A Yankee Swap is one way for a group of people to exchange Christmas gifts. It differs from a Secret Santa format because the gift is not selected for a known individual. Each person who participates in the Yankee Swap brings a wrapped present without a gift tag. The amount to spend is usually agreed upon in advance so that all gifts have approximately the same dollar value. The gifts are placed on a large table or similar location and each person draws a number. In escalating numerical order, each person selects a gift, unwraps it, and must decide to keep it or swap it for a gift that someone else has already opened and displayed. To accommodate both male and female participants, gender neutral gifts are preferable.
It seems everyone has some sort of home office, and you’ll find many attractive desk accessories in leather or fabric that would fill a need for organization or increased efficiency. Small essentials such as stapler, paper punch, a matched set of attractive binders, a good dictionary or an attractive desk lamp would also be welcome as gender neutral gifts.
Dining out is popular, and restaurant gift cards are a universal treat. Choose an eatery that is accessible in multiple locations so anyone can take advantage of your gift.
Assemble a collection of food products that relates to a specific theme. An Italian dinner basket can include pasta, of course, with several jars of distinctive sauces, cheeses for grating, bread sticks, olive oil and herbs for bread dipping, Italian salad dressing, or balsamic vinegar.
Target a specific meal, such as breakfast, and provide all the makings. Combine a nonstick skillet, grill or omelet pan with spatula, pancake or muffin mix, maple syrup, fruit preserves and cocoa or coffee.
A condiment basket could combine special varieties of olives, hot and sweet peppers, flavorful sauces for meats or seafood, several styles of mustard, various relishes or preserves of garden vegetables or fruits.
Pack a picnic in a basket with disposable plates, flatware, napkins, bottle and can openers, food storage containers, and other handy items. A quilted throw or bamboo beach mat would add comfort if it fits the budget. Include brochures to various scenic parks in the area.
Everyone likes to shop. A gift certificate to a popular department store, sports shop, liquor mart, or spa service might be a good choice that would let someone enjoy a special treat he or she might not otherwise give to themselves.
If the group shares a common interest in winter sports, clothing that could be gender and size neutral would be items such as warm scarves in classic wool plaids, ski hats, gloves or ear warmers available in unisex styles and colors. A Yankee Swap at a warm-weather golf community would enable gift selections such as a golf balls, golf club covers, or a gift certificate that could be used at the pro shop.
In a Yankee Swap, the recipient will have the option of exchanging the chosen gift for another, and everyone should end up with something they like.