This post was originally published on December 15, 2016
The latest update to this post was made 5 years ago.
White Elephant Gift Exchange
Christmas gift exchanges can be costly. Many families and friends have traditions of exchanging gifts. Price limit on gifts, only buying for children of the family or having a white elephant exchange are some ways family and friends exchange gifts. Never heard of a white elephant gift exchange? You are in for a treat!
What Is It? A white elephant exchange involves gifts that are somewhat unisex or unique. Sometimes there is a price limit set. Nobody puts their name on a gift so you have no idea who it is from. The idea of the exchange is a fun competition to see who ends up with the best gift.
How To Play… One person starts by picking a gift to open. The second person opens a gift and can keep it or exchange for the gift that was opened first. If they take a gift that has already been opened, then whoever they take the gift from gets to open another gift. The third person opens a gift or takes a gift that has already been opened. Confused yet? Each gift can typically be exchanged twice before it is declared dead or not in play anymore.
Video : White Elephant Gift Exchange Sample
The Gifts. I have been to white elephant exchanges where they changed it to where a gift can be exchanged three times before it is dead. The host/hostess can change the rules if they want to. All of it works in a white elephant exchange as fun is the key! Watching others “fight” over gifts is hilarious and an unforgettable experience.
Having unique gifts are a plus! We have white elephant exchanges for work every year at someone’s house. Everyone brings a dish to share and then we exchange gifts. The price limit is always twenty dollars. My gift was the high prize one year. It was a basket with two glasses and a bottle of wine. I spent fifteen dollars for it all…
Video : White Elephant Gift Ideas
Be Creative! Be creative with your gifts. One year I gave a great photo frame with our boss in an ugly Christmas sweater in it as my gift. It was humorous and produced several smiling faces. Gift baskets with themes are easy to make such as movie night, pampered night, date night, wine and cheese, dinner for two or take a break.
- Movie night basket use an instant popcorn bucket and put some candy inside. Maybe some Redbox coupons?
- Pampered night is a bit more tricky. Use a basket and line it with a hand towel and place vanilla or lavender soap, lotion and a scented candle.
- Date night can be silly or naughty, depends on your crowd! In a basket/box have gift cards for movie and dinner. The naughty date night will have a bottle of cheap wine and condoms. Wine and cheese in a basket/box are always fun.
- Dinner for two is as easy as a gift certificate to any restaurant.
- Take a break can be a scented candle, face mask, bottle of wine and bubble bath. Take a break box/basket can also be a gift card for a movie rental and bag of popcorn.
Make the gift baskets creative. People appreciate the thought and funny gifts as well as the serious practical gifts. Make sure you know the rules of gift purchase before you buy or put together your gift. If children will be present it is in poor judgment to have a nasty or raunchy gift in play.
Here are some great places to look for unique gifts for your exchange: Target, Walmart, Dollar Tree, Think Geek, Amazon, Steve Spangler, World Market, any high end grocery stores, local museums, local zoos, Uncommon Goods, cooking stores, World Spice and any craft shows.
Have fun with your white elephant exchange! Remember it is OK to change the rules and make it tailored for your group. Do you have your own variant of White Elephant? Have great memories of one? Please share in the comments area below!