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20 Yankee Swap Gift Ideas Under $20

Updated on January 9, 2015

Yankee Swap is a game that is traditionally played on or around Christmas time at homes and offices all around!

It’s one of the only games where it is both acceptable and expected to have presents stolen; something that you would otherwise only expect from the Grinch himself!

Rules of the Game

The game starts with everyone sitting in a circle around the pile of gifts. One person starts off (pick a name from a hat!) by choosing one gift to unwrap.

The next person then chooses a gift from the pile, and can either choose to unwrap it, or take another gift that was already unwrapped and giving their victim the unwrapped gift in exchange.

This continues until every gift has been unwrapped.


Tips and Tricks

  • Set a limit for how many times a gift can be stolen so that the same gift doesn’t keep getting stolen every turn. A common limit set is three times. Once the gift has been stolen the maximum number of times, it can no longer be taken.

  • Set a dollar amount for gift spending. If you are familiar with the show The Office, you might recall that a surprise Yankee Swap was called, and Michael Scott happened to have purchased an iPod so that he could make sure his gift was the best. $20-$25 is usually a good limit!

  • Allow for an additional gift swap after the game so as to ensure everyone leaves happy with their gift!

  • Try to purchase unisex or practical gifts so they are appealing to most players.

  • If there’s children present, have an adult man a separate game for them so they can get in on the action without ending up with something like a dustbuster!


What would you choose during Yankee Swap?

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Yankee Swap Gift Ideas

If you are planning on attending a Yankee Swap, then you are certainly in need of some Yankee Swap gift ideas! I had mentioned a few tips above that are particularly helpful with choosing a good Yankee Swap gift. Ideas will come easily so as long as the tips are followed!

Here’s a list of Yankee Swap gift ideas under $20:

  1. Black & Decker cordless power screwdriver: Even a woman can appreciate a tool that helps make fixing things easier!

  2. Candy tree: Not only are these easy to make, but you can use any kind of candy you want and make it look as fancy or festive as you see fit! There’s always a candy connoisseur in the group somewhere, make it a gourmet candy tree!

  3. Martini glass set: Most everyone who enjoys alcohol has a nice set of wine glasses, but it’s just not classy to sip a martini from a wine glass when you want a martini!

  4. Sherpa throw blanket: Who doesn’t love cuddling up with a nice, soft blanket on the couch on a cold day?

  5. Hand blender: This little kitchen gadget really comes in handy, and it’s much easier to clean than a regular blender!

  6. Coffee mug set with mixing spoons: If you know people in the group who love coffee or tea, this nice, unisex mug set might just be a big hit!

  7. Flowering tea set: Even someone who doesn’t typically drink tea can enjoy this tea set!

  8. Zen garden: This is a terrific way to destress after a long day at work, or even for a desk at work!

  9. Water fountain: Yet another relaxing thing to have around the house or office!

  10. Soup and cracker mugs: Some people just like to dip their crackers in their soup rather than putting them in. These can also be used for veggies and dip, chips and salsa, etc.

  11. Touchscreen gloves: Give someone the gift of text messaging while keeping their hands warm!

  12. Picture frame set: You might just be aware of the OCD in some people when they see a bunch of mismatched picture frames on the wall! We can all use picture frames!

  13. Cookie cutter set: Have bakers in the family? Someone is bound to appreciate this gift!

  14. Tablet lap desk: Play on your tablet while munching on your favorite snacks! Techies will love this one.

  15. Hand crank flashlight: Perfect for camping, your bug out bag, or even emergencies, never worry again about dead batteries in your flashlight!

  16. Serving platters: We all need a nice set of serving platters for those nights we entertain, right?

  17. Decorative bowl: These are nice for a centerpiece or to use as a fruit bowl!

  18. Tealight holder: A very beautiful decoration for anywhere in the home!

  19. Roadside emergency tool kit: Any car can fail at any time, so always be prepared for the worst!

  20. Bamboo football cutting board and serving platter: Serve up some delicious appetizers on this each game day!

If all else fails and you can think of anything to buy, get a $20 gift card to any local restaurant and put it in a big box with something added for weight to deceive!

Yankee Swap (The Office)


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