addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwchatcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgoogleimageimagesinstagramlinklocation-pinmagnifying-glassmailminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1outlookpersonplusprice-ribbonImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruseryahoo

The RI Games & Events Group Annual Yankee Swap

  • Dec 18, 2013 · 7:30 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

(also known as an Elephant Exchange)

The basic of this is for each person to pick up a unique and inexpensive gift to be given to an "unknown" recipient.  Try to keep gifts to under $15, and be prepared to receive some very interesting gifts.  Also, if we exceed 12 (RSVP limit set to 24), then please try to bring a chair or 2.  Also, snacks, appetizers, and desserts are more than welcome so we can make it a mini potluck.

 

Description from Wikipedia (for reference, these may not be the specific rules we play by):

Gifts are typically inexpensive, humorous items or used items from home. The term white elephant refers to a gift whose maintenance costs exceed its usefulness. While the first use of this term remains an item of contention among historians,[1] one theory suggests that Ezra Cornell brought the term into the popular lexicon through his numerous and frequent social gatherings that date back to as early as 1828.[2][3]

The most popular version of the White Elephant rules allows any number of participants. However, it is recommended that the number of participants be at least six. Each participant is asked to bring a gift worth no more than a pre-agreed upon amount (sometimes nothing as explained later).

To determine the gift-choice play order, participants may draw numbers from a hat. Starting with one and up to the total number of participants, the players take turn in the corresponding succession.

Once an order has been established, each person takes his or her turn choosing a gift. The first person picks a gift, opens it, and shows it to the rest of the company. Then in turn, the participants choose to either unwrap a new gift or to "steal" a previously unwrapped gift. If a gift is "stolen", the person who had their gift taken from them gets to unwrap any unopened gift; and then, the turn passes. When all the gifts have been opened, the game is over. This variant is usually used for large groups of people (25+).

 

VARIANTS

Since items can be stolen, the item in your possession is not actually yours until the game is over. However, this is often amended with a rule declaring a gift "dead" or "safe" or "frozen" after it has been stolen a certain number of times (usually three). This helps the process go more smoothly and avoids, for example, a scenario of the same gift being stolen by every successive participant, and it limits the disadvantage of being among the first to choose gifts.

A variation of the game that involves more stealing of gifts (and also involves potentially more confusion) goes like this: The first participant unwraps a gift from the pile and then shows it to everyone. The next player can either "steal" an already opened gift or be adventurous and go for a wrapped gift from the pile. If the participant chooses to steal an unwrapped gift, the person whose gift was stolen now repeats their turn and either steals another person's gift (they cannot immediately steal back the gift that was just stolen) or unwraps a new gift. This cycle of stealing can sometimes continue for a long time until a new gift is chosen at which point the turn is passed to the next participant.

Another variation is to leave all the gifts wrapped until the end. Stealing is still allowed (up to a pre-defined number of times) but must be done while the gifts are still wrapped. In this case, there is no stealing after the wrapping comes off.

Variations exist even in the process of choosing the play order. For example instead of numbers from a hat, two decks of cards may be used to determine the picking order. Each deck is shuffled individually, and one of them is dealt to the players. One person flips the top card of the remaining deck, whoever has the first matching card then takes a gift. The cards are flipped again until another match is found, and that person is next to take a gift or takes someone else's unwrapped gift. This continues until everyone has had his or her turn.

Yet another variant extends the game further with a kind of sudden death situation. After the last person's turn, the first person has the option of keeping their current gift in which case the game ends or to swap with anyone else. If they choose to swap, the next person now has the option of either keeping the gift or swapping. Again at this stage, the game ends either when someone keeps a gift or when a gift has exceeded its trading limit.

One variation states that the gifts must not be purchased; but rather, the items must be things found lying around the house or the garage - things that are valuable (not garbage) but for which you have found no use.

Another option is to keep the gifts anonymous. In this case, standard-sized boxes may be used, or gifts may at least be wrapped inside-out (the white portion of wrapping paper showing) in order to help maintain the anonymity.

Using email or other social sites (i.e.: Facebook), this game may even be played online using comment streams, linked images, videos, and banter into a web-based, online party. The online variant may be tied to online gift shopping.

 

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was looking forward to this but I slipped on some ice and i think I should get my ankle checked out. I am looking forward to the post holiday party

    December 18, 2013

    • Robin

      how's the ankle?

      December 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I took my swapping too seriously and I think I bought one of the popular gifts that WASN'T the GO GIRL... But I want to see what the STOP BOY looks like... Perhaps in January.

    December 19, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Oh and by the way... There maybe ANOTHER candy dish showing up in January.

      1 · December 19, 2013

    • Phae

      A nutcracker

      1 · December 19, 2013

  • Raff

    I'm surprised no-one stole my gift.

    December 19, 2013

    • Phae

      I would have stolen it if somebody stole my tickets.

      December 19, 2013

    • Raff

      Oh Phae I knew I could count on you.

      December 19, 2013

  • Andrea

    Hilarious! I still want to know who the culprit is behind the Go Girl!

    1 · December 19, 2013

    • Phae

      The "culprit" FedEx-ed it to Nidals without a card. We may never know the truth.

      December 19, 2013

    • Nidal

      I still have the return address.

      1 · December 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great time and the fun part of a Yankee swap is the mystery of not knowing who gave what it adds to the excitement!

    2 · December 19, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'm so curious to know who gave the Go Girl!

      1 · December 19, 2013

    • Phae

      I don't think we'll ever know for sure; Nidal was just jerking your chain about the big reveal in January...I don't think he knows either. Some things are best left in the realm of the unknown...

      December 19, 2013

  • David

    Sorry for the late dropout. My finger got caught in a ladder and might need stitches.

    December 18, 2013

    • Nidal

      We're totally a non-crude joking group, I'm offended at the implication...

      1 · December 19, 2013

    • Andrea

      Glad to hear it's not serious!

      December 19, 2013

  • Stephanie

    Can't remember the last time I laughed this much! I can hardly wait until the swap in January, though this will be hard to top!!

    2 · December 19, 2013

  • Phae

    This was the best Yankee Swap ever, hands down! Laughs galore!

    1 · December 19, 2013

  • Nidal

    Best Yankee Swap so far. Can the post holiday one top this? We'll soon find out.

    1 · December 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    SooooOOOOooooo much fun!!!!! And why do all you RIers know what a pen box looks like? Do you actually give and receive them as gifts or something?

    1 · December 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Lots of fun! I loved it!

    1 · December 18, 2013

  • Nidal

    Looking like it's going to be a great turn out for this. Just a reminder for those that have a +1 to be sure to each bring a gift or you'll end up with one gift for both of you that you'll have to fight over. Also, there might be one extra gift thrown in the mix just to keep everyone on their toes. Looking forward to seeing everyone for this!

    1 · December 17, 2013

    • Nidal

      It's all decided by the cards.

      1 · December 18, 2013

    • Robin

      I'm running late. 8pm. Sorry.

      December 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Free gifts?!

    November 4, 2013

    • Phae

      Traded gifts

      November 22, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      hurrah for phae!

      1 · December 16, 2013

  • Nidal

    Just a reminder for everyone to not only bring your Yankee Swap gift but also maybe an appetizer or dessert, think finger food type things, nothing too heavy. Also please consider bringing a chair if you can.

    December 9, 2013

    • Robin

      There had better be Sangria or Gamesters will be rioting in Nidal's apartment!

      2 · December 11, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      here here

      1 · December 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm changing my RSVP as I'm going to DDC for the TransSiberianOrchestra event. I might pop in afterwards but I think it might be to late by then

    1 · December 16, 2013

    • Nidal

      Again, you're not on the waiting list and you drop out.

      3 · December 16, 2013

22 went

  • Nidal
    Sarcastic Fun Guy, Organizer,
    Event Host
  • Heather S
    Financially Frugal Fun Gal
  • Robin
    Highly Inappropriate Fun Gal
  • Stephanie
    Vergnügt Fun Gal
  • c
    One Letter Fun Guy
  • Katie
    Kindergarten Cop Fun Gal
  • Andrea
    Neurotic Fun Gal
  • Raff
    Wholly Cannoli Fun Guy
  • Phae
    Phancy Phree Phun Gal
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
    +1 guest
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
    +1 guest

Providence, RI

Founded Apr 16, 2009

This Meetup is community funded

$5.95/year

Member dues are used to:
  • Cover Meetup costs
  • Help compensate organizers
  • Encourage more engaged members
  • Have a reserve fund
  • Provide supplies or equipment
  • Improve Meetups
  • Use of Nidal's house (electricity, heat, etc), Purchasing of new games, snacks, baked goods.

60 day free trial

No credit card required

After the trial you must pay dues to be a member of this Meetup.

Cancel dues at any time.

Dues are billed each year.

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy