Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yankee Swap

I think it's safe to say that the majority of the population looks forward to the holidays.  Maybe for different reasons.  Children of course love getting new toys and the magic of the season.  Adults tend to enjoy the closeness we feel to our family that doesn't always exist the entire year, and knowing that at least at Christmastime everyone will be together.

I would like to highlight one of my favorite parts about Christmas.  It's a little tradition called Yankee Swap.  This year I got to partake in three Yankee Swaps.  For anyone who is unclear of what this little gift game is, I'll give you the quick rundown.  If you are already familiar, feel free to skip the next paragraph.

The host of the party will set a monetary limit for spending on a gift, typically around $25.  Each participant will purchase a gift, wrap and bring to the party (My husband and I just buy one for the pair of us).  Then someone will write numbers on scraps of paper from one to the number of gifts, or participants,and then the numbers go into a hat.  Each participant draws a number.  The ultimate number to choose is #1 and this is why.  Number one chooses from the wrapped gifts something to open, then number two chooses a gift, and once that is opened they can either keep their gift or take (swap) for number ones gift.  Number three chooses a gift to open, and they can take that, or either of the other two gifts already opened.  This goes on until the last gift is opened, and then whomever is lucky enough to have #1 gets the final choice of any gift.

This might sound complicated but it's really not.  Some people put their own wacky spin on it, but every time I've ever participated it's been nice and simple, like I've laid it out.  This is not to say that sometimes it gets a little bit competitive, and perhaps there is some scheming going on, but that's part of why it's so fun.  You will really the true color of some of the people participating.  And, if you are lucky you will see some true heart felt notions too.  For instance someone who was really excited about a gift and got it stolen  swapped, but then someone will either trade after the game is over, or just give the gift to that person anyway.  I just love seeing that happen.  And it has happened to me before.

The first Yankee Swap we did this year was at my mom's house.  We opened up some etched glasses, and traded them for a cool clock, then number one snatched the clock at the end and we got...

Solar powered house numbers.

The second swap we did was at my husbands aunts house.  We opened up some lovely candle holders and I decided to keep them, my husband of course thought this was ridiculous, and wanted to take the $20 bill someone had wrapped up.  I won, and we ended up keeping our candle holders.  Complete with two Yankee Candles.  They smell wonderful.

Then we also ended up taking home a roasting pan that someone didn't have any use for.. so we double scored.

The last swap was at my husbands other aunts house.  We opened up a crock pot.  Since we have two, we traded for a mandolin. I was pumped about that, and so excited to use it, so I knew someone else would feel the same way.  We had #3 so there were plenty to go after us, it didn't take long for our gift to get swapped.  We got a snack gift basket.  Which we kept till the end.  My husbands 90 year old grandmother ended up with 2 bottles of wine, and no intention of drinking them.  My brother in law (the current holder of the mandolin) said it was in my best interest to try trading with her.  I did this trade and instantaneously he was trading the mandolin for the wine.  So, I got the mandolin!

All in all, it's a lot of fun to participate in the game, and you sometimes end up with some really cool stuff.  I highly recommend that you try it next year if you don't already partake in the tradition.


  1. Love it Meg and you got my yankee swap from yankee candles...glad you ended up with it

    Auntie Kathy...can't post unless I post anonymous

  2. This article is interesting and helpful. I was wondering if someone could share additional knowledge with me? What exactly does solar powered house numbers mean? I am not sure.



Family Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory