What has been the most exciting event in the office for years now? What game do we play at home during Christmas holidays and are eagerly anticipating all year? If you said "Yankee Swap" - you are correct. Whether you are Organizing one, or are invited to participate, you will need a good understanding of Yankee Swap rules from basics, to advanced, as well as why this game has become so popular in United States and the rest of the world and what are some of the best yankee swap gifts to buy for your gift exchange party.
Why Play Yankee Swap?
In the United States and the rest of the world, running Christmas parties has become very popular. Many comanies and offices will host a Christmas party for their employees and include the Yankee Swap gift exchange and some sort of awards with it for employee recognition and appreciation.
When there are a lot of people going to the Christmas Party, it is impossible for everyone to buy a gift for everyone else, so a Yankee Swap exchange solves this problem by having everyone buy only one present and take only one back home. Yanklee Swap is fun, can get very lively and funny as players compete and engage in rivalries to get sought after presents. It's a great way to celebrate the end of year's hard work or reconnect with distant friends and relaative as well as close family. It's also a great activity to add to the chrismas dinner.
Simple Yankee Swap Rules
In order to organize a great Yankee Swap party, you will need to keep following rules in mind and share them with your group of guests:
Rule #1. Set The Date
Set the date for your party and make sure everyone knows about it. More people at your event means more gifts and more fun. Christmas is the time of year when everyone gets together for some festive games, food and you want to make sure your party is big and lively.
When announcing your Yankee Swap rules and the date of the exchange, it might be a good idea to make sure everyone will be on board with the chosen date. For this puprose it might be a good idea to ask questions and determine when it would be best to schedule it all.
Rule #2. Set Prices For Gifts
Each guest will be tasked to buy and bring a gift to the party, but not everyone may know what gift to get and how much to spend for this occasion. It is the party organizers responsibility to set the rule for maximum amount of money that can be spent on a Yankee Swap gift. If there is no organizer and a group of family or friends are running the party, then it can just be mutually agreed to spend a set amount. Most common amount suggested for a yankee Swap is around 25 dollars.
Rule #3. Wrapping Gifts
It's important for the guests to not be able to tell what's inside the boxes or the wrapping paper. You should not be able to guess what's in the box. For this purpose, make sure that eveyone wraps their gift really well.
Want to make everyone laugh at your Yankee Swap? Wrap your gift in a way that deceives the person opening it. Shape the paper in a different way that suggest what a gift is, but is really not. Have fun with this process, as yankee Swap rules encourage stealing or "yanking", swapping and deception.
Rule #4. Determine Playing Order
In order to play Yankee Swap you need to assign all the players a number. That number is their turn for opening and yanking gifts. How do you determine the order? have each player draw a random number from a box full of numbered pieces of paper. Once everyone has a number it's easy to get started. The person with number one gets to go first.
Rule #5. Open And Swap Gift In Order
In the order drawn in previous step, have each player either open a gift that is yet to be opened or have them yank from a player that is holding an opened gift. If someone gets stolen from, they have the turn to open or yank a gift and so on until all the gifts have been opened.
Rule #6. No Yankbacks!
If someone yanks a gift from you, it's your turn to open a new one or yank from someone else's gift, but you can not yankback the very gift that was just taken from you. this is an important rule to remember, becase without it what would stop several player just yanking back and forth?
Rule #7. End The Game
When all the gifts are opened, the game ends. There are many other ways to end the game, including giving the first player an opportunity to yank a gift for the last time, or to spend some amount of time quickly yanking gifts back and forth, but as a general rule the main ending point for the yankee Swap rules is opening all of the presents.
Apart from the main yankee Swap rules, there are a number of options that may be incorporated into your game to either make it more fun, random and exciting or help manage how long it takes to play whether increasing the game play timeing or making it shorter for large groups.
Yank Down rule extends the game play beyong the point where all the presetns have been opened. In this version a timer is set to count down to and during this time all the players are yanking gifts from eachother. The same rules apply as before when it comes to turns however. One person yanks a gift from another, then thap person gets to yank from someone else and so on until time is up.
With triple yank rule, if a gift gets yanked away three times, that gifts stays for the last person that yanked it. Thus that last person and the gift they yanked are out of the game pool.
Three Times Yanked
Three times yanked is very similar to triple yank, but instead of counting the number of times a gift gets yanked, you count a person being yanked from. So if someone gets a gift yanked away from them more than twice, then the third time it happens they get to yank or open for the last time and they are out.
For some this rule may be great, because that means you can yank any gift you want and it stays with youif it's the third time!
It is not uncommon for the rules to include a certain gift themes. Themes make it easy for people to buy a gift because they know what to get. It can be a bit boring though, because everyone kind of knows what to expect. using a GAG or funny theme though can be a lot of fun, and this is what people usually do by default.
First And Final Yank
In this rule, if you are the very first yanker, once all the gift have been opened you will get the last change to do the final yank and take the gift of your choice. This one is quite funny, because people will avoid yanking the best gift in fear to have it yanked away from a first yanker, only to discover that that's not what first yanker wanted all along.
Followed Story Or Rhyme
Intead of numbered draw and opening sequence, some follow a Yankee Swap story or a rhyme that directs a player to yank from the person on the left, right or across from the player who's turn it is. This one can be fun too, becaues usually the rhyme or story has funny lyrics or story to follow.
Example of A Game
In the most simplest form, here's how a game of Yankee Swap would take place:
A group agrees to have a party on a certain day, sets maximum spending limit of $20 and sets the theme to be funny gifts. Everyone buys a single funny gift and wraps it well. Some wrap thirs too much to make opening hard, others shape their gifts as something that they are not in order to trick someone. On the day of the exchange all the gifts are placed in the center of the table. Numbers are written on sticky notes, folded and dropped in a box. Everyone picks out a number. After the draw everyone gathers around the table full of gifts. first person opens a gift, followed by second, then third and so on to the end. At any point, when it's your turn you can either open of yank a gift from someone. If you yank it, the turn does not go to the next person, but rather to the pesron you yanked a gift from. Once all the gifts are opened, the game ends and eveyone gets a gift that they have at that point. The end.
It's as simple as that, however you can make it more uniqe and as intricate as you like with optional rules and fun modifications.
How To Plan The Yankee Swap Party
Good advice for a great yankee Swap exchange is to hold it on a day where more people will be able to attend. Make rules clear to everyone from the get-go to avoid confusion and remind everyone about the party date and that they have to bring a gift few days prior to the event.
In addition to above, it's a good idea to have generous variety of festive food and tasty treat planned for the party as well as sparkly, yummy drinks, including cocktails and other party beverages. It's great to have people involved in this process and have them contribute to the festive table by making and bringing some of their most delicious foods. In our office everyone is known for some dish they are really good at making, so we all know what to ask from them!
If you have any specicif Yankee Swap rules that you love to use, do share them with us!