How to Make Sure Your Yankee Swap Doesn’t Suck!

When was the last time you went to a Yankee Swap aka Holiday Gift Exchange aka bad giftDirty Santa Swap aka White Elephant Exchange ? Thumbs up or down?

If you live in the United States, you’ve been subjected to a Yankee Swap. The first time I participated in one, I had a blast. After a few more I saw how wrong they could go. In the interest of good cheer, I will add my 2 cents on how to have a fun-filled gift exchange.

laughterThe Rules: Everybody brings an unmarked, wrapped gift. Strict price parameters should be set ahead of time. For example, between 5 and 10 dollars. Got 12 guests? Write the numbers 1 through 12 on small, individual pieces of paper. Fold in half and place papers in a bowl. Each player pulls a number. Player #1 selects a gift and opens it. The turn is over. Player #2 selects a gift, opens it and then decides if he/she wants to keep the gift or swap the gift with player #1. Player #3 selects a gift, opens it and can swap with #1 or #2. Get it? This continues until the last player has picked a gift. Then player #1 can pick from any of the gifts and the game is over. Ideally there is lots of fighting over gifts and hilarity ensues. Any questions re the rules, email me. ****** UPDATE! I just found this website,  Easy to understand rules and lots of variations!

Common SNAFU’s: 1. Some idiot brings a ridiculously over priced item. Stupid!cheap wine Then each turn only consists of the current player taking the over-priced item from the player before. No fun at all. 2. Somebody brings a real dog of a present (like a roughly used candle). Whoever gets that clunker has no chance of having it stolen and might as well hang out at the bar. 3. Somebody plays the saint and takes the rotten gifts from the crybabies. Boring! 4. There are way too many people. Gets tedious. No more than 20 people. 5. There are only a few people. Ditto-dullsville. Gotta have at least 8. 6. Somebody is crying and relives past holiday slights. For heaven’s sake why? Drunk? Off her meds? Kick him/her to the curb.

funny christmas giftGifts to Get People Fighting: Lottery tickets, gift cards to good places, funny gifts (yeah, go to, autographed items, good alcohol with great label, something really cool from an antique store. A beautiful book was the coveted prize at the last swap I went to. But it would have to be a humdinger. Certificates for services such as,”I will drive you to the train station on Monday morning” or, “ will pick up coffee 3 days in a row” or if you work in a real estate office,”I will do an open house for you”. Get it?

No Good, Very Bad Gifts: Candles, box of wine, drug store candy, used anything (unless it is ‘vintage’ and really, really cool), homemade items (sorry, crafters!), religious paraphernalia, clothing!

Have you been to a good Yankee Swap? What gifts did people fight over? Do tell!

Ahem! I just aspen to have a super, happy, fun website,, that sells fun and unusual gifts that are PERFECT for Yankee Swaps and gift exchanges. We sell care packages most of the year, but during the holidays we do a brisk business selling stocking stuffers and small gifts!

photo credit: <a href=””>carbonated</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <ahref=””>cc</a>  photo credit: <a href=””>nickgraywfu</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

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