It’s better to give than to receive – sage advice we should all be following, especially during the holiday season. This nugget is doubly important to bear in mind when shopping for your next Yankee Swap soiree.

I know I can’t be the only one who suffers from severe shopping anxiety when it comes to finding the perfect communal gift. Your purchase is bound to change hands multiple times throughout the night, so it needs appeal to everyone.

Whether you’re shopping for family or friends, men or women, or a mixed bag of the aforementioned, show up with any of the following and your gift will be the envy of the evening.

Wine. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to gifting a bottle of vino. Stick to classics like Malbec, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Riesling to accommodate even the most discerning of taste buds. Dress it up by pairing your bottle of choice with a set of new wine glasses or wine charms to adorn the neck. Voilà! Instagift.

Gift cards. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone at a party who won’t appreciate saving a few bucks on their everyday staples. Coffee, music, and book purchases all fall under this umbrella, but feel free to get creative – try filling a decorative coffee mug with eye-catching tissue paper and resting the gift cards on top.

Think cozy. Pair winter-friendly items together to create an irresistibly comfy gift set. A fleece throw and a lightly scented candle will make the weather outside seem not-so-frightful.

Gourmet touches. The holiday shelves are stocked with plenty of tasty, pre-packaged gift packs. From hot cocoa to pastry mixes, there are more than enough appetizing options out there for aspiring chefs (or anyone with a sweet tooth). Find a unique bowl or platter to jazz up your presentation.

By Lauryn Paiva, Staff Writer

What are you bringing to your next Yankee Swap? Share in the comments below or tweet us at @ruelala.

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December 6, 2012