Be a Good Sport When Buying for Yankee Swaps

Just a reminder about Yankee Swaps, Dirty Santas, Chinese Christmases, etc., those gift exchanges where someone opens a present, the next person opens another gift and can trade gifts with the first person, a third contestant opens a gift and can trade with either of the first two players, on and on.

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Many people think these are loads of fun and everyone enjoys them heartily. Obviously, they've never been the one stuck with a used competition Frisbee or a 20-year-old device that helps meat thaw faster. I have, every time, but I've hidden my frustration well - while my gift was one of the hotly traded ones. There's gonna be some clinkers in the exchange, and somebody somewhere's gonna get stuck with the Dollar Tree faux-Nerf football - and it's usually the person who provided that really nice wine glass set. Not much anyone can do about it, but encourage your 'contestants' to give something nice, not something they grabbed out of the cellar on the way to the party.

I am grateful for any gift I'm lucky enough to get, but it's gotten so I cringe whenever I hear the 'lets do the swap thing again this year!" and try to avoid it while enjoying everything else. Dropping stuff off at Goodwill on the way home from the party is kind of a downer.

November 21, 20080 found this helpful

My parents participated in one that one person gave an older car, and another gave an old pair of shoes. Big difference there.

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November 21, 20080 found this helpful

Maybe you should regift your present the next year. Gift exchanges are notorious for getting stuff you don't want or need. Treat yourself to a little something special that you have had your eye on all year. That way, when you end up with something you don't like, you won't care because you already have treated yourself to your real gift.

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November 22, 20080 found this helpful

On a related note, an organization I belong to has a "mystery auction" every year after Christmas as a fundraiser--members bid on beautifully wrapped, donated packages without knowing what they contain. Most people have enough class to donate relatively nice items, but last year one thing I ended up with was a tiny plastic ice cube tray which probably sells for 89 cents.

Unfortunately the "taste and class impaired" folks probably aren't reading this and realizing "that means me," though!

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November 22, 20080 found this helpful

So glad to hear that I'm not the only one who hates the Christmas Swaps!

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November 22, 20080 found this helpful

All of the organizations that I participate in require a dollar amount for the gift that will be exhanged. Example: My Girl Scout Leaders will be holding a gift exchange and we are required to spend between $10 and $20 if we want to participate. It Guarantees that everyone will get something nice.

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November 22, 20080 found this helpful

I think the organizers need to be clear if there is a dollar amount expected or if it is a White Elephant exchange. Both are fun, but not if it isn't clear which kind of gift is expected.

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November 23, 20080 found this helpful

I agree> If you're the one getting the "crappy" gift--regift it every year. Someone is bound to notice and that will get everyone thinking. Especially if they get that gift

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November 24, 20080 found this helpful

This isn't my idea, but a friend of mine's family had a "tackiest gift" exchange. It might not suit everyone...I think all would have to agree...but this was a big family, they were adults and no one really wanted another (fill in the blank). As I remember, the rules were that it had to come from a thrift store or garage sale and cost under $10. I just thought now that you could switch it around and make it (the best buy you could find at a garage sale or flea market for under $10). That would really get the competitive spirit up and I'll bet you wouldn't have a lot of junk because everyone would be trying to outdo the others in what bargains they found.

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