It doesn't matter if you call it a White Elephant or a Yankee Swap, the game remains the same. Guests are told to bring a gift within certain perimeters. Some hosts will set a dollar amount of $25, or even $50 for the gift and expect it to be something someone would enjoy. Other hosts will request DIY items or items that cost very little. If you find yourself stuck on what to bring to a White Elephant party, I have some ideas for you.
What is a White Elephant Party?
White Elephant (or Yankee Swap) is a party game played during the holiday season where guests bring a gift for a universal receiver. Unlike a Secret Santa, guests do not know who they are preparing a gift for and won't know who ends up with their gift until the game is finished.
All gifts are brought to the party wrapped and unmarked. For the game to begin numbers will be drawn 1 to however many people are participating. Depending on how the host decides to play, the guest who draws the final number can hold the biggest advantage.
White Elephant Rules
Traditionally, the person who draws the number 1 will go to the pile of presents and make their section, unwrap it and show it to everyone, then the person who draws number 2 can decide to steal person number 1's gift or go for a new gift from the pile. If person 2 decides to take person 1's gift, person 1 must go back to the pile and unwrap a new gift. This continues down the line with people stealing each other's unwrapped gifts until there is only one person left to go. This is why I said said the person who draws the last number can have the advantage, at this point all but one gift is unwrapped and this last person can take the hot item (because there's always one "good" gift everyone wants) and be deemed the "winner" of White Elephant.
Some hosts will say no stealing and everyone just gets what they get as they go down the line. Other hosts will say a gift can only be stolen a certain number of times because it gets old having people constantly fighting over the same gift. No matter what rules are put in place, White Elephants are always a lot of fun and tons of laughs.
Participating in a traditional Secret Santa? Check out this template for a Secret Santa Survey from NatashaLH and this How to do a Secret Santa Tutorial from The Gift Grabber.
Otherwise, read on for over 20 White Elephant gift ideas!
White Elephant Gift Idea: Lottery Tickets
Who doesn't love the thought of striking it rich, quick? Lottery tickets are the perfect White Elephant gift because they are universal and you can get a lot of bang for your buck. Don't just present an envelope fill of lottery tickets, check out these easy, DIY twists on gifting lottery tickets.
Lottery Ticket Wreath, Crayons and Cravings
Lottery Ticket Ornament, Crayons and Cravings
White Elephant Gift Idea: Gift Cards
Much like lottery tickets, gift cards are universal. As mentioned above sometimes the dollar limit on a White Elephant is low so and you're only really able to give one gift card but where's the fun in that? Check out this unique idea to give the gift of one gift card with a few laughs too.
Gift Card Roulette, Down Redbud Drive
White Elephant Gift Idea: Gag Gifts
Everyone needs a good laugh and these ideas are sure to bring 'em!
Embroidered Toilet Paper, Diana Rambles
Rootin' Tootin' (Root Beer & Baked Beans combo), Down Redbud Drive
Not by the Hair of My Chinny-Chin-Chin (Razor), See Lindsay
White Elephant Gift Idea: Food
The fastest way to someone's heart is through their stomach. This year for your White Elephant party why not bring a homemade, seasoning mix, or dry ingredients to make cookies? Throw them in a mason jar and you've got yourself a great gift!
Cookie in a Jar, Sustain my Cooking Habit
Rotisserie Chicken Rub, Tasty Galaxy
Chocolates and Caramel, The Helpful GF
White Elephant Gift Idea: Soap
A universal gift, that hopefully everyone in attendance at your party uses is soap!
DIY Charcoal Detox Soap, Pink Fortitude
DIY Mermaid Cupcake Bath Bomb, Home, Crafts, and More
DIY Bath Salts, Attachment Mummy
White Elephant Gift Idea: Ornaments
These hand made ornaments are sure to spruce up anyone's Christmas tree!
DIY Felt Unicorn Ornament, Felt With Love Designs
DIY Mini Snowman Softie, Felt With Love Designs
DIY Melted Snowman Ornament, The Keele Deal
DIY Paint Pour Christmas Ornaments, Girl, Just DIY
White Elephant Gift Idea: Homemade Gifts
Again, depending on the dollar amount set for your White Elephant party, you may need to get a bit creative and home make your gift. Here are a few ideas that can be made at home (potentially with items you already have on hand!)
DIY Vintage Map Keychain, Sustain My Craft Habit
DIY Soap Dispenser, Home Fresh Ideas
DIY, Personalized Guess Who Game, The Keele Deal
DIY Pocket Pack Tissue Holder, Sum of Their Stories
Milk Glass Succulent Planter, Girl, Just DIY
DIY Phone Charging Stand, Girl, Just DIY