To set the ambience, we put on a crackling fire on the Smartboard and serve hot cocoa & cookies. (Now mind you, in Southern California, it is sometimes HOT in December, but having that fire blazing (while the air conditioner is on) makes us feel like it's winter! :)
Each child brings a gently-used wrapped book and places it in the center of the circle. Then just like the present game you've probably played at every family gathering, we call out student numbers. Since both of our classes use student numbers, two kids may either choose a book from the pile of presents or "steal" a book that has already been unwrapped. Once a book has been "stolen" twice, the third owner is safe and gets to keep the book! If a student's book is taken, they also may either choose a new wrapped book from the pile or steal someone else's already unwrapped book.