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Adding some holiday spirit to your Vikings homegating gathering

Combining two great things

Ugly Christmas Sweater Run in Amsterdam Photo by Romy Arroyo Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

We’ve talked a bit this season about “homegating” and how it can be every bit as great an experience as actually attending a Minnesota Vikings game, particularly for those of us who are a little farther away from the Twin Cities. But now the holiday season is upon us, and if you’re going to be having friends and family gathering to watch football during this time of the year, there’s a very easy way to combine the spirit of the holiday with your football excitement.

The best way to do this in a manner that can accommodate as many people as possible is by doing a gift exchange. There are a few different ways that you can do this that can bring some fun to the proceedings, with one of the most common being the “white elephant” gift exchange. Here’s how it works.

Each person attending your shindig brings a wrapped gift with them to place in a common location. In the spirit of inclusivity, you should definitely set a price limit on gifts of around $10 or $20. You can also go with themed gifts, whether they’re “gag gifts” or whatever the case may be. You can even ask for the gifts to be football-themed if you’d like there to be a stronger connection between the game and your gift exchange. You will also need to have some sort of numbers for people to draw that will let people know what order they’ll be picking their gifts in.

When it’s time for the gift exchange to begin, you’ll want all of the gifts in a place where everyone can see them. Whoever gets the first pick in your gift draft ... see, another football connection ... will select the present that they want. Then, whoever has the second pick can either go and select a present from the unwrapped gifts or steal the gift from whoever selected first.

Every subsequent person who selects a gift has the same option: Either take someone else’s gift or go to pick a new one. Anyone who has a present stolen from them also has the same option. This will continue until all of the gifts have been selected and everyone has a gift in their possession.

You can add some different variations to these, such as limiting the number of times a particular gift can be stolen or limiting the number of times an individual player can be stolen from (i.e. “If someone has stolen your gift three times then nobody can steal from you again”). When everything is said and done, everybody should have a gift in their hands and, when the swapping is over and done with, everyone can open what they have, leaving your party with more than they arrived with.

Again, you shouldn’t expect people to break the bank in order to be a part of your gift exchange, and if people don’t want to be part of the exchange you can give them the ability to opt out. But who doesn’t like getting gifts, especially around the holidays?

If you want to add even more Christmas spirit to your homegating gathering, you can change some of your regular recipes to things that are more holiday-themed. You can make some eggnog, whether it contains a little “extra” for the adults or simply a non-alcoholic version; you can serve ham as your main course, and you can have holiday cookies available as a dessert option. You can even encourage the wearing of ugly sweaters and, perhaps, even have a contest for that as well.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to have friends and family over at your home, whether it’s for watching football or not. But if you are going to continue your homegating through the holiday season, implementing a few different holiday-centric twists is a way to bring something different to the party and give your friends and family something different to look forward to. Let us know if you add any of these twists to your holiday gatherings for this year!