The Yankee Swap

The Yankee Swap is a fun holiday gift giving party game. This site can help you download the Yankee Swap rules and variations instructions, find great Yankee Swap gift ideas, plus provide resources to plan your own Yankee Swap. This is a great holiday game for any size group, The Yankee Swap makes traditional gift giving fun and exciting, perfect for the office holiday party.

Save Money – If you have a bunch of people to buy gifts for try a Yankee Swap. The Yankee Swap is a great way to save money at Christmas time. Instead of bringing a bunch of cheap gifts for everyone consider setting a higher spending limit and bring one really nice gift and Yankee Swap them. 

Game Origins – The game is said to have come from the civil war holiday tradition of trading prisoners of war with the enemy. Although the origin of the game is disputed, the term “Yankee Swap” in written form itself dates back to the early ninetenth century.

Yankee Swap Official Rules – The most popular version of the Yankee Swap Rules or White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules say any number of people may participate, including children. However, the minimum number of participants should be at least four or else the game is not much fun. Each participant is asked to bring along a gift worth no more than a pre-agreed amount, generally around $25. 

Each player picks from a hat a number from one up to the total number of participants. Each person gets a crack at picking a gift according to his or her number. The person who picks the first gift opens it to show it to the rest of the company. Then the number two participant picks a gift and chooses to either unwrap it or swap it for an unwrapped gift. If the gift is swapped, the person who had their gift taken from them gets to unwrap the new gift. The game goes on until everyone has had their chance and then, typically number one has the choice to either keep their gift or swap it with anyone elses gift. 

When everyone has opened a gift some trading should be expected. Trading is perfectly acceptable so that, as much as possible, everyone goes home with a gift they are happy with. Go to the Yankee Swap Rules page to see some variations of the game. Download Yankee Swap Rules.