White Elephant Gift Exchange

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If you’re not familiar with this hilarious experience, a white elephant gift exchange (aka a Yankee Swap) or if you’re really backwards, a Chinese Christmas Auction is a Christmas party game that everyone should play at least once! A white elephant party is sometimes called a dirty santa party because you don’t usually get to keep the gift you picked first.
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How to Host a White Elephant Game Party

For maximum game play you’ll want a minimum of 6 players. Each participant in the swap brings an anonymously wrapped inexpensive gift that is placed in a central location position, such as on a table in the center of the room.

Numbers are put into a bucket or Christmas stocking (1 number per participant) and each party goer selects a number so they know when it’s their turn.

Once everyone has their number, they sit in a circle, with the presents in the middle, so they can have a clear view of each party-goer and each present!

The person with number 1, selects a gift of their choice from all the gifts on the table. They open it and their turn is over. The next person in line gets the option of stealing the gift from the previous person (or any other player if multiple gifts have been open) or opening a new gift. If a person’s gift is “stolen” from them, they can open a new gift. Last round circles back to player number 1 who ultimately can choose to swap gifts with whomever they want.

It is generally recommended that each gift may only be stolen up to 3x’s, this is particularly important if playing with more than 12 people. Once the gift has been stolen the 3rd and final time, it is FROZEN to the person and cannot be stolen again. Also, a person cannot steal back a gift that was stolen from them. Once it leaves your hands, it’s gone.

Variations:

Leaving all of the gifts wrapped until they’ve been swapped/stolen/exchanged and opening them all at the same time. Generally speaking, most white elephant gift exchanges have a maximum spend limit of $20.

Gift Themes

Often the host of the party will choose a “Theme” and each gift must meet that particular theme. One year our office chose ornaments, another year, handmade crafts, last year it was a Potty theme.

Here are a few fun White Elephant Gift Ideas


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Tipsy Tubes 8 Oz. Hidden Alcohol Flask 3-pack. Unique Secret Flasks that look like sunscreen bottles to hide liquor!

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BigMouth Inc Ultimate Wine Bottle Glass

  • Holds a 750ml full bottle of wine
  • Takes standard cork or decorative bottle stopper
  • Stands approximately 11.5 inches tall
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Shittens Disposable Mitten-shaped Moist Wipes, 20 Count
Shittens are disposable, mitten-shaped moist wipes. While old fashioned, square wet wipes put your hands at risk for all kinds of accidental fecal contamination, the genius mitten shape of a Shitten provides not only safety from poop, but on a larger scale, emotional peace of mind.

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Think Geek Canned Unicorn Meat Under $15

  • Okay, for real: you can’t eat this. It’s a dismembered stuffed unicorn in a can.
  • The bottom of the tin is easily removable to gain access to the mini dead unicorn inside. No can opener needed!
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white-elephant-gift-exchangeBeer Hip Holster Single Bottle or Can Soda Beverage Holder

  • Holds a single bottle or can of you favorite beverage!
  • Simple clip design means it works with virtually any style pants and doesn’t require a belt!
  • Leg side pocket that will fit cash, cards and ID’s!
  • Made from durable nylon!
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white-elephant-gift-exchangeGoPong Hidden Lotion Flask, Sneak Alcohol Anywhere, 3-Pack

  • Each Flask holds 4oz
  • Includes 2 Funnels for Easy Filling
  • Looks Like Real Lotion Bottles – Take Them Anywhere!
  • Includes 3 Unique Designs
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Muffin Top Baking Cups– Yup, it’s that time of year, ready to indulge?
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Got a Co-worker or Family member that spends all of his/her time on Facebook?
white-elephant-gift-exchangeYou’ll love this Social Shower curtain

  • Bring your profile to life in the bathroom
  • Transparent section so you can create a profile
  • Perfect for the social networker in your life
  • Water-resistant
  • Measures 70 by 70-inch
See on Amazon

You can also create fantastic Homemade Gag Gifts as Well. Check out some inexpensive ideas here

See More Creative White elephant gifts you can actually use

About Liss 4017 Articles
Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money.

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