A traditional gift exchange is fun, but playing Yankee Swap adds an element of humor and excitement that is really appreciated around the holiday season.

Great for medium and large-sized groups, the game is commonly played at holiday parties and family get-togethers across the country.

Yankee swap gifts are usually something fun, funny or creative, but more importantly, the idea is they aren’t completely useless. Everyone should leave with something they don’t hate and every gift idea on this list more than qualifies.

The Best Yankee Swap Gift Ideas in 2020

Star Wars Death Star Kitchen Timer

Best Yankee Swap Ideas (2020 Guide) Image 1
Click here to shop

Get it at Walmart.

Someone in your group loves Star Wars. Even if this isn’t true, everyone will still want this kitchen timer in their home.

Modeled after the Death Star, it emits an LED laser light and plays movie-inspired sound effects when the timer goes off.

Can any other Yankee Swap gift idea for $25 ensure that your food doesn’t go over to the dark side?

Bear Oven Mitts

Best Yankee Swap Ideas (2020 Guide) Image 2
Click here to shop

Get these at The Lighter Side.

Fun and functional, these oven mitts let you take pans straight out of the oven with your “bear” hands – get it?

The paw area is made of heat-resistant silicone to handle hot foods and the rest of the mitt is constructed from insulated cotton.

Looking for a good gift for Yankee Swap idea that pleases everyone while simultaneously making them all sigh in exasperation is no easy feat, but this pun-heavy present may get the job done.

Suction Razor Holder

Best Yankee Swap Ideas (2020 Guide) Image 3
Click here to shop

Get it at Bed Bath & Beyond.

The perfect mustached gentleman, this professional makes sure your razor is easy to access, clean and safe. Simply attach him to the mirror or bathroom shower tile. He holds most standard razors.

Gift ideas for a Yankee Swap rarely include a personal assistant, but with this classy man in your shower, it’s the closest thing to an assistant most people will ever get.

Waterproof Bluetooth Shower Speaker

Best Yankee Swap Ideas (2020 Guide) Image 4
Click here to shop

Get it at Walmart.

Some ideas for Yankee Swap gifts can change someone’s life. Take this waterproof speaker for example. It is portable, easy to carry and has super suction for the shower – which is clearly where it belongs.

Imagine having karaoke every morning in the shower before class or work. The day is just better and the winner of this great gift will remember you forever.

Mini Cactus Humidifier

Best Yankee Swap Ideas (2020 Guide) Image 5
Click here to shop

Get it at The Apollo Box.

Super useful, this humidifier is ideal for places where the heat is always running. Easy to set up, it is great for offices, bedrooms and even the car for long commutes.

It has an automatic timer and shutdown, a nightlight and is very quiet.

No will have a reason to get prickly over going home with one of the best Yankee Swap gift ideas $20 can buy.

Phone Neck Holder

Best Yankee Swap Ideas (2020 Guide) Image 6
Click here to shop

Get it on Amazon.

No one talks about it, but we have all been square in the face by our phones. This universal phone mount keeps that from every happening again.

Adjustable, flexible and multi-functional, it will be a hit.

As far as Yankee Swap gifts ideas, this one seems dumb, but you know that the giftee is going to use it far more than they’ll ever be willing to admit.

Microwavable S’mores Maker

Best Yankee Swap Ideas (2020 Guide) Image 7
Click here to shop

Get it at Walmart.

It is unfair that s’mores require a campfire. That is until, now.

Definitely one of those Yankee Swap ideas for people you know well or don’t know at all, it makes the classic treat in the microwave in as little as 30 seconds.

Simply fill it up with all your favorite ingredients and fill the reservoir with water to consistently make delicious and gooey s’mores every time.

Frequently Asked Questions

One of the holiday traditions that many people actually look forward to, Yankee Swap is a fun gift giving game that also doubles as a party game.

A great chance to loosen up at a party where you don’t know many people or a way to bond and become closer to the ones you already love, it is easy to play in every setting and with any group of people.

Sure to make things a lot more exciting, Yankee Swap gives people a chance to let their inner kid shine.

Yankee Swap vs White Elephant

Many people think that Yankee Swap is the same as White Elephant gifts, but it’s not.

The origin of White Elephant is based on the idea that receiving a white elephant as a gift would be a burden. Allegedly, this is exactly what the King of Siam did to people who had upset him.

White Elephants were sacred, requiring special housing and expensive food and took a fortune to take care of. Under the guise of generosity, he basically ruined someone’s life with this “gift”. Hence, White Elephant gifts are supposed to be pointless and ridiculous.

The origin of Yankee Swap is from the American Civil War where generals swapped prisoners in a brute barter system, while others claim trivial gifts were exchanged by immigrants in city marketplaces.

A Yankee Swap gift is wanted and welcomed, so getting a high quality gift, not necessarily expensive, is important.

Yankee Swap Rules

Step 1: Every participant brings one gift to the party and places it in a pile

The gift should be well-wrapped giving no one a chance to know what it could possibly be. It should meet the requirements outlined by the organized. Some agreed upon requirements should include budget, theme and appropriateness

Step 2: Determine the order of game play

The simplest way to determine the order participants choose a gift is to randomly assign them with numbers that everyone chooses from a hat.

Step 3: The first player must select and open a gift

Number one goes first, choosing a gift and unwrapping it in front of everyone, giving all a good look at what the gift is.

Step 4: The next player can steal the opened gift or choose a new gift from the pile

This is how game play goes until the end but if someone steals from you, you cannot steal the gift back immediately. You can pick a new gift or steal from someone else, working your way back to the gift that was taken.

Step 5: The game ends once all gifts are opened


You never know how this game will end but bringing a great gift goes a long way to making sure at least one person goes home happy. Besides plotting to get the gift you want, that is all you can really do.

No matter what happens, however, you will have a good time.