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Yankee Gift Swap Hacks!

Updated on June 9, 2016

A Special Holiday Ornament Makes a Great Gift

Cheap and Easy Gift Swap Ideas



The Yankee swap is a lot of fun and I've gotten a couple of useful items from them, but more important, I had a lot of laughs at them as well. I've also attended a ‘re-gifter' swap and a services swap, which I'll explain later.

All of the swaps I've been to were made up of all women, so they get pretty crazy. Before you buy or create your gift - know you audience. My crowed is quite tame, but my neighbors group kept my eyebrows raised for a couple of hours. Their offerings included soap, candy bars and a pair of fake glasses all with a part of the male anatomy (or sometimes three parts) as the model.

The milder gifts included:

1. A chocolate covered pretzel in a clear plastic box with a note "PMS EMERGENCY KIT" (chocolate/carbs/salt),

2. I recently bought a "Rosanna Rosannadana" and an "I Love Lucy" audio greeting card with their actual recorded jokes in them; or funny songs..

3. A bottle of cheap perfume with new labels: "Stress", "Man Sweat", "Old Farts", etc. on them.

4. The infamous Chia pet (the fight to get rid of that one was quite intense)

5. A Rubber Ducky taped to a sample bottle of bubble bath.

6. Maxi-Pad slippers (one as the sole and another glued across the toe end and decorated with fake flowers or googly eyes).

7. A baggy of candy that looks like stones (many candy or internet places sell them). They're actually quite good, but look very much like rocks or stones.

8. A turkey baster with a label ‘DIY Get Pregnant Kit"

9. A bag of ‘coal' (found in the candy area of the store) - it's really chewing gum.

10. A sink or toilet plunger

11. A very sexy romance novel (plenty of muscles and cleavage and an interesting title).

12. A "muscle builder's" magazine - this will keep them busy and laughing for a very long time! (or a guy=model calendar).

13. Funny t-shirts or bumper stickers.

14. A hula-hoop

15. Edible undies

Mundane but useful items: $5 - $10 range

1.Non-slip slipper socks.

2, A deck of cards.

3. A roll of quarters.

4. Sunscreen lip gloss

5. Fake tattoos

6, Inexpensive holiday jewelry.

7. A package of Oreos (or other sinful yet simple cookies or candy)

8. Sunglasses.

9. A theme photo frame (pet,kids,holiday, etc.)

10. Mini sewing kit

11. A small bottle of lotion or bubble bath or a bar of fancy scented soap.

12. A journal and a pen

13. A key-ring flashlight, tape measure or pen.

14. Postage Stamps

15. Night Light

16. A small calendar

17. Fridge Magnets.

18. A single giant Hershey's Kiss or Chocolate Santa.

19. A magazine (like Fine Living, Gardening, Cooking, etc. the latest edition of course).

20. A CD with golden oldies or oldies dance music

21. Fridge shopping list with magnet.

22. Classic Christmas movies - DVD

23. Blank DVD's or CD's

For a larger Budget ($10-$20)

1. Driving Gloves

2. Hat/Scarf set

3. Travel Mug

4. A box of Godiva or other gourmet chocolates

5. A nice photo frame.

6. A DVD of a movie you'd like to share.

7. A humorous or inspirational book

8. Fancy Journal

9. Fancy pen

10. Lotion, bubble bath

11. A throw wrap or blanket

12. A set of matching kitchen towels/oven mitts/hot pads

13. An audio book

14. A novel or book you've read and want to share.

15. Music CD (

16. A t-shirt from the local University sports team (or one from each rival team). U of Michigan/Michigan State works for me.

17. A silk poinsettia plant - or a live plant.

18. Disposable camera.

19. A bird house

20. Bird feeder

I've also been to ‘re-gifter' parties. It's best to keep track of who gave you those gifts still sitting in your closet unused, as you don't want to hurt feelings. Last year I ended up with a very beautiful sweater that my size 8 friend got last Christmas and it fit my size 14 body quite nicely. There were flannel nighttimes, slippers, non-flannel nighties, books, candles (firefighter's wives never get to use candles), photo albums, photo frames, hats, gloves, jewelry - we had a great time and ended up with some really nice items. This was more of a swap party - everyone put their stuff on a table. The guests put their name on a slip of paper in a paper cup in front of each item - so if more than one person wanted something, there was a drawing for it.

There are also ‘service' swaps. Knitters, potters, sewers, cooks, bakers, gardeners, babysitters, errand runners - whatever - put a coupon for an hour or whatever time they wanted to spend and what they would do. For example: An hour of weeding, a hand knitted scarf (you provide the yarn), a batch of mending, a pan of lasagna from that one person who makes it better than anyone else, and so on. This is great for a very limited budget - but stress that each person must carry through on their promise within the next twelve months.

Have fun!

There are Many Ideas . . here are a couple . .


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    • profile image 8 years ago

      I've put together a website dedicated to the Yankee Swap including downloadable rules and gift ideas at

    • profile image 8 years ago

      I've put together a website dedicated to the Yankee Swap including downloadable rules and gift ideas at

    • profile image 8 years ago

      I've put together a website dedicated to the Yankee Swap including downloadable rules and gift ideas at

      Check out the Yankee Swap gift ideas list I've created on Amazon

    • Pat Merewether profile image

      Pat Merewether 9 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for the comments. I hope you found some holiday help here! =]

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 9 years ago from London

      These swaps sound like a really good idea, I especially like the sound of the re-gifter parties; seems like a more direct way of freecycling things! I bet they're good fun too.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 9 years ago from America

      Interesting I enjoyed your hub. Do they do those kind of swaps all the time by you. I have never seen them done here. How about a reuseable tote for groceries. you can find them cheap.