A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Great Gift Exchange is a series that connects YouTube content creators in a Secret Santa-like chain of giving, with instructional segments that show creators and viewers how to make unique and meaningful gift wrappings. The series is cheerful and upbeat; creators and host Alton DuLaney put notable thought into choosing presents and then presenting them in ways that resonate both with their own background and interests as well as those as the recipient. YouTube creators are a diverse lot in terms of race, ethnicity, physical ability, gender, age, and their areas of content; participants are encouraged to inject their own unique points of view into the giving process. There's almost no mature content (save for one brief joke about a strip club and dollar bills), so this show is ideal whole-family viewing.
What's the story?
Hosted by noted gift wrap artist Alton DuLaney, THE GREAT GIFT EXCHANGE is a series that features 12 YouTube creators participating in a gift-giving chain, who learn how to package their gifts in beautiful and meaningful ways. Each creator gives (and is given) a donation towards a charity of their choice, which DuLaney helps them package in a way that's both eye-catching and incorporates something of the recipient's life and interests. They also visit DuLaney's gift wrapping studio, where they, and viewers, are educated on the art of gift wrapping, including tips and tricks for taking their own holiday creations to the next level. Participating YouTubers include AsapSCIENCE, Rosanna Pansino, Physics Girl, Smosh Games, and Ambers Closet, among others.
Is it any good?
A cheerful, sweet Christmas treat, this series is surprisingly delightful, as well as educational for those who enjoy wrapping gifts. Host Alton DuLaney is chipper and quirky in his ice-cream colored cowboy hats and bow ties, guiding his series of guests through the creation of unique and meaningful wrappings for thoughtful presents. Of course, the main present to each YouTuber is a charitable donation, something that's a bit of a gimme and also sounds boring, but DuLaney manages to inject significance into their wrappings. The donation for Molly Burke, who creates a lot of content around her blindness, comes wrapped in a doghouse-shaped box with interesting textures for her to feel; Nigerian beauty vlogger Shalom Blac creates an African wax print textile for her donation; DuLaney and company put other donations inside a bath bomb or boxes wrapped in money.
It's all a lot of relaxing fun to watch, in the manner of a Great British Baking Show: Ordinary people making beautiful things, and treating each other with kindness. Viewers may be inspired to put more thought into their own gifts and their presentation, or may just want to watch as DuLaney demonstrates the art of furoshiki (Japanese cloth wrapping) or shows how to use recycled materials to create something beautiful and new. There are worse metaphors for holiday magic, as it turns out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why shows that demonstrate how to do something are popular on TV. Are people looking to sharpen their own skills? Or is it fun just to watch? Why? What's interesting about watching the act of creation?
The Great Gift Exchange features YouTube content creators. Why do you think these creators participated? What do they get out of participation?
Host Alton DuLaney encourages gift givers to think about the person they're giving a present to, and to customize the wrapping to their personality or interests. How can you put this idea into action in your own life?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love holiday cheer
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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