The room smells of Christmas trees and eggnog, the creepy guy you work with is trying to get all of the ladies underneath the mistletoe, and you’re forced into awkwardly talking to people with whom you don’t want to be more than office acquaintances. However, there can be a bright spot in your holiday parties if you can become a master of the white elephant gift exchange.
The white elephant gift exchange can be executed in a plethora of different ways, but the most common one is that everyone brings a gift and people choose them at random. The next person can then choose to grab a new gift or steal from a previous person’s gift. It ends when everyone has a gift.
The goal of the exchange is not to impress; one must go into the activity trying to get a laugh or maybe even sometimes confusing and angering people, but do not go in looking for praise.
The best place to find white elephant gifts is in your home. Be resourceful; look in your parents’ basement or under your bed and find something your crazy aunt got you for your birthday that you are just dying to get rid of. It doesn’t matter if the gift is not conventional or pleasing to the eye because those types of things usually make for the best white elephant gifts.
If you do decide to spend money, however, one rule of thumb is to never spend more than $15 on any gift you buy for the white elephant exchange. You don’t want to be the jerk that breaks the bank to try and get some extra attention. In the immortal words of Paul McCartney, “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.”
Here are a few examples of good white elephant gifts that are simple and won’t send you to the poor house:
- Coffee mug
- Picture frame with your own picture in it
- Unwanted wedding gifts
- Lawn ornaments
- Bag of hair
- Anything made of porcelain
- Sweater vest
- Night lights
- Magic 8-ball
With the economy the way it is, a white elephant gift exchange is a cheap and easy way to have a good time at an office party or family get together.