5 Unique Gift Exchange Themes for Adults

Gift exchange themes for adults make a Secret Santa even more fun.

One of the great joys in life is having old friends. Knowing people for years—or decades—gives you a perspective on life that gets richer as you age. One of the other great joys of life is making new friends. Creating friendships as an adult gives you a whole new shared language to develop. 

Friendships are as important for adults as they are for children, and one of my life philosophies is that they should be celebrated. One way to do that is to, well, celebrate. With a party and gifts! This can be a special adults-only party during the holidays or you can have a party at any point during the year. After all, you appreciate your friends all year-round. 

One way to make your gift exchange even more fun is to have a theme for the gifts. This lets people flex their creative muscles even more and pushes everyone to think about what their giftee would really want.

So, call your friends up. Share gifts. Tell that great story that everyone has heard over and over again but that never gets old. These gift exchange themes for adults celebrate your past while also being a promise for the future. 

The 5 Best Gift Exchange Themes For Adults

Having a theme for your gift exchange makes it all the more memorable. Whether you’re looking for a Secret Santa theme for family members, one for co-workers, or something for all your friends, here are some of our favorite gift exchange themes for adults: 

Geeking Out

Friends don’t always have the same tastes, but there’s usually something everyone loves. Whether it’s a type of music, a TV show, a movie or book series, or anything else, chances are you all nerd out over something. 

An entertainment gift theme can revolve around the broad or the specific. Maybe every gift has to revolve around music, or it can all be Harry Potter or Star Wars themed. It could be a style of animation you all love. It could be the comic books you adore. We know people that had a party revolving entirely around Phish. If it’s something you’re passionate about, let your geek flag fly! 

A Reading Rainbow

For years, people have been saying that print is dead. I’m sure there are even people who have written long books about it. But print isn’t dead, and reading is more popular than ever. Everyone has a favorite book or style of book, whether you’re looking at the wonderful world of kid wizards, the latest from a literary superstar, or deep and somber military tomes. 

If you’re friends with a bunch of bookaloos, then a Secret Santa book exchange is a great idea. You can have specific types of books (like good beach reads), books from a favorite author, or anything else. You just need a group that loves the comfort of curling up with a good read. 

Gifts for Hobbyists

Most people have a hobby of sorts, something that drives them at odd hours. Sometimes it’s obvious—we know that Sarah is always drawing—and sometimes it’s a surprise (did you guys know that Imani fixes old cars?). But if you have a gift exchange where people get gifts for their hobby, you’ll learn a lot about them. 

You could have an exchange for people who are all into the same hobby (like a photography gift exchange, if you’re all in the same club) or have everyone make their wish lists around their hobby. Maybe she’s a tinkerer obsessed with gadgets and electronics, or he’s working on making his home bar the place to hang. Either way, have people open gifts and talk about them. You’ll learn something new about even your closest friends. 


Things can get really busy during the holidays. Once December rolls around, you’ve got work parties, family parties, travel, and so much more. It makes it hard to get together. That’s one of the reasons why Friendsgiving has become so popular. You know Friendsgiving—it’s where you have Thanksgiving with all your friends, enjoying the holiday without any of the manic, maddening, and marvelous family dynamics. 

Having a Friendsgiving gift exchange means that people get gifts revolving around food, drink, and fun. For people who love fall and autumnal gifts, it’s an ideal party. Pro-tip: have it in early November! It’s like a pre-Thanksgiving that helps you enjoy the smoky harvest-time before the holidays. 

The Theme of Memory

Forgive me for getting sappy for a second, but what is friendship except those shared memories you have with each other? Your past carves out intimacies and secrets, moments you’ll always have, sadnesses you endured together, and triumphs you celebrated. 

So, why not celebrate those memories with a picture-themed gift exchange? You can encourage people to bring over pictures or have ones selected to upload. You can exchange frames or other cool ways to display pictures. You can get electronic frames. You can make collages. 

You’ll be using memories to create more memories. As the photobooks are assembled, the stories will flow. People will finish each other’s sentences, dissolving in laughter. Departed friends will be remembered with wistful sadness. Things that only one person recalls will be brought up and brought back to life. It’s a celebration of everything that makes you friends. 

When Secret Santa is Involved, Parties = Adulting

It’s silly to think that parties for adults are silly. After all, we’re all in this life together. We all have things to celebrate, even if it’s just being together. Heck, especially that. 

So, whether you are having a Christmas party for adults, another holiday party, or celebrating just because, you can have all the fun you want. No matter the reason, Secret Santa always leads to fun times. And if you have some gift exchange game ideas to complement the theme, well, you’ve got something really special. And with online gift guides readily available, it’s easy to search for presents that will perfectly fit into the exchange’s theme.

Being an adult is about more than having a job and paying taxes. It’s about being comfortable with who you are, what you like, and who your friends are. It’s about honoring that. So, have a gift exchange theme for adults that puts that bond front and center. 

The Elfster electronic hat might be the easiest platform of them all. Our online Secret Santa generator makes your fun community-building even easier. Start a Wish List today, and don’t forget that you can now pick names and more on an iPhone app or Android app

About Brian B 94 Articles
Brian thinks that giving someone a gift is just about the most fun you can have, so long as you don't stress out about finding the right one. He likes helping people not stress out during the holidays. Hit him up for ways to make your Christmas more fun.