade gifts, themed gifts, and gift guess. You can also host an online white elephant exchange.

How do you do a virtual gift exchange?

To do a virtual gift exchange, you should ensure the whole workplace or team participates in the gift exchange so that no one feels left out. It is also advisable to set a strict limit on the cost of the gifts so that every participant is on the same playing field. Companies should respect employees’ wishes to opt out of the program without repercussions for those who do not want to join. You should set up the video conference and send invite links to all the participants. You should also notify employees ahead of the event, so they can get gifts.

Author: Carly Hill

Arguably the #1 Christmas fan. I believe it’s never too early to get started decorating your next tree!

Carly Hill

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