Yankee Swap Rules

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So you are invited to Yankee Swap Gift Exchange party, or maybe you are the one hosting it. You probably have some questions on your mind like:

  • What are the Yankee Swap rules?
  • How much should I spend on Yankee Swap?
  • How is white Yankee Swap game played?
  • How does Yankee Swap end?

Sassy Santa has everything you need to know about Yankee Swap rules on this page!

You can also link to or download these rules (shorter & printer friendly).

Core Yankee Swap Rules

1. Bring one well wrapped gift to the party.

Everyone must follow the rules outlined by the organizer of the Yankee Swap and bring one wrapped gift that meets the theme and price range criteria. For example, if the rules say to bring gifts that do no exceed 20 dollars, you must bring gifts that are under that price limit. If the theme is food only, make sure you are showing up with cookies or the like and not a GAG gift.

Most often the gifts are novelty or GAG, so make sure to wrap them well to make everyone open them, only to be severely disappointed. A good example of this is putting a small gift in a huge box.

It has become popular to shop online for Yankee Swap Gift Ideas. We have gathered some of the best Yankee Swap Gifts for your enjoyment here

2. Determine the game play order by drawing.

You will need to know who goes first and what the order of the players is. The most simple way to determine the Yankee Swap order is to write numbers on pieces of paper and have them randomly assigned or picked from a box. Write as many numbers as there are players, that way everyone get’s a number and the order is complete.

3. Have the first player select and open a gift.

The participant that gets the paper with number one written on it goes first. Have them pick the gift they want in the pile and open it so that everyone else can see what the first player got.

4. The next player will select a new gift or steal an opened one.

After the first gift has been opened, the second player has a choice to steal it from the first player or pick and open yet another gift from the pile and open it. The game continues like this until the end.

5. Can’t immediately steal a gift stolen from you.

One rule of Yankee Swap to remember is that if someone steals from you, you would have the choice to steal from someone else or pick another unopened gift, but you can not steal back the gift that was just taken from you.

6. Refusal to steal after all gifts are opened ends the game.

After all the players have had their turn, the first player gets another go to swap the gift he or she is holding for any other opened gift. The game will only come to an end, when all gifts have been opened and someone declines to steal a gift.

Swap Variations

Aside from the basic rules, there are some Yankee Swap variations to incorporate in your exchange:

* Three swaps and you’re out.
If you get a gift stolen from you three times, you will be out of the game and no one can steal from you. The last gift you selected/stole stays with you. Make sure it’s a good one!

* No last swap. In this variation the first player is not allowed to swap in the end. Thus the game ends when the swapping is complete after the last player has chosen the last gift or declined to steal.

* The gift is out after three swaps.
If any present gets stolen three times, it won’t be allowed to be stolen again and who ever was holding it last will get to keep it. So you might want to wait till someone has stolen a gift you want at least twice before you strike! Although timing it might be nearly impossible.

Download Ynakee Swap Rules

You can download printer friendly version of these rules below. PDF is handy for quickly or printing the rules out while the Word document will allow you to change the specifics of the rules before you print.

PDF: YankeeSwapRules.pdf
Word: YankeeSwapRules.doc

Link to Yankee Swap Rules

If you are organizing a Yankee Swap, it will be useful to link to these rules to keep eveyone up to speed on how exactly Yankee Swap gift exchange takes place. You can copy and paste code below to link to this page from your website, blog or event page:

Get Featured!

Are you running a gift exchange this Christmas season? Want your company or group to be featured by Sasssy Santa? Just contact us and we will feature your story on our blog, along with a funny or happy picture of your party for the whole world to see!