‘Yankee Swap’ can be a fun holiday tradition

By Andrew J. Concatelli - ReminderNews Assistant Editor
Statewide - posted Thu., Dec. 8, 2011
- Contributed Photo

Christmas with my wife’s family means a “Yankee Swap” gift exchange. Every person brings a wrapped present to put in the center of the room. We each draw a number from a hat. The person with number 1 selects a gift and opens it. Number 2 selects a gift, opens it, and may elect to keep it, or trade with the first person. Number 3 opens a gift, and may keep it or trade with either of the first two people. This continues (sometimes with 20 people or more), with the most sought-after gift being torn from somebody’s hands practically every round. Gift cards and DVDs are especially popular: books, not so much. When every gift is opened and every person has a present, the game is over. Post-swap trading (or sulking) usually ensues.

There is always one person who brings a gag gift, or a package meant to disguise its actual contents. One year, my brother-in-law brought a large, heavy, gift-wrapped box. I took the bait – it was full of bricks.

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