January 16, 2023 8 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Awesome Yankee Swap Gift Ideas Everyone Will Love

Yankee Swap is a game where you pick a gift to keep, and then the next person can trade that one for any other. There is no way to tell what gift you'll end up with in Yankee Swap, and everyone gets a turn choosing a new one after it's their turn. It ends when there are no more gifts left to choose from. There are some great Yankee Swap gift ideas as well as strategy tips in this guide if you want to play!

How Do You Play Yankee Swap Gift Exchange?

Yankee swap is an interesting twist on traditional Christmas games and has different names such as white elephant or secret Santa. It’s fun because participants don't know what they're going to get until they get to unwrap and keep it. The game can be played with any large group of adults, from work to church to your neighbors or your annual Christmas party at home.

Everyone places their gifts in the middle and then forms a ring around the pile. Gifts are selected and opened in turn, like by a clockwise rotation or by using pre-assigned numbers. Each person has the option of swapping for someone else's gift or getting a new one. The person whose gift was taken gets to choose a new gift or take another person's present. Repeat this step until everyone has picked a gift.

Ground rules should be set before everyone goes off to purchase or create their gifts. Typical rules are: 

  • Unwrapping gifts (or not) before deciding to keep or swap
  • Themed, serious or funny gifts;
  • Setting a budget for the gifts

There are also common game rules to keep the game from descending into chaos/ Examples could be that:

  • A gift can only be swapped once per turn, and those who had their presents stolen have to wait for a different turn to take it back.
  • A gift can only be robbed for a maximum of 3 times. The last person to steal it gets to keep it, and it can no longer be swapped.
  • A person can only have their gift stolen for 3 times. After that, the gift they choose for the last time is theirs to keep and can’t be swapped.

What are the best yankee swap gift ideas?

Yankee swaps can be fast paced and chaotic, which adds to the enjoyment. Since you don’t know who may end up with yours, generic yankee swap gift ideas that suit everyone are best.

Our Picks for Popular yet Generic Yankee Swap Gift Ideas

Alcohol is a popular choice for white elephant and dirty santa exchanges since it’s such a universal gift for adults. A little boring as yankee swap gift ideas, but they are definitely appreciated and highly practical!

Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur

Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur a perfect Yankee Swap gift idea for the holidays because it can be used in various recipes that call for Baileys. Baileys is a well-known, quality brand and a great liquor for any occasion. It has a rich and creamy taste that is perfect for sipping on its own or mixed with coffee, hot chocolate, or any other beverage. It also works as an awesome dessert topping. It has strong alcohol content but not overpowering, making it a good choice for those who enjoy indulging during festive seasons.

Les Vins Pirouettes Eros

Les Vins Pirouettes Eros is a natural wine, meaning it is made with minimum sulphites or additives, being organic and vegan. This wine is made from grapes grown on the slopes of the Pirouettes vineyard in the Loire Valley, Languedoc region of France. It has a natural fruity aroma with citrus notes of orange and grapefruit, and has a light, crisp taste perfect for any occasion. This wine is perfect for those who prefer a lighter, less sweet taste. 

Other popular gifts suitable for men and women are food items like chocolates and snacks, or comfort items like aromatherapy candles or warm, fluffy socks.

You could also go the DIY route and bake homemade cookies, or you can opt for a more unique gift such as an artsy one-of-a-kind souvenir or a snazzy art print. For example, you can take a trip to an art museum and then buy a print that you like. Or, you could make your own homemade candle or soap with infused fruit scents. 

Our Picks for Hilariously Funny Yankee Swap Gift Ideas

People also like to present novelty items that are quirky or even weird as yankee swap gift ideas. These cause a good laugh with whoever ends up with their gift.

People of Walmart Adult Coloring Book

The People of Walmart Adult Coloring Book is a hilarious take on people watching at any of the retail giant’s superstores. With over 150 pages of original black and white illustrations, the coloring book features Walmart shoppers in their natural habitat, perfect for anyone who loves to color and has a sense of humor.

Fuzzy Pink Llama Duster

The Fuzzy Pink Llama Duster is the perfect accessory for any llama lover, and an awesome item to start conversations. You can use it to dust off your furniture, your car, or even your kids. It's also great for impromptu dress up, pretending you're a celebrity or belting out a tune when you’re in the mood. 

The Voting Game Card Game

The Voting Game Card Game is a card game that you play with your friends and do what friends do best: make fun of each other! You'll be asked to vote on questions like "Who should be the next president?" or "What's the best way to spend a rainy day?" and then you'll laugh at your friends' answers.

Our Roundup for the Best Gift Cards as Yankee Swap Gift Ideas

Gift cards are also a popular option as yankee swap gift ideas, and a great way is to pick gift cards for brands that provide a unique experience. Other than the usual Amazon or Walmart gift card, you could gift vouchers to an online mixology class or virtual wine tasting. Gift platforms like Cozymeal and Xperiencedays allow the recipient to pick how to spend their time. Best thing about gift cards is that the recipient is spoiled for choice!


Amazon isn't just an online marketplace, it's a treasure trove of benefits and services! With Amazon Prime, you enjoy free delivery, streaming services and more. Kindle e-books enrich your reading experience. Amazon's innovative products like Echo devices and Fire Stick revolutionize your home. Feel great knowing your purchases can contribute to your favorite charity with Amazon Smile. Embrace the full Amazon experience today!


While Amazon may be the first name that pops into your head for online shopping, let's not forget about Walmart. Walmart online shopping offers an equally impressive range of products with competitive prices. They've got everything, from groceries to electronics, and more, all at your fingertips. You can enjoy the convenience of shopping from your home, office, or anywhere you choose, and have everything delivered right to your doorstep. Plus, there's a neat feature where you can pick up your online orders at your local Walmart store for free. Isn't that fantastic?


There's a fascinating online platform called Cozymeal. It is all about presenting you with a variety of experiences to choose from. It started off with culinary experiences, and has since expanded outside of food-related events.

From fun cooking classes to private chef-prepared meals, and even exciting ghost tours or sailing on a 100-year old sailboat - they've got it all covered.

The recipients of the Cozymeal gift cards have the flexibility to schedule their own class according to their preferences. Cozymeal gift cards never expire and can be used at any location throughout the United States.

Online Mixology Class (Cozymeal)

For those with a taste for cocktails and a desire to learn, this class is the perfect gift. This interactive online course dives into the art of mixing drinks, teaching you how to concoct your favourite cocktails from the comfort of your own home. The class is conducted by experienced mixologists who are eager to share their knowledge. Each class lasts approximately 2 hours, providing ample time to learn, practice, and enjoy. Not only will the recipient get to enjoy a fun experience, they'll also gain a useful new skill.

Virtual Wine Tasting (Cozymeal)

Dive into the world of Virtual Wine Tasting with Cozymeal, a perfect gift for the uninitiated or the connoisseur. 

This experience is the perfect gift for the wine enthusiast in your life, whether they are a novice or a seasoned expert. Not only does this gift offer an interactive online experience, it also broadens the recipient’s palate and knowledge about wines from around the world.

With a Cozymeal gift, you're not just giving a present - you're giving a memorable experience.

Xperience Days

Similar to Cozymeal, Xperience Days offers experiences that may not be usually available to the general public. And like Cozymeal, Xperience Days gift cards never expire.

Trapeze class in Long Island (Xperience Days)

How about literally learning to "fly" with a Trapeze Class in Long Island, offered by Xperience Days? This exciting class provides a unique opportunity to break free from your comfort zone, master new skills, and experience the exhilarating feeling of defying gravity.

Imagine the thrill of swinging high in the air, feeling the wind on your face, and the accomplishment of catching a trapeze. It's not just a class; it's an adventure that promises an unforgettable memory and a story worth telling.

Pizza and Cocktails Tour in Chicago (Xperience Days)

Imagine strolling through the bustling streets of the Windy City, feeling its vibrant energy while savoring the taste of its world-renowned pizza and cocktails.

This tour is more than a culinary exploration, it's a journey into the heart of Chicago's iconic food scene. From devouring a slice of deep-dish pizza that literally melts in your mouth, to sipping on a handcrafted cocktail that explodes with flavours, every moment is designed to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Salem Sound Schooner Sailing in Salem, Massachusetts (Xperience Days)

Picture the bliss of the Salem Sound Schooner Sailing experience with Xperience Days. Feel the cool sea breeze, relish the magnificent views, and soak up the rich maritime history as you glide smoothly on a genuine, traditionally-rigged schooner.

This isn't just a sailing trip, it's a time machine journeying back to the golden age of sailing. Savor the thrill of hoisting the sails yourself or simply lay back and bask in the tranquil beauty of the waters.

What is a universal yankee swap gift idea that most women will appreciate?

A care package combined with a unique experience is just what most women would appreciate! Cratejoy's Therabox is a fantastic option for a yankee swap gift idea because it provides everything you need to unwind from the stresses of life. It includes self-care products tailored to reduce stress and improve your health, which are expertly assembled by a licensed therapist and then delivered to your door. These products could include everything from a relaxing bath soak to a 30-minute meditation guide. With Cratejoy's Therabox, you'll have a brand-new experience every month! You can either give the recipient a one-time gift box or allow her to continue receiving its benefits by extending the subscription herself!

What's a great yankee swap gift idea that no one thinks of?

Food gifts are common in Yankee Swaps, but this one may be the finest. Domestic USA shipping is offered on Goldbelly for Nancy Silverton's gelato gift box, which includes nine unique gelato flavors. Nine artisan gelato and sorbetto samples handpicked and offered in four-ounce versions of Nancy Silverton's favorite flavors, including vegan varieties. Who doesn't love ice cream, and what more when it's from a gourmet brand? It's a truly distinctive yankee swap gift idea that can't be beat!

Urban Nexus
Urban Nexus

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