You’ve heard the term before, but exactly what is a white elephant gift and how does it work? We’ll go through all of that below and share some funny gift ideas you might want to buy this year.
If you have never participated in one, a white elephant gift exchange can bring laughter and fun to almost any holiday get together! But, coming up with an idea for what to give can prove a challenge.
While you want to have fun, you want to keep it affordable too. We’ve come up with 25 fun ideas for less than $25 each that will make someone’s day!!!
Check out some of our other gift guides:
- Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids
- Gift Ideas for the Music Lover on Your List
- Teen Boy Gift Ideas
- Gifts Your Child’s Teacher Actually Wants
WHAT IS A WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT EXCHANGE?
A white elephant gift exchange is a fun spin on holiday gift giving. Instead of buying a gift for a specific person on your list, you buy a basic gift that can work for anyone. The rules are pretty simple – buy cheap and steal!
Each person attending the party will purchase an inexpensive gift to bring to the party anonymously. (I recommend you set a budget so everyone knows how much to spend). Guests place their wrapped gifts on a table or beneath the tree.
DIRECTIONS FOR RUNNING A WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT PARTY
To start, everyone draws a number. The person who draws #1 will select any gift he or she wants to open and their turn ends. The second person has the option to either select a new present to open or they can steal the gift opened by player #1. If they steal, then player #1 will select a new gift to open instead.
When the third person has his or her turn, he or she can select from either player #1 or #2 and steal that gift. If a steal happens, the person who no longer has a gift will open another one. Play continues until all gifts have been opened.
In this game, you want to get the highest number so you can select any gift you want – even if it has already been opened.
Another type of white elephant exchange is a Yankee swap. It follows similar rules except that you do not steal gifts. You open one and get to keep it (of course, you can swap with one another afterward).
Both games are lots of fun, but if you want clever or funny gift ideas, I’m here to help! All of the gifts below are priced at $25 or LESS, making them affordable, yet unique!
WHAT TYPE OF GIFTS DO YOU GIVE?
The gifts you exchange can vary, based on the type of party or exchange you are attending. Sometimes the gifts are thoughtful or useful. The gifts can also be something from around your house you no longer want (i.e. a re-gift).
However, most of the time, people exchange funny white elephant gifts. These make for a lot of fun and laughter not only when people open them, but also as they fight to either get rid of or to claim the gift they really want.
FUNNY AND CREATIVE WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT IDEAS
There are lots of fun ways to do a gift exchange. Sometimes, the gifts will all be homemade, other times funny. You can set price limits or even make sure it is something used from your house. If you need to come up with creative and unique ideas, check out this fun list.
1. Mason Jar Cocktails. If it is ok to bring adult beverages to the gift exchange, a really cute idea from somethingturquoise.com.
2. Autographed picture of yourself. One funny white elephant gift idea is to take a selfie, print, autograph and frame it! Imaging your recipient’s surprise when they open this hilarious gift !
3. Nap Sack. The perfect gift for those times you just feel the urge to take a nap!! (So, it is not a real gift, but you can put something inside of it, such as a fuzzy blanket/throw)! Kohl’s has blankets on sale every holiday season, making them extremely affordable).
4. Muffin Top Baking Cups. These cupcake liners are perfect for the baker on your list!
5. Wine Bottle Glass. You know you have that friend who needs one of these wine glasses.
6. Lottery Tickets. These make funny white elephant gifts too! Just make them promise to share the winnings!
7. Bacon Bandaids. The bacon lover in your group needs these band-aids. You know it. And I know it. And once they open the box, they will too!
9. Cards Against Humanity. You definitely have to have the right crowd for this game. It’s crazy popular and lots of fun….but you don’t want to Grandma end up with it (unless she is as crazy as you).
10. Bear Paw Oven Mitts. Nothing says loving like something from the oven….when you use your bear paw mitts.
12. Poo-Pouri. A fun little item that will surely bring lots of laughs!
18. Coasters. Something that is practical and everyone can use. You can find funny coasters or even something a bit more traditional.
19. Dog Butt Magnets. Because…why not? (My mom was given these as a gift when she moved into her house and they are my kids’ favorite magnets).
20. Bob Ross Socks. Let’s all say it together “Happy Trees.”
21. Emoji Golf Balls. These golf balls help you with your swing. And, if not, at least they will be easy to see in the sand trap.
22. Bring Me Socks. Bring me wine, tacos, beer….whatever your fancy! Perfect for your friend who likes to lounge and make others fetch their beverages. Find all sorts of fun styles on Etsy.
23. Money Duck. Now you’ll know if your friend is showering with soap or not! This fun duck soap contains cash inside. But, you have to use it up before you know how much you’ll get!
24. Good Morning Mug. This fun sleep/awake mug changes as you add a hot beverage to it. It makes a very cute white elephant gift for the “not so morning” person.
25. iPhone Charger Stickers. Turn your iPhone charger into a fun little creature!