Della waited until all the other gifts had been given to bring out her Sant Bag. All the other presents had been opened when she brought out her red pillow case full of wrapped presents. The rules to the Santa bag is simple. Everyone gathers in the room and the bag is passed from one person to another, each person picks a gift (You can choose to unwrap as you choose them or wait until they have all been chosen – personal preference) and waits for the bag to come around again. The bag goes as many times around as it needs to have all the presents chosen.
Once the bag is empty and the presents are unwrapped the TRADING begins. This is such good fun. I traded a pack of crayons for can of tuna, a candy bar for a bottle of shampoo and a bar of soup (candy bars bartered well). The trading went on for hours among the children. The best trade of the day was when Uncle Bob was talked-into trading his color book for a pacifier. We all voted it was a fair trade and he wore it around his neck the rest of the day.
Even if time are not so tough and you have enough money and the inclination to choose individual gifts for everyone on your list, this is still an added attraction to Christmas day. I open gifts on Christmas eve and the stocking is saved for Santa to fill. The Santa bag became a family effort once the kids were old enough to handle money (about 8 to 10 years old). I would give them $10 or $20 each and told them they had to purchase a minimum of 6 gifts but no more than $10.
This is import to give them a limit or you will end up with too many little gifts, trust me. This is also a great way to get them to pay attention to prices and learn to budget for sales tax (back then it was 5-6%). They also learn value for money in an indirect way. They were also responsible for wrapping what they purchased and adding it to the bag.