What is A White Elephant Gift?

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, a white elephant is

“an object no longer of value to its owner but of ‘value ‘to others

And the word ‘value’ is subjective.

To me, the value of the white elephant gift is the joy of giving something that creates sheer horror to the recipient, or the cheek to cheek grin they can’t wipe from their face out of embarrassment or the lack of words they have for what they have just so nervously unwrapped!

If you are throwing this type of party,  I recommend including both the rules and gift budget in your invitations to eliminate any confusion or crazy fighting happening at your holiday party.

When attending a party of this nature, here are the basic rules for a legit and enjoyable  “White Elephant” gift exchange:

1. Each party guest brings an un-labeled, wrapped gift of the same monetary value.

2. Everyone draws one slip of paper from a hat (slips of paper are numbered to match guest count).

3. The person who draws #1 is the first to select a gift from the pile.

4. Once the first gift is opened, the person who draws #2 gets the choice of either “stealing” person #1’s gift or choosing their own wrapped present from the pile to open.

5. Next, person #3 gets the choice of “stealing” ANY unwrapped gift or choosing a new wrapped one to open.

6. Turns proceed until everyone has a gift. A turn is ended when a gift is opened.

Additional rules:
* If a gift is stolen from you, you can steal a gift from someone else, or open a new one!
* A gift cannot be stolen more than once in a turn.
* The third owner of a gift gets to keep it and it cannot be stolen again.
* At the end of the last turn, the first person (who had no choice at the beginning) can choose to put back his or her gift and steal ANY gift that is still available.
* Then the gift “exchange” is started again (see #3 and #4 above) and ended when someone either chooses or is forced to take the gift given up by person #1.

Bonus Tip: Encourage your guests to purchase really kooky and unique gifts. This makes the exchange a lot more fun!

Still need a WHITE ELEPHANT gift?

All of our Stuff Etc locations have you covered!  Stop by Iowa City, Coralville, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, or Davenport to get the special something everyone will WISH it were theirs.

We are open on Christmas Eve until 2pm – be sure to let us know if we can help!

AND we’d LOVE to hear some of your “White Elephant” stories!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us at Stuff Etc!


One response to “What is A White Elephant Gift?

  1. I have been to a few white elephant parties and most of the time the gifts that were being stolen the most were anything out of the ordinary. Usually something you don’t see every day that is still somewhat useful. With a gift limit of only $10, I was amaze at all the weird and wacky things I could get while keeping my bank account happy. I found this online store while doing a Google search containing many things that are just perfect for a white elephant party. The link is below and hopefully this helps with your future white elephant gift parties!

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