Top 10 White Elephant Gift Exchange Ideas

Posted on December 4, 2011 by Joe Thomas

You can tell the holidays are in full swing… turkey day leftovers are long gone, college football is winding down, and Christmas trees are popping up around the block. Holiday parties are a longtime tradition for many folks, allowing them to reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, holiday parties are a great way to get yourself in the Christmas spirit.

Holiday parties aren’t about the gifts or elegant spreads; they’re about having fun and putting your shopping list on hold for an evening of epic proportions. A white elephant gift exchange is the perfect way to entertain guests, keep expenses modest, and ensure everyone leaves with a fun holiday gift.

White Elephant Gift Exchanges for Dummies

White elephant gift exchanges are meant to entertain, more so than receiving the year’s hottest gift. According to historians, the term “white elephant” was created by Ezra Cornell and dates back to 1828.  A white elephant gift is often one that has little value to the owner, but of value to others. While the rules differ by group, white elephant gifts can often be gag gifts, or gifts they once received, but have little use. In a less traditional sense, usually for office holiday parties, white elephant gifts can also be new items under a certain dollar threshold.

- Guests bring their wrapped, but unnamed gift, to the White Elephant Gift Exchange, and place it on a designated gift table or area. Then, each guest draws a number (based on the number of participants) in a hat.

- Once the white elephant gift exchange begins, the person who drew #1 takes their turn and picks a gift from the area. Then, they open the gift and show the crowd.

- Then, #2 takes their turn, and has the option of “stealing” #1’s gift, or unwrapping a new gift. If they “steal” a gift, that person must pick another wrapped gift.

The process continues until all of the gifts are unwrapped. The rules change by group, but traditionally a gift cannot be stolen more than three times, and the third person to get it is considered the “owner.”

Top 10 White Elephant Gift Ideas

As a gift giver, the goal is to have the gift you give be stolen three times. This means that it was a huge “hit” and everyone wants the item. Luckily, our comparison shopping site has tons of humorous, practical, and affordable white elephant gifts. Check out these amazing white elephant gift ideas, brought to you by Nextag:

10.) Metal Spork

Debatably, the Spork is one of the biggest inventions since sliced bread. Is it a spoon, or is it a fork? It’s a SPORK! This unique kitchen gadget will surely be a hit in the cafeteria or break room.

9.) Wine Country Holiday Gift Basket

Nothing says Happy Holidays like a basket full of gourmet goodies and a nice bottle of wine. Ideal for a variety of individuals, the gift basket features gourmet Ghirardelli chocolates, roasted nuts, and French truffles. This Gourmet Holiday Wine Basket will surely be a hit at your next office party.

8.) Jenga Stacking Game

Who’d of thought stacking bricks on top of each other could be so much FUN? Ideal for parties or a leisurely afternoon at the office, kids and adults find Jenga entertaining.

7.) RC Helicopter

Flying helicopters aren’t just for kids anymore. Give the gift of flight with a two-channel RC helicopter, which can be flown indoors and outdoors.

6.) Bacon Scented Air Freshener, Mints, and Soap

Chances are there’s at least ONE bacon addict at your White Elephant Gift Exchange. Fuel their addiction with Bacon Scented Air Freshener, Bacon Flavored Mints, and Bacon Scented Soap. If they’re accident prone, perhaps throw in some Bacon Strip Band Aids while you’re at it. Someday in the future you’ll ask what cologne they’re wearing, and they’ll proudly say, BACON!

5.) The Office: Dwight Schrute Bobblehead

For a few laughs, consider giving this Dwight Schrute Bobblehead. It’s a real conversation starter, and an eccentric way of honoring one of Dunder Mifflin’s top-selling paper salesmen.

4.) Bad Santa and Badder Santa DVD Set

Who says Christmas has to be cheery? Nobody says happy holidays better than Billy Bob Thorton and Bernie Mac. Give the gift of anti-Christmas with Bad Santa and Badder Santa on DVD.

3.) Flingshot Flying Barnyard Chicken or Monkey

At Nextag, flying chickens, monkeys, and Nerf bullets are a typical day at the office. Boost morale in your office and make people laugh with the Flingshot Flying Barnyard Chicken, which screams when it’s in the air. Just be sure not to hit your boss! If you’re feeling a bit primal, consider the Flingshot Screaming Flying Monkey.

2.) Money Labyrinth

Who doesn’t like plain, no strings attached, pure MOOLAH? Don’t make it that easy for your recipient. Everyone has to work for money, including them. With the Money Labyrinth, they have to do just that! Insert the money before you give them the gift, and then they have to solve the puzzle before unlocking their cashola. Consider putting in $2 bills from your bank as an added joke.

1.) Instant Excuse Ball

The 8-ball makes a comeback with the Instant Excuse Ball. Each plastic ball includes 20 comically illustrated excuses, from the ordinary to the weird, such as “My Dog Ate It” or “Mexican Food.”

Nextag Is Your #1 Source for White Elephant Gifts

Comparison shopping website is your number one destination for finding wacky, bizarre, humorous, and business friendly white elephant gifts. With over 100 million SKUs and 20,000 merchants, we have everything you need to swiftly check off your holiday shopping list this year.

NextagNews Blogger

One Comment on “Top 10 White Elephant Gift Exchange Ideas”

    • Nicholas Passalis-Bain
    • on 12/5/2011 at 14:51:33 PM

    Come to our Facebook page at and take our “Best White Elephant Gift Idea?” poll!

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