Erica Marx

Giving Gifts

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Partners give gifts to each other. Receiver is delighted to receive the gift.



acceptance of offers
realize that the receiver creates the scene by their reaction
experience feel-good joy of receiving lots of gifts


One player pulls a gift out of thin air and gives it to her partner (“Hey, I got you something.... It's a calculator!”). The partner is excited to receive the gift and adds more information about it (“Thanks! I can finally do my taxes” Take turns offering and accepting new gifts. You can play this in pairs or around a circle.

Count off 1-2

1 is Receiver: Imagine you are going to get the best gift in the world.

Imagine it. Look forward to it. You’re so excited, so appreciative.

2 is Giver. You will be giving a gift.

You’re so excited to give this gift.

Giver will give gift with no explanation. I got you an ANT!

Receiver will excitedly and appreciatively accept the gift. An ANT! That’s so wonderful.

Allow some physicality (size, weight, transfer)


Imagine gift that begins with A

3-2-1 Give gift

Bell: stop

Switch roles. Now 1 is giver. 2 is receiver.

After both have given, 1 step into center, go to next pair chair in circle (rotate partners)

Notes: Can give prompts to help people with gift suggestions. ie. Gift that begins with the letter R, gift that begins with the last letter of your name / the first letter of the partner's name, etc.

Variation: Give "gross" gift 

Note: Remind people that they can take their special gifts with them

Alternate Versions:

Be over-the-top excited by each gift that is given. Have a huge emotional reaction. You can even try playing with negative emotions, but make sure you’re still saying YES AND

Pass a single gift around the circle and keep adding more information about it (what it looks like, where it came from, what you plan to do with it, etc.) until it feels done. Then start a new one.

Give the gift silently and have your partner define what it is based on how you give it. If you give a gift held in the palm of your hand they might say “Oh! It’s a trained mouse.” The giver then adds more information (“Yup! I’ve been teaching him to sing Happy Birthday!”)

If players are struggling with hesitation, have them open an imaginary box in front of them and pull out a gift, immediately declaring what it is. This version works great with kids.

Start the exercise with each person sculpting a gift out of clay. Each person 'makes' their gift and then they will give it without words. Allow them to give it to the partner for a bit before thanking them for what you think it is.


Also called Presents and What's in the Box

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