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A Yankee swap gift exchange is a fun, creative way to enjoy the season of giving without having to shell out a ton of cash for your entire friend group or every member of your family. Never heard of it? Here’s how it works: each person contributes one wrapped (and ideally unlabeled) gift to the swap, that way other participants are unaware of who exactly provided the gift and what the item could be. Participants then go one by one in picking to either unwrap a gift of their choosing, or to steal an already-opened gift from someone else (depending on how your family or colleagues prefer to set up their Yankee swap!). Speaking from personal experience, things can get cutthroat, y’all!
Often, Yankee swaps impose a budget, which means a little ingenuity (and some expert deal-hunting) is required to find a gift that your friends or coworkers will actually want. Or, you could just pick something from our editor-curated list below. We’ve rounded up the best Yankee swap gift ideas for techies, beauty mavens, home cooks, fashionistas, and more — and everything is under $35.
— Additional reporting by Abbey Stone