Hosting a White Elephant Gift Party + Gift Ideas!

how to host a white elephant gift party plus over 20 gift ideas

What is a white elephant gift exchange?

According to Wikipedia, “The term “white elephant” refers to an extravagant but burdensome gift that cannot be easily disposed of, based on the legend of the King of Siam gifting rare albino elephants to courtiers who had displeased him, that they might be ruined by the animals’ upkeep costs.” You are welcome. Haven’t you always wondered why the heck they call it a white elephant gift exchange? I have.  A few years ago I was in the Boston are for an event with CVS and I learned that on the east coast this is called a Yankee swap. So whatever you call it white elephant, secret santa, yankee swap, yankee doodle it is sure to be a good time full of laughter and smiles.

Christmas is pretty much my favorite time of year because everyone is just in jolly spirits. I love the idea of making others smile with simple gestures like a baked good or a gift. That’s why I love white elephant gift exchange parties so much! Not only do you get to be with family and friends, but you get to celebrate the holiday season with a bunch of laughter.  The white elephant gift exchange is so much fun and it’s the perfect time for all those silly gag gifts you see all the time! Even better, the white elephant gift exchange is a great way to celebrate gift giving with large families without breaking the bank! See below to learn more about a white elephant gift exchange and some of our favorite white elephant gifts!

How to host a white elephant gift exchange!

There are so many different ways to host a white elephant gift exchange! I will share the basic rules of the gift exchange but know there are so many variations to the game and you can do it anyway you want!

First, get your guest list ready! While you are doing this, it’s a good idea to set the price range then too. I have usually seen $10-$15 for the price limit, but again, you can do as you like here! Traditionally the gifts are funny gag gifts but you can do whatever you’d like for the gifts!

It’s party time! Once your guests arrive, it’s best to have the gifts sitting where everyone can see them. Typically the guests sit in a circle around the gifts but a line would also work.

You can have all of the guests draw from a hat to see what order they will go in. To make things quicker, start with the oldest/youngest and just move down the line or around the circle from there.

over 20 white elephant gift ideas

Time for the fun! The first guest gets to select a gift from the gift pool. They must open it so that everyone can see what it is. Now the next player in line can either steal the person’s gift or choose to unwrap one. If they chose to steal the gift, the first guest gets to unwrap another gift from the gift pool. You move your way through the line just like this. A gift can only be stolen once per turn though.

Fun right? How does it end though? Another part of the game that can be done in a million different ways. Usually it ends with the first person getting to swap one last time, their chance to steal a gift. If they decide to steal a gift, the person they stole from can also steal from someone else. When someone does not want to steal a gift, the game is complete.

Want to know more about hosting a white elephant party? There’s a great e-book on hosting a white elephant party!

A few fun variations of the white elephant gift exchange:

  • Have a theme: ugly Christmas sweaters, gag gifts, actual household items like toothpaste, green and red items only, etc.
  • Limit the swapping! Three swaps and the gift can no longer be swapped!
  • The ultimate re-gift party version! Bring the items you have been gifted but don’t want from home!

White elephant gift ideas!

Here are some of the funniest and our favorite white elephant gift ideas!

Leg Lamp night light

A Christmas Story Nightlight Leg Lamp

Why we love it:

  • The leg lamp is the ultimate Christmas gift, right? Such a fun idea and it’s a real working nightlight! Plus it isn’t going to break the bank.

bacon toothpaste gag gigft

Mr. Bacon’s 2.5 Oz Bacon Flavored Toothpaste

Why we love it:

  • One word: BACON!

bigmouth coffee mug

BigMouth Inc Toilet Mug

Why we love it:

  • This is a funny multipurpose mug! Use it for drinks, storage, or even plants!

duck money soap

Duck Money Soap: Each Bar Contains a Real US Bill – Up to $50

Why we love it:

  • Contains real money! I am sure this one would be swapped a lot!

unicorn meat gag gift

Canned Unicorn Meat

Why we love it:

  • Probably one of the most popular gag gifts on Amazon and for good reason! Who doesn’t want unicorn meat?

funny cat silicone mold

Kitten Shape 10-Ice Cube Tray Mold

Why we love it:

  • You can use it for candy making and more!

poo-pourri before you go toilet spray

Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray 2-Ounce Bottle, Original

Why we love it:

  • This spray has over 6,000 reviews on Amazon! Do you remember the You-Tube ad? FUNNY!

be a unicorn funny mug

Always Be Yourself Unless You Can Be A Unicorn Ceramic Coffee Mug

Why we love it:

  • This is a funny mug that will probably be stolen a few times!

voice changer gag gift

Multi Voice Changer

Why we love it:

  • I have actually seen this one at a white elephant gift exchange! So much fun listening to the voices!

morning mug

Morning Mug

Why we love it:

  • This mug changes from asleep to awake with a hot beverage!

macaroni and chesse bandages

Mac ‘N Cheese Bandages

Why we love it:

  • Another fun one! Includes a free prize! 😉

yodelling pickle

Yodelling Pickle

Why we love it:

  • Who doesn’t want a yodelling pickle??

horse head mask

Horse Head Mask

Why we love it:

  • This is such a popular gift idea! Don’t ask me why everyone loves the horse head mask, but they do! Have you seen the website where people share their horse head pictures?

toilet golf gag gift

Potty Putter Toilet Time Golf Game

Why we love it:

  • Every golfer in the house will be looking to get this one! I need to show this to Cathy so she can get one for her husband.

curbside pencil holder

Mini Curbside Trash and Recycle Can

Why we love it:

  • Tiny curbside bins are just cute!

handerpants underwear gloves

Handerpants Underwear Gloves

Why we love it:

  • These are just hilarious. I’d probably go home with these ones, or try to!

mustache bag clips

Mustache Bag Clips, Set of 3

Why we love it:

  • No gag gift list would be complete without a mustache item, right?

booger bin

Booger Bin

Why we love it:

  • This one might be gross, but it’s still funny!

pet rock

The Pet Rock

Why we love it:

  • The original gag gift!

the claw back scratcher

Bear Claw Telescopic Back Scratcher

Why we love it:

  • This one would be used for sure!

gund grumpy cat

Gund Grumpy Cat Plush

Why we love it:

  • It’s Grumpy Cat!

squawkin chicken gag gift

Squawkin’ Chicken

Why we love it:

  • This one is pretty funny but keep it from the kids!


See more great funny gag gift ideas!

how to host a white elephant gift exchange plus over 20 gift ideas

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