Giving Gifts

(the one where players give imaginary gifts)

In this training exercise, one player pulls a gift out of thin air and gives it to her partner (“Hey, I got you this calculator”). The partner is excited to receive the gift and adds more information about it (“Thanks! I can finally do my taxes” or “Great! It’s a solar calculator”). Take turns offering and accepting new gifts. You can play this in pairs or around a circle. 

(aka: What’s In The Box?, Giving Presents)


Pro Tips:

  • Let yourself discover each gift in the moment. No planning or premeditating!
  • Instead of “thinking” of a gift, try letting the way that your hands pick up the gift define it for you.
  • Give gifts that your partner will enjoy.
  • If you find yourself rejecting or devaluing the gifts you’re given (“Thanks, but I don’t need a calculator because I have an iPhone”) try starting your responses with YES AND (“YES AND it looks just like the one I used in high school!”)

Alternate Versions:

  • Be over-the-top excited by each gift that is given. Have a huge emotional reaction. You can even try playing with negative emotions, but make sure you’re still saying YES AND
  • Pass a single gift around the circle and keep adding more information about it (what it looks like, where it came from, what you plan to do with it, etc.) until it feels done. Then start a new one.
  • Give the gift silently and have your partner define what it is based on how you give it. If you give a gift held in the palm of your hand they might say “Oh! It’s a trained mouse.” The giver then adds more information (“Yup! I’ve been teaching him to sing Happy Birthday!”)
  • If players are struggling with hesitation, have them open an imaginary box in front of them and pull out a gift, immediately declaring what it is. This version works great with kids.