White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules and Gift Ideas

The holidays are here and let’s be honest, giving a gift is more fun than receiving one. The look of surprise or the smile that appears on the recipient’s face is enough to make anyone’s day. Taking gift giving to a new level, many workplaces and circles of friends take part in a lively gift-giving game called a White Elephant Gift Exchange. Not sure what it is or how it works? Here’s some information about the exchange and gift ideas for it.

What is a white elephant gift exchange?

A white elephant gift exchange is a fun, unique way to exchange gifts with coworkers, friends, or family members. It’s also known as Yankee Swap and Dirty Santa.

How does a white elephant gift exchange work?

Each player puts their gift into a primary location whether under a Christmas tree or on a table. The first player chooses a gift and then, it’s on to the next player. From here on, players can decide if they want to choose a new gift or steal a gift from another person. However, each gift can only be stolen once per turn. The game ends once everyone receives a gift.

What types of gifts do you buy for a white elephant exchange?

Typically, gag gifts are involved in a white elephant exchange. But you and the people participating in the exchange can decide on what to give. You can set a certain dollar amount to be spent on the gift or make a theme for the exchange.

What are some good gift ideas for a while elephant gift exchange?

You’ve come to the right place. Since white elephant gift exchanges are popular around the holidays, we found 7 gift ideas you can use for this popular gift exchange. The best part, the gift listed below are all under $25.

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Types of Gifts for a White Elephant Exchange

Gag Gifts

  • This silly Anti-Stress Egg-Laying Chicken Keychain from Apollo Box is a great gift to include in a gift exchange. Perfect for those stuck in traffic days or when you’re having a rough day at the office, the recipient can squeeze this chicken to their heart’s content to blow off steam.
  • Grab a couple of patches and pins from Hot Topic. Who wouldn’t benefit from a Golden Girls character pin or “I almost went to the Gym today” patch. These simple accessories can be added to any bag or jacket and provide the recipient a happy memory of the exchange.

Useful Gifts

  • Give someone a tasty start to their morning with some Peppermint Mocha Coffee. Sold at Walmart, you can grab a bag of coffee for the same amount of money they will pay for a drink at the coffee shop.
  • At Walmart, you can pick up a variety of calendars ranging from humorous to inspirational, to sweet. This Baby Animals Wall Calendar will not only help to keep track of days and appointments but also gives the recipient something comforting to look at during a long day.

Holiday Specific Gifts

  • With a Merry Christmas Face mask from Walmart, the recipient can spread holiday cheer and stay healthy at the same time.
  • Whether they’re roasting a turkey or baking some homemade cookies, this Snowmen Kitchen Towel Set at Kohl’s is a great gift to throw into the mix during a white elephant exchange.

Granny Tip: Visit popular retailer’s websites and search for Gifts under $25 or Stocking Stuffers. It’s a common category for the holidays and can help you narrow down your search when looking for a white elephant gift.

Recycled Gifts

Lastly, instead of buying a gift for your white elephant exchange, you can also go green and encourage participants to recycle a gift they received that they never used. We have all received a gift or two that we appreciated but wasn’t our style or one we could use. Look in closets, drawers, and cupboards for that sweater still the box, that cookbook you don’t have an interest in or that kitchen utensil you never opened. Wrap up an item and reuse it for the gift exchange. It’s a great way to cut down on unnecessary clutter and who knows, maybe someone else would like it.

Have you participated in a white elephant exchange? What was the gift you received? Let us know in the comments below.