New Year’s Eve is almost here, and right now, everyone is looking for fun games and activities to play with their family, at office parties, at school, and with friends. One of the most popular gift exchange games for New Year’s Eve is the Left-Right game.
How to Play New Year’s Eve Left-Right Game
The Left-Right game is a super fun and easy game to play with any group of people, no matter how big or small. The game starts by having all guests sit in a circle, placing a gift in someone’s hand and the party host reads out a story that includes the words “left” and “right” throughout it.
Each time the word “right” is read out loud, the gift is passed to the person to the right. When the word “left” is read, the gift is passed to the left. Once the story is complete, whoever is holding the gift is the winner and gets to keep it.
We prefer this style of game because it’s less competitive than similar kinds of games like the White Elephant gift exchange game. No one likes having their gift stolen, like what happens in White Elephant and Dirty Santa, so in my opinion, this makes it one of the better party games.
Introducing: “Late to the Party” Printable New Year’s Eve Left-Right Game
We’re happy to announce the latest addition to our Printable Etsy shop, our New Year’s Left-Right game. It features a fun story about what happens when going to a New Year’s eve party goes terribly wrong! Featuring a larger-than-life surprise character that might just have your guests gasping for air as the gift gets passed around like a hot potato! It is a really cute game, that your guests will love.
We’ve designed our game to be friendly for groups big and small and it’s a completely clean story that is appropriate for families, schools, work, and youth groups. We’re certain this story will become a holiday tradition for you.
Free New Year’s Eve Left-Right Stories
In addition to our left-right story that is available in our printable shop, we wanted to provide a few sample stories for you to use at your New Year’s eve party.
If you want to help support our small business, this website, and the content we make, then purchase the game from our shop and we’ll be extremely grateful!
Now, let’s get to the example left-right stories!
Story #1: Harvey The Snowman and the Search for Jeremy
Harvey the snowman woke up on New Year’s Eve feeling excited and ready to celebrate. He was excitedly looking forward to spending New Year’s eve with his lifelong friend, Jeremy the Blue Jay, who had promised to fly RIGHT down from the north for the occasion.
Harvey LEFT his snow pile and headed to Jeremy’s favorite Douglas Fir tree on the LEFT fork of the local river. He arrives at the tree, but the air was LEFT silent. No tweeting could be heard. Harvey wandered up and down the river bank looking LEFT and RIGHT at all of the trees.
As the hours ticked by, however, Jeremy still hadn’t arrived. Something wasn’t RIGHT, Harvey thought to himself. Harvey tried not to worry, but as the sun began to set and the temperature dropped, he couldn’t shake the feeling that Jeremy wouldn’t have LEFT him there alone or forgotten the plans.
Determined to find his friend, Harvey set off into the snowy forest next to the river, calling out for Jeremy as he went. He searched high and low, LEFT, RIGHT, and LEFT again. From the frozen rivers to the icy caves, there was no sign of Jeremy anywhere. Had Jeremy LEFT forever?
Just when Harvey was about to give up hope, he heard a faint chirping sound coming from a nearby tree to the LEFT of a huge fallen pine tree. He rushed over and there, perched on a branch, was Jeremy!
Jeremy explained that after he had LEFT to meet Harvey, he had gotten lost! He had been trying to find his way back to Harvey. Harvey was overjoyed to see his friend again and know he was all RIGHT! The two of them spent the rest of the night celebrating the new year together, grateful.
Story #2: A Daycare New Year’s Eve To Remember!
It was New Year’s Eve, and the daycare teacher, Ms. WRIGHT, got RIGHT to work on the most memorable New Year’s eve party for her students. She spent weeks planning an exciting and festive celebration, and she was RIGHT to be truly proud of the work she had done. She was excited to see the looks of joy on her students’ faces.
Ms. WRIGHT and her assistant, Ms. Rodriguez, prepared for the big event happily. They set up the RIGHT decorations, including streamers, balloons, and a banner that said “Happy New Year!” They also prepared a bunch of fun activities, such as a crafting station, a mock ball drop, and a photo booth off to the RIGHT side of the daycare. There was nothing LEFT for them to do but to wait for the kids to arrive!
At 5 o’clock, the kids were dropped off at the daycare and LEFT with Ms. WRIGHT. She greeted each of them warmly with a huge smile and some high fives. She led them to the party room, where they saw the colorful decorations and a table full of tasty treats. They were RIGHT where they wanted to be!
The children had a blast dancing, making crafts, and taking photos with their friends. They even did a mock countdown to the new year with a special ball drop, just like the one in Times Square.
As the clock struck 7 pm, Ms. WRIGHT led the kids in a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne,” and they all used their noisemakers and shouted, “Happy New Year!” It was an event that none of them will ever forget. They were LEFT with feelings of great joy and happiness.
As the party came to an end and the kids LEFT with their parents, Ms. WRIGHT and Ms. Rodriguez collapsed onto the couch, exhausted, but grinning ear-to-ear. They knew how to do a New Year’s eve celebration RIGHT! They had pulled off a fantastic New Year’s Eve party for the kids, and they couldn’t wait to do it all again next year.
How to Play the Left-Right Game When You Have Lots of Guests
If you have many guests, then it’s possible that the gift may not make it all the way around the circle, so what should you do next? Multiple gifts! Give one gift to one guest, then give another gift to a guest on the opposite side of the circle. If you have a ton of guests, then you may need to add even more guests, but for most groups, one or two gifts should be sufficient.
Is The Left-Right Game Hard To Play?
Not at all. While it can be a fast-paced game (depending on the story), it’s really not about competition or rules. It’s a simple game meant for people to have a fun time. It isn’t like some games where the party host has to wave their arms in the air to get everyone’s attention, then shout all the rules and hope everyone heard them and comprehended them.
Give it a try and it’ll likely become one of your favorite group games, if not your favorite holiday game of all.
What Should I Use As A Left-Right Game Prize?
Big Gifts or Small Gifts?
While you can use any gift you want, it makes sense to pick a gift that is small enough to pass around. Alternatively, if you want to give away a larger gift, then you can pass around a token, and whoever ends up with the token will be the lucky winner of the big gift.
Inexpensive Gifts or Expensive Gifts?
Generally, I would say it’s better to use inexpensive gifts as no one will be truly disappointed if they don’t win, but assuming you have a reasonably mature guest list, you can get as extravagant as you want with the gift that is won.
Should I Use a Themed Gift?
While it isn’t necessary, themed gifts are a nice way to tie everything together. Whether you’re matching the theme of the story, the theme of your New Year’s eve party, or something else entirely, themed gifts can be a great way to add an extra layer of fun and memorability to the game and your party.
What Are Some Example Gift Ideas I Could Use?
If you’re in a rush and want some simple ideas that you can easily get, then here are some gift ideas you can use for your New Year’s Eve left-right game.
If your crew is really into electronics, then here are some fun gift ideas for your gift game.
- Apple AirTags
- Google Chromecast
- Kindle Firestick
- Mini drones
- Wireless charger
- Bluetooth speaker
- Portable battery bank
If your guests are more into the outdoors, then these are the perfect gifts for your left-right game.
- LifeStraw water filter
- Collapsible dishes
- Dry sacks
- Foldable camp stove
- Basic fire kit
For guests (or hosts) who are interested in artistic pursuits, here are some gift ideas that might spread the joy of art:
- Paint by numbers sets (these aren’t just for kids anymore!)
- A Kalimba
- Perler Bead kits
- Painting kits
- Handmade jewelry kits
And finally, what list would be complete without completely ridiculous gifts that will leave your guests laughing.
- Burrito Blankets
- Toilet Paper Word Search Rolls
- Snake in a can
- Toilet Golf
- Oddly scented candles
- Gag books
- Crafting with Cat Hair
- Magical Mullets Coloring Book
- Dad Jokes for Kids
- New Driver’s Guide To Things To Not Crash Into
There are a ton of things you could do for fun at your New Year’s eve party, but I think the Left-Right game is head and shoulders above a lot of the typical activities you might find.
With the right story in hand, you can have a very simple, yet extremely fun game that results in a ton of laughter, and a lot of memories. It doesn’t take a lot of time to explain the rules, and once the game is going, everyone just gets to focus on the story and the fun. Happy New Year!