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Do you ever play White Elephant?
I’ve also heard it referred to as Dirty Santa or Yankee Swap (although, I like White Elephant a lot better!), but whatever you call it, it’s a hilarious and never full game to play at Christmas parties, and we usually find ourselves attending at least one or two events where it’s played!
This year things are, ahem, a little different, and there’s no telling what kind of gatherings you might have happening – if any!
But, whether you’ll be playing White Elephant this year or not, I think we could always all use a good, solid list of little (sometimes silly) gift ideas, right?
Honestly, I think the most fun part of playing White Elephant is coming up with a witty and unique gift to bring. There’s nothing more satisfying than bringing the gift that makes the whole room explode with laughter and gets traded around all night long. But, it can be tough to find good gifts within the price limit (ours is usually $20-$25), so I wanted to share a monster list of ideas to ensure you can find something that’s perfect for your White Elephant party, your small family gathering, or just a silly gift to ship to a friend!
But first, just in case you do have an opportunity for this fun little Christmas tradition and don’t know how to play White Elephant, here’s a quick rundown of the rules:
White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules
Note: There’s no one way to play White Elephant – most people play with house rules. But, I’ve played with tons of different groups over the years and these rules seem to be the most common.
Place all of the gifts in the center of the room and make small, numbered slips of paper – you’ll need enough for each person playing to have a number.
Put them all in a bowl, and have everyone participating draw a number.
#1 will go first – they go to the center of the room then choose and open any gift they like.
Now it’s #2’s turn. They have a choice – they can either choose a new gift from the pile or steal the gift that #1 opened.
If they open a new gift, it moves on to #3 (who then has the same options); if they steal a gift, then the person they stole from now has the opportunity to choose a new gift.
If your gift is stolen from you, you can either open a new gift from the pile or steal a gift from someone else (you may not steal back what was just stolen!).
Continue until everyone has had a chance to open or steal a gift. Each time someone takes a turn, they can steal any opened gift or open a new gift.
Once a gift has been stolen three times (meaning, once it lands in the hands of the fourth person to have it), it cannot be stolen anymore.
When everyone has had a turn, #1 gets to go again – they have the opportunity to choose any opened gift (unless it’s been “locked” by being stolen 3 times). If #1 decides to keep their gift, the game is over – but if they’d like, they can trade gifts with anyone in the room who has a gift available for stealing.
It’s a really simple game, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to bring lots of laughter. We’ve had gifts that show up year after year at certain parties, we’ve had rivalries that continue throughout the years, and we’ve had some years where we actually get some pretty good gifts!
Are you ready for the ideas? Before we dive in, let me give some context for the uninitiated – generally speaking, White Elephant gifts are gag gifts. Typically at every party you’ll have a handful of actual good gifts (lottery tickets, alcohol, and hot chocolate sets are popular in our groups!), but the majority of the gifts should be funny, silly, or downright weird.
White Elephant Gift Exchange Ideas
Here are more than 50 (UPDATED: There are now 100 gifts ideas!) of our best gift ideas for playing White Elephant. Since most White Elephant gift exchanges have a price limit, everything linked below is $25 or less! I’ve broken the gifts into five categories (books, games, gadgets, random, and Christmas-themed), so just scroll to the category you’re interested in and check the gifts out!
The Best Damn Answers to Life’s Hardest Questions
101 So Bad, They’re Good Dad Jokes
How to Traumatize Your Children
The Totally Awesome Book of Useless Information
Bad Days in History
Does it Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence
The Book of General Ignorance
Celebrity Mugshots Adult Coloring Book
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
Home Sweet Home Adult Mad Libs
All My Friends Are Dead
Damn You, Autocorrect
52 Things to Do While You Poo
#Dadlife: A Manly Adult Coloring Book
#Momlife: A Snarky Adult Coloring Book
Awkward Family Photos
Exceptionally Bad Dad Jokes
Can Holding In A Fart Kill You?
The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook
Microwave S’Mores Maker
Mini Tube Guy
LED Toilet Night Light
Banana Storage Case
Justin Bieber Singing Toothbrush
Personal Fondue Mugs
App Enabled Smart Egg Tray
Dwight Schrute Talking Keychain
Smoko Food Light
World’s Smallest Vacuum
That’s What She Said Button
Multi Voice Changer
Hidden Meowing Cat
Circular Saw Pizza Wheel
Talking Toilet Paper Spindle
Tech Neck Hands-Free Device Collar
iArm Forearm Mount
Watch Ya Mouth Game
Pass the Pigs
Things They Don’t Teach You In School Game
I Should Have Known That!
If You Had To Game
The Office Downsizing Game
World’s Smallest Uno
Taco vs. Burrito
The Upside Down Challenge Game
The Awkward Storyteller
You’ve Just Been Poisoned Mug
Bob Ross Chia Pet
Tiny Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots
I Adulted! Stickers for Grown-Ups
100 Movies Scratch-Off Poster
Self-Watering Dinosaur Planter
100 Things To Do After Quarantine
Work From Home Survival Kit
Build Your Own Robot Kit
Dinosaur Taco Holders
Shrimp Neck Pillow
Shakespearean Insult Bandages
Potty Putter Toilet Golf Game
The Zombie Survival Guide Deck
Passive Aggressive Note Pad
Cat Butt Magnets
Silicone Shower Coffee Holder
Slang Flash Cards
Leg Lamp Nightlight
Ugly Christmas Sweater Adult Coloring Book
Light Up Christmas Bulb Necklace
Christmas Tree Hat
Novelty Christmas Sunglasses
Amazing Growing Christmas Tree
Ugly Holiday Sweater Puzzle
Toilet Paper Christmas Ornament
Christmas Refrigerator Door Handle Covers
Snowman Toilet Seat Cover Set
Pickle Tree Ornament
Novelty Christmas Tree Hat
12-Pack Novelty Christmas Socks
Reindeer Antler Toss Game
Santa Hat Silverware Holders
Christmas Tree Plunger
Snowman Refrigerator Magnets
Christmas Scavenger Hunt Game
BONUS IDEA: Get one of these prank gift boxes and wrap an actual good gift inside!
I’d love to hear what your favorite White Elephant gifts are! One year, Corey had the idea to save all of our used gift cards for the whole year and buy one new one – then, we’d package up a bunch of empty gift cards and hide one real one in there. We both thought it was hilarious but haven’t had the stamina to remember to save the gift cards! Maybe next year…
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