15 Yankee Swap Gift Ideas That Your Friends and Fam Will Actually Want
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
For the Beautytok Follower
Peter Thomas Roth went viral on TikTok for making under-eye bags disappear in seconds. This colorful kit of eye patches from the brand helps to depuff, firm, and hydrate the delicate skin beneath your eyes in under 10 minutes.
For the Friend Who Always Needs to Borrow a Scrunchie
Hair ties are like socks and bobby pins: constantly disappearing. Your Yankee Swap participants will clamber to refill their supply with these beauty-editor fave silk skinny scrunchies from Slip.
Best Gift For Travelers
Frequent fliers will love this handy doodad, which allows you to connect your wireless earbuds to your plane's in-flight entertainment system. This means, no more struggling with tangles of wires every time the person in the window seat needs to use the bathroom.
For the On-Trend Friend
There's no easier way to get that snowboard-girlie aesthetic than popping on a Carhartt beanie. While the brand has become synonymous with hipsters in recent years, it's made heavy-duty workwear (jackets, coveralls, and hats) since the 19th century. This means, this rib-knit toque will be more than just a fashion statement.
For Holding All the Goods
Quince is known for creating high-quality products that cost significantly less than their counterparts at bigger-name brands. This toiletry bag resembles a certain neoprene IG-fave brand, but will only put you back $35. Multiple interior compartments keep your cosmetics organized, and you can feel good about the fact that its water-resistant fabric is made from recycled water bottles.
For the Hostess With the Mostess
Tinned fish is having a moment (really!). Add a savory snack to your appetizer menu and instantly feel transported to the Iberian Peninsula. Bonus: Dietitians love tinned fish because it backs a punch of healthy protein and omega-3s. (One editor says that a can of herring from Patagonia Provisions was the most-stolen gift at the Yankee Swap she attended last year.)
For the Flavor Fiend
Every sauce from this female-founded brand packs a punch of flavor. Whether you're craving noodles from your grandma's house or favorite Korean restaurant, this sampler pack — which includes a yuzu miso glaze, spicy bulgogi sauce, and spicy masala sauce — takes the guesswork out of re-creating East Asian flavors at home.
Best For the Indoor Cat
You know you've reached adulthood when you love getting socks as gifts. This plush pair from Nordstrom is equally perfect for wearing to curl up for a Netflix marathon as for letting peek out from above your boots, should you venture outside.
For Hydration on the Go
This 18-oz water bottle easily collapses so that it takes up less space in your bag when it's empty. This comes in handy when you're trying to convince TSA your (bursting) carryon is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you.
For the Homebody
Homesick is known for its super-niche, ultra-nostalgic candle scents, like "Fall Hearth," "New Home," and "Ice Cream Parlor." The Brunch Club scent, now on sale on Amazon, has sweet notes of citrus and berries mixed with delicious Prosecco and tonka bean. We can just see the overflowing mimosas now . . .