We stopped doing a formal gift exchange and started doing an anonymous exchange where people bring wrapped gifts that can go to anyone and they get wrapped up and placed in a pile. We set the timer for 20 minutes and pass around three dice and shake once in the hopes of getting doubles. Every time we get doubles we get to take a present of our choice from the pile. (No unwrapping though!) When the pile is gone you get to steal the presents from other people until the timer rings. This is always interesting since there is always one gift that gets fought over rather fiercely and since nobody (except the giver) knows what is in it - it's fun to see what everyone fought over. Once the 20 minutes is up we go around in a circle and unwrap the gifts and then lay them out in front of us. When all the gifts are unwrapped, we play the dice part again for 10 minutes - and you get to take the gifts you really want. (And hope the gifts you don't want get grabbed by someone else.) The rule is you don't have to take anything - so that is pretty nice since there is some pretty yucky stuff people try and get rid of sometimes.
Gift certificates are fought over pretty hard. And then there are gifts like the throw above. I grabbed it mostly because I knew "my girls" would love it. My hubby was appalled that I took it - because it's pretty fugly and because we have blankets coming out of our bums. I take satisfaction in the cat curling up in it all cute like though. Vindicated in bringing yet another blanket home.
I hope everyone had a happy holiday season! I am hoping to blog more regularly again now that much of the holiday shenanigans have slowed down.