Rules for Chinese Gift Exchange

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A "Chinese" gift exchange is also called a "Yankee Swap."

A Chinese gift exchange is a fun, economical and social way to exchange gifts. The tradition is well suited to groups.



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Was your gift a coincidence, or was it meant to be?

The China reference is unclear. One suggestion points to the Chinese concept of destiny. Participants believe their random gift was not random. Alternate names are "Yankee Swap" and "Gift Grab."


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Inexpensive gifts can be meaningful and fun.

Each participant brings one wrapped $5 to $10 gift. Gifts are labeled with numbers.



The first participant draws or calls a gift's number. The second player chooses or may take the gift from the first. This is called stealing. Subsequent players follow. If someone is a victim of a theft, she may steal or select a number.



Variations limit the number of times a gift can be stolen, or the number of times someone can have his gift stolen. The simpler the rules, the easier the game.


The exchange concludes when everyone has a gift. The first player goes last. That player may trade a gift with any guest if she wishes.



A gift exchange is fun and eliminates stress.

A Chinese gift exchange removes the burden and stress of purchasing a gift for everyone. It encourages conversation, humor and memories.