It's that Most Wonderful Time of the Year when you find yourself being asked to "bring a new wrapped gift costing X number of dollars for our gift exchange" for all sorts of groups you're involved with. And with so many of us trying desperately to reduce our holiday spending, let us now exchange ideas on how to make this sort of obligation more bearable. With some groups you can just opt out, say "no thank you" and be done. But there may be others where you MUST participate, or it's just more trouble than it's worth to try & opt out. How do you best manage? Do you find that you can get away with giving something homemade that is worth the dollar amount you must have spent? And what do you think about those "Yankee Swaps" or whatever they're called. When in addition to selecting a gift you can then choose to keep it or "steal" someone else's gift. I know they're supposed to add to the fun, but personally I find them really irritating & can lead to hurt feelings & offenses. The gift exchange I enjoyed the most was with a mom's group in my neighborhood. We just wanted to hang out together in our PJs and share some homemade goodies at some point in the holiday. And our gift exchange was limited to FreeCycle types of items, things a person already had but no longer needed/wanted/used. Some of them were genuinely nice, though not brand-new, things like books, small appliances, home decor, clothing or accessories. Some were funny like a set of awful decorated plates someone's MIL gave her and these kept reappearing year after year. Although we did do the swap, we did it before the gifts were unwrapped, so you might not really be trading up after all. I thought it was always fun and a sensible way to celebrate. What do YOU do that works well?