xml:space="preserve">
Do a group survey and find out if anyone has any food or contact allergies. It's a safe and quick way to avoid a reaction at the party and to make sure all recipients are able to keep their gifts.
Do a group survey and find out if anyone has any food or contact allergies. It's a safe and quick way to avoid a reaction at the party and to make sure all recipients are able to keep their gifts.

The gift-giving season is a fun one, especially when it comes to holiday parties. In lieu of traditional gift-giving to each person in an office or group, White Elephant gift parties are cost-effective, fun alternatives.

Once a price point is decided on by the group, participants purchase a gift to bring to the party. Since you don't know who will end up with it, part of the fun is coming up with something funny, practical, or shocking. You can play it safe with a tame gift that has universal appeal or go for shock value with a gag gift.

To help you choose the perfect White Elephant gift, read our buying guide. We're including our favorite gift idea, Buzzfeed's Social Sabotage, which is sure to inspire laughs, or at the very least, interesting conversations.

Considerations when choosing White Elephant gifts

How the game works

To organize the White Elephant gift game, first determine how many guests are involved in the exchange. Next, decide on a price point for gifts, keeping it affordable for everyone. After that, set the ground rules: if you don't want mature-themed gifts or prefer nonfood items, let people know before they begin shopping.

At the time of the party, guests arrive with their wrapped White Elephant gifts. Numbers are pulled to see who gets first pick at the gifts — or can steal someone else's. If you're truly following the rules, guests are only able to steal two gifts. Lastly, everyone opens their gift to see their surprise.

Choose gifts based on the type of group

White Elephant gifting can push the limits with funny gifts among friends and relatives, but they might not be appropriate for office or team parties. Not everyone has the same sense of humor, so a good rule is to purchase a gift that won't cause someone to look at you differently after opening it. On the other hand, if you're with friends and try to outdo one another, the sky's the limit.

Popular gifting ideas

Something that involves others: White Elephant gifts that involve others include board games, food baskets, or even popular DVDs. These make great family-friendly gifts and boost the chances that your gift will be used and enjoyed by as many people as possible. Food baskets can also take the shape of giant popcorn tins, cookie trays, or speciality baking projects.

Something that solves a problem: Practical gifts might seem boring, but consider a common problem among the group to which everyone can relate. Power banks are great for charging devices on the go, and car de-icer kits help someone clean off their car for a safe ride home in snowy conditions. Leather shoe care kits are also popular, as they include products than can be used on other leather items.

Something for self-care: Self-care White Elephant gifts are thoughtful and safe options. They're items that the recipient will enjoy but would not necessarily purchase for themselves. These can be bath and spa sets or small aromatherapy kits. Gift cards also fall into this category, especially for popular local restaurants or coffee shops.

Price

White Elephant gifts usually have $10 to $25 limits among friends and coworkers. Some families opt to spend a little bit more and may push it to as much as $50.

FAQ

Q. I'm concerned the recipient won't like or can't use their White Elephant gift. What should I do?

A. Since you don't know who'll end up with the gift, consider including the gift receipt. That way, if the gift isn't to their liking, they can discreetly return it for something they'll truly enjoy.

Q. Should we include children in the White Elephant gift exchange?

A. It can get expensive if you start to include children, as parents end up footing the bill for an extra gift. You can do a modified exchange for children and limit it to less than $5 per child, if it's affordable and amenable to the whole family.

White Elephant gifts we recommend

Best of the best: Buzzfeed's Social Sabotage

Our take: Get the whole party involved with an activity that garners belly laughs galore.

What we like: See which of your friends has the guts to send or post embarrassing stories on their social media channels.

What we dislike: Can have personal and professional repercussions, so choose your company wisely with this one.

Best bang for your buck: Fruit of the Loom's Men's Christmas Union Suit

Our take: A budget-conscious White Elephant gift. Will become a seasonal favorite for recipient.

What we like: Cute design and cozy fit. Great gift for the person who is truly a homebody in the colder months.

What we dislike: Only available in men's sizing, so you'll need to figure out a compatible size if gifting to a woman.

Choice 3: The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Our take: Genuinely thoughtful gift. Light reading offering useful life hacks from the Danish way to live well.

What we like: All-encompassing subject material including fitness, fashion, décor, and even recipes.

What we dislike: Pretty inexpensive. You may need to pair it with something else to meet your White Elephant price limit.

Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement