Plastic Wrap Christmas: Big Kid Fun

Plastic wrap prizes! Several have asked how we do this activity, so here is a somewhat-clear description! (The pics are a little grainy in our living room that night!)

One thing that I highly recommend as you prepare for Christmas with teens and adults is that you try to make new memories…that you try to do things that are applicable to their ages. Yes, we definitely continue some of the earlier traditions. But we’ve also added new ones that are more age-appropriate. One of those is plastic wrap prizes.

This activity could be in lieu of stockings, Christmas Eve PJs, piñatas, etc. It is a ton of fun for teens and adults. With younger kids, there’s always a danger of some disappointment if they get Chapstick or antacids (lol!), but with teens and adults, it is all just good fun. Lots of laughs. Lots of usable items. And more family unity than you would think, LOL!

Here is how we created the huge plastic wrap ball:

1) Take a bunch of small gifts—see suggestions below

2) Lay the first one on plastic wrap that is pulled out then start rolling the plastic wrap around the prize.

3) When it is covered,  lay another prize on it and roll again.

4) When you come to the end of the roll, open another roll and tied the end of the first with the beginning of the second.

5) When we were done with all one hundred plus gifts/prizes, we had a huge ball like you see in the picture.



Ray getting started on the Plastic Wrap Prizes for our Christmas Eve night! Sorting all of the goodies and gifts.

Plastic Wrap Christmas: Big Kid Fun
Getting closer! This is more fun for young adults than stockings!

Plastic Wrap Christmas: Big Kid Fun

The “ball” is getting bigger–we are on our second roll of plastic wrap now!

Plastic Wrap Christmas: Big Kid Fun


Last layer. The kids will pass the ball around the room to the next person, unwrapping another layer each time as their “prizes” fall out!
 Plastic Wrap Christmas: Big Kid Fun

So what exactly do we do with that big ball of prizes, goodies, and gifts? Here is how that part goes down:

 1) The kids all get in a big semi circle and the first one tears away the plastic wrap (the ball is on the floor in front of them) and gets the first prize he comes to/first one that falls out.

2) Then he passes it to the next person (or moves it over in front of the next person who does the same.

3) They continue to do that…they might see something they like better under the next layer, but they get whatever is next in the wrap. (They barter and trade afterwards!)


So what are good Plastic Wrap Prizes? This is dependent on a lot of factors:

1) Whether this activity is in place of other gifts you would normally get them. (Ours is in part as this year we are doing a bigger gift card or two per person and then the “gifts” are the things in this plastic wrap as well as in the grab bags… See my upcoming post on grab bag gifts for Christmas eve.)

2) If it is just for extras, like candy and trinkets that you put in their stockings, then you would probably want to limit it to $.50 or one dollar items, such as packages of gum, candy bars, nail clippers, etc.

3) How many people will be opening the ball and removing things. For us, we have seven adult kids and four kids-in-law. Thus, I try to have at least forty-four items in it so that each “child” receives four gifts or prizes approximately.

4) Your family’s Christmas budget. Since this is replacing some of their gifts this year, I will put a little bit costlier items in it than I did when it did not replace part of their gifts. Therefore, this year, we will have DVDs, nicer earbuds, and some $10 gift cards. Keep in mind that whatever you start is somewhat what people come to expect. (This is, of course, true with any gift of giving situation. Even going down to gift cards this year for us is challenging simply because that is not where we started with our adult Christmas gifts.)

5) What types of things you want them to end up with. I have been on a minimalism kick for the last couple of years; therefore, I am opposed to giving them more things to have lying around their houses since I don’t want things lying around my house either. Of course, sometimes nicer/more usable things are more expensive. Generally speaking, I try to stay away from too many Dollar Tree items and Target dollar bin items unless these are truly usable prizes.

I know this post is getting long, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give you a list of some suggestions for the Plastic Wrap a Prizes. I recommend you use our Kids’ Faves List if you are unsure of what your kids would like. 

1) Gum, mints, Lifesavers, TicTac’s, and other small gum and mint items (I get tons of “consumables” and usually put a gum or candy in every layer—so there is a consumable and a gift each time.)

2) Favorite candy–again I use my kid faves list and get everybody’s favorites knowing they will barter and trade at the end.

3) Ear buds… And more earbuds

4) Fast food gift cards

5) Movie theater tickets

6) Hand warmers

7) Small window scrapers

8) Hand lotion

9) Hand sanitizer

10) DVDs

11) CDs

12) Pepper spray

13) Meat thermometers (I’m all about meat thermometers for my kids’ kitchens!)

14) Car wash cards

15) Wal-mart gift cards

16) Playing cards

17) Hand held portable games (Yahtzee, etc.)

18) Coupons for a ream of paper from our print center (we have a small press publishing company….Character Ink Press)

19) Five dollar bills with a sticky note to use it towards something specific

20) Laundry soap pouches in double zipper bags

21) Spices (especially more expensive ones like real vanilla or a blend)

22) Kitchen gadgets that are super useful


Plastic Wrap Christmas: Big Kid Fun

23) Hand sanitizer, talcum powder, hand lotion, chap stick, nail clippers

24) Soup, coffee, tea, and cocoa packets and add ins

25) Personalized calendars and other small family pic items

26) Flashlights and batteries

27) Mini Lego figures

28) Zippo lighters (in a box)

29) Travel toiletries

30) Toothbrushes and toothpaste


Plastic Wrap Christmas: Big Kid Fun

31) Card games such as Pit, Uno, Dutch Blitz, Skip Bo, Rook, Phase 10

32) Travel games

33) Tylenol, Advil, Emergen C

34) Office supplies such as pens, highlighters, sticky notes, envelopes, etc

35) USB flash drives

36) Household miscellaneous scissor sets, masking tape, pliers, extension cords, etc.



Plastic Wrap Christmas: Big Kid Fun

37) Favorite team paraphernalia

38) Fuzzy socks

39) Bathroom miscellaneous such as Q-tips, cotton balls, Band Aids, etc.

40) Inexpensive sporting tickets (or museum)

41) Phone chargers, car adapters, etc

42) Stress balls, yo yo’s, Silly Putty

43) Oven mitts

44) Plexus X Factor, ProBio 5, Boost, Children’s Chewables, or Slim drink packets

45) Car air fresheners


Plastic Wrap Christmas: Big Kid Fun

46) Tiny plasticware containers, little zipper type bags (craft, pill, etc., sized)

47) Table top mind games (Cracker Barrel style)

48) Gas cards

49) Chip clips, carabiner clips, zip strips

50) Penny, nickel, or dime rolls

51) Small feather dusters, scrub brushes, cleaning cloths


Other Thoughts

• I just use the cheap plastic wrap from the dollar store. (I thought I needed the heavier stuff, and I bought the thicker kind that year, but it really isn’t necessary.)

• Watch out for things with strong scents. Cinnamon car fresheners, peppermint candy, wintergreen gum, pine cone room scents, etc., can make your prizes smell and/or taste those scents/flavors.

• Things can get broken, so watch out for things not packaged. For example, my non-peppermint candy canes were all in pieces.

• If having things even in cost is super important to you, you could handle this one of two ways: You could be sure that every layer of the plastic wrap has similar priced items. For example, you could put Chapstick, fluffy socks, and a five dollar McDonald’s card in if you want each layer to have roughly eight dollars with the stuff in it. Or, you could do it such where the very middle of the ball has all expensive things in it and the outsides of the ball has gum, mints, masking tape, etc. In this way, they would open the lesser priced things first and then expensive things last. Both of these ways in sure that somebody doesn’t just end up with a $1.50 worth of stuff and somebody else is up with $30 worth of stuff at the end.



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