Have you ever played the left right Christmas game at Christmas Parties? It’s always a fun way to get large groups involved in a wonderful Christmas gift exchange (even a white elephant gift exchange or Secret Santa gift exchange is fun to do with the left-right game). We’ve found it a great way to get our family members involved in a game together regardless of their ages. So this holiday season as you go to a holiday party we’ve come up with a fun game version of left-right involving a sweet bookstore with a mystery twist!
The Free printable version of this game is at the bottom of this post.
How to Play: Gather everyone together in a circle holding a wrapped gift; it does not have to be the gift they’ve brought to the gift exchange. From there it is very simple, while someone reads the story below, anytime the participants hear the words “right” or “left” as the story is read, they pass the gifts in that direction. When you get to the end of the story the gift they are holding is the gift they get to unwrap.
Twist: You can make this game a little more interesting by allowing the stealing of gifts at the end. As each person (one at a time) unwraps their gift they get one opportunity to “Steal” another person’s present. You go around the circle opening up presents and “stealing” them if the participants choose to do so. Each gift can only be stolen two or three times depending on the size of your group (or number of gifts). Each person should NOT end up with their own gift.
Gift ideas: Often when we play this game, we play it as a white elephant gift exchange. So everyone will bring a small gift (around $20) with either candy bars or a gift card with it. But the type of gifts you gift is up to what your group would enjoy. Many book groups do a secret book exchange, a bookmark exchange, or a mug exchange. We’ve ended up with gifts from different events ranging from a bundle of toys, to reading gadgets, card games, or even a beloved family recipe.
This game has been written and created for your personal use, it is not intended for resell. Please enjoy this game, feel free to make it your own story by replacing names with names from your group. We hope you have so much fun playing it and that it’s the perfect game to engage everyone.
Merry Pages and the Left & Right Mystery of Christmas Gift Exchange Game
It was a quiet night on the left side of town, and right around the corner from the town square, a mystery book club was convening in the Merry Pages Bookshop. The townsfolk cherished entering the bookstore, as they were always greeted by the enchanting sight of books and rows of books from left to right that evoked a sense of nostalgia. With the Christmas tree to the left of the front window, it felt like stepping into a paradise tailored for lovers of literature.
At the heart of it all, the proprietor of Merry Pages Bookshop, Mrs. Clausberry, welcomed them as they entered, offering warm hot chocolate with snowflakes dancing in the air—an enchanting fusion she referred to as the right magical mystery of Christmas. The wonder of the festive season permeated the air and made all who entered feel warm and cozy inside.
Gathering the group for their, No Clue to Small book club, Mrs. Clausberry surprised them with six books left on the table, each concealing a Christmas Tradition bookmark with a mystery to unravel. Placed right in front of each person’s chair, the presents were wrapped in a distinctive left-right pattern adorned with candy canes and Wright brother’s chocolate.
“I wanted to give you a special Christmas mystery this year,” said Mrs. Clausberry.
As the book club members settled into their seats, their eyes drifted right down to the gifts, revealing their eagerness to discover the clues to the Christmas mysteries that awaited them.
Mrs. Liz Right immediately started unwrapping her gift. Her soft gasp of wonder and wide eyes were filled with happy tears when she opened her gift to discover her book with a beautiful festive bookmark inside.
“Mrs. Liz Right,” said Mrs. Clausberry, “your Christmas tradition mystery involves the long-honored tradition of Jingle, our mischievous shop elf who loves playing games left and right.” Mrs. Clausberry paused, surprised when suddenly Jingle leaped onto the table, passing the books both left and right, and right back again. “Jingle! What are you doing?” inquired Mrs. Clausberry.
Jingle replied, “Just playing the game, Mrs. Clausberry!” as he leaped off the table, disappearing through the secret door in the back of the bookshop.
“Well,” said Mrs. Clausberry with a smile, “I guess Jingle gave away that mystery.”
The group chuckled, thoroughly entertained by Jingle’s playful antics.
While everyone was smiling and remembering their favorite memories of the elf on the shelf, Mr. John Right opened up his gift to discover the book within and the mystery bookmark in between the pages.
“Mr. John Right,” Mrs. Clausberry continued, “the bookmark in front of you contains one of my very favorite Christmas traditions! It involves leaving something out for the man who comes down the chimney each year. Can you guess what it is?”
Mr. John Right, a twinkle in his eye, looked down at the bookmark before him. Adorned with a festive plate and empty glass, the clue triggered a smile. “Cookies and milk!” Mr. John Right exclaimed, with a knowing look to the right. “It’s the timeless tradition of leaving out cookies and milk for Santa Claus, isn’t it?”
Mrs. Clausberry beamed with delight. “Absolutely right, Mr. John Right! It’s a tradition that warms the heart, much like the hot cocoa we’re enjoying tonight.” She gestured to the cocoa station to the left, where the wonderful aroma lingered.
Passing the remaining gifts to the left, Mrs. Anita Right eagerly ripped open the paper on her gift. As she flipped through the pages, a hidden Christmas Tradition bookmark slipped out of the pages.
Mrs. Clausberry, with a playful grin, announced, “Your Christmas mystery involves twinkling lights, fresh-cut pine, and family gathering together around a tree as they pass the joy from left to right.”
Mrs. Anita Right thought for a moment, a light coming into her eyes. “Is it decorating a Christmas Tree?”
“Yes, it is decorating the Christmas tree!” replied Mrs. Clausberry. “Decorating the Christmas tree is one my favorite traditions to do each year.”
Mrs. Anita Right nodded in agreement, recalling cherished moments of decorating a Christmas tree with her family through the years, passing joy right around the tree. The atmosphere of the bookshop seemed to amplify the festive warmth.
Next was Mrs. Kimmie Left, whose anticipation heightened while she unwrapped her gift. A left-right pattern of checkered plaid adorned the gift wrap, and as she discovered the mysterious bookmark, Mrs. Clausberry shared, “Your Christmas tradition is all about hanging stockings with care, and perhaps finding a surprise hidden within, passed down from left to right in the family.”
Mrs. Kimmie Left smiled. “I know this one! My family opens our stockings every Christmas morning.” Her eyes reflected the warmth as she reminisced about the delightful surprises tucked into stockings over the years. The spirit of Christmas echoed through the shop, reverberating within everyone from left to right.
With anticipation, JC JustRight eagerly opened his book, uncovering a bookmark that hinted at a tradition involving a right jolly old man who checked his list twice. JC JustRight laughed. “This one is easy, Santa Claus always checks his list twice.”
Mrs. Clausberry, nodding with amused approval, said, “Yes, your Christmas mystery is all about the excitement of discovering if you’ve been left on the naughty or right on the nice list, a tradition filled with suspense and anticipation.”
JC JustRight laughed. “I am always on the nice list Mrs. Clausberry!”
The group chuckled, appreciating the mix of mystery and merriment in the Christmas traditions. The air filled with the essence of the season, swirling from left to right like a gentle snowfall.
Lastly, Mr. Web Right unwrapped his gift with a grin. The left-right plaid pattern on his bookmark hinted at a tradition involving the gathering of loved ones around a festive meal. Mr. Web Right looked deeply in thought as he tried to figure out what his clue could mean.
A lightbulb went off in Mr. Web Right’s head. “I think it is the sharing of a meal on Christmas day with your family, right?”
Mrs. Clausberry, delighted by the anticipation in the air, declared, “Correct! Christmas mystery revolves around a feast shared with family and friends, passing plates and joy from right to left, or perhaps left to right.”
The book club members exchanged smiles, each reveling in their Christmas traditions with a sense of shared comradery. The stories, like the enchanting snowflakes that danced in the air, added a touch of Christmas warmth to the Merry Pages Bookshop.
As the night continued to unfold, the group shared stories, laughter, and the joy of remembering the mysteries and memories of Christmas’s past. The left and right references seamlessly woven into the tales echoed the deep friendship and shared love of reading that made the book club, much like Merry Pages itself, a haven for the nostalgia of Christmas. The warmth lingered in the air, left behind by the whispers of the Christmas mysteries and the joy of a gathering that embraced the spirit of the season from every right and left angle.
We hope you have a “right” wonderful Christmas filled with warmth, joy, laughter, and the delight of making memories with friends and family.
The Mystery Review Crew
Here is the Free Printable of our Left-Right Christmas game. You may be interested in our other Christmas ideas, like the mystery behind Christmas traditions, a gift guide for the book lover in your life (that’s not books!).
Stay tuned for more little stories from Mrs.Clausberry and the Merry Pages Bookstore crew.