15 Best White Elephant Gifts Everyone Will Fight Over
Bring one of these white elephant gifts to the party, and guests will be fighting to take it home.
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Let’s talk about the white elephant in the room. There’s nothing more fun than a white elephant gift exchange, where a group chooses, swaps and steals a collection of gifts. But how do you find those perfect white elephant gifts that others will want to fight over?
It’s hard enough coming up with gift ideas for the people you know and love, never mind mystery recipients. But don’t worry—we’ve found everything from hilarious gag gifts to under-$20 treasures, all of which are bound to be coveted by someone in your group. Whether you’re looking for gifts for her, gifts for him, best friend gifts, or secret Santa gifts, we’ve got you covered.
What is a white elephant gift exchange?
White elephant gift exchanges are a time-honored tradition for families, friend groups and companies that want to add a little good-natured competitiveness to their celebration. Also called a Yankee swap, the party game follows a few simple instructions.
Guests buy a gift within a pre-determined budget that would be appropriate for anyone in the group, then they anonymously place their wrapped white elephant gift in a pile with everyone else’s. Each person draws a number and, on their turn, can either select an unwrapped gift from the pile or steal one of the already opened white elephant gifts from someone else. At the end, Person #1 gets their choice of any of the gifts!
Costs are typically kept low for this swap-and-steal, so funny gifts are fair game. But white elephant gifts for $20 or less can also be high-quality and a ton of fun.
Do you wrap white elephant gifts?
Yes! Half the fun of a white elephant gift exchange is guessing what’s inside in order to decide whether to take a chance on it or just go for an already-opened sure thing.
Some people like to take it up a notch by wrapping their white elephant gifts in a way that will totally throw off guessers. For example, they may wrap a gag gift in beautiful paper with all the trimmings or wrap a small item in a gigantic box. All of that just adds to the laughs and the conversation when it’s finally opened.
What is a good white elephant gift?
A successful white elephant gift makes people laugh, smile or even groan. It’s something unique that can be practical, heartfelt or downright funny. Above all, it’s a conversation piece.
Read on for a list of really good white elephant gifts. Do yourself a favor and subtly keep it open on your computer for other members of your group to see. That way, you may walk away from the white elephant gift exchange with something you actually want.
Under $10: Ceramic Elephant Succulent Planter
Okay, this ceramic planter is the perfect white elephant gift—literally. Not only does it check so many boxes—funny, practical and appropriate for anyone—it’s also a bargain. Here are more cheap Christmas gifts.
Under $20: Fred Unicorn Pool Float Tea Infuser
Few items can hold a candle (er, tea light) to this white elephant gift that tea lovers will find surprisingly useful. Shaped like a pool toy, this unicorn tea diffuser easily brews loose tea leaves without any mess. It’s the stuff of legends, and the mythical design makes it an awesome gift for teens, too.
For all ages: MaxNova Knit Beanie Hat
Emblazoned with a cheery smiley face, this knit beanie is likely to elicit that same reaction from recipients. You don’t have to worry about sizing since one size fits most, so it’s one of the best white elephant gifts for just about anyone. Because it’s available in more than a dozen colors and bargain-priced at less than $15, you may want to order a few. They would also make great stocking stuffers.
For your book club: Out of Print Library Card Socks
Remember when librarians used to stamp a card with the due date every time you borrowed a book? These adorable library card socks will be immediately recognizable to book lovers and are soft and comfortable enough to wear while reading under a cozy throw blanket on the couch.
Out of Print offers a card catalog’s worth of book-themed socks, including classics like 1984, Pride & Prejudice and The Hunger Games. Maybe one of them will be your next book club choice! Check out these other gifts for book lovers.
Under $50: The Comfy Original Wearable Blanket
If you’re splurging, this wearable sherpa blanket will be the white elephant gift to beat. Honestly, it’s like giving someone a hug. Super sized and super soft, its name—The Comfy—says it all.
Double-layered with luxurious fleece microfiber on the outside and premium fluffy sherpa on the inside, it’s so cozy, no one will ever want to take it off. The Comfy is also a sweet gift for students so they can keep their heating bills down in their first apartment.
For eco-warriors: Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag Set
Whether they haul groceries or workout gear in this Baggu tote bag set, they’ll love how easy it is to carry and how many single-use plastics it replaces. Made of durable ripstop nylon, it comes in dozens of fun colors, prints and designs and holds up to 50 pounds of weight comfortably. Best of all, it’s a real gift for the planet, and you can include a package of reusable straws in it, as well.
For adults: Maybe Swearing Will Help Adult Coloring Book
Bringing a whole new meaning to the term adult coloring book, just consider this not-safe-for-kids coloring book a form of art therapy. Filled with beautiful designs and lots of cursing, it’s perfect for stressed-out days that warrant a torrent of four-letter words. It’s one of those funny white elephant gifts people talk about for years to come—possibly prefaced with an expletive or two.
For kids: Tabletop Bowling Game
Complete with the cutest mini pins and balls, this wooden tabletop game is a great gift for kids that will keep them happily occupied for hours. In fact, it’s so addictive, you may want to buy a spare (see what we did there?) or two for the adults who just might try to steal it.
For women: Bath Bombs Gift Set
Show your gal pals you’ve got their back (and the rest of them!) with this set of 10 pretty bath bombs that will have them making a beeline for the tub. Made of all-natural, organic essential oils and designed to fizz, these beauties will fill the water with both color and fragrance for a relaxing experience to delight all the senses.
These white elephant gifts would also make thoughtful gifts for nurses or others who stand on their feet all day. Consider adding a “Do Not Disturb” sign.
For men: Nostalgia Hot Dog and Bun Toaster
Hot diggity dog! This red-hot retro toaster—made specifically for dogs and buns—is among the white elephant gifts guys will be fighting over so they can cook up their faves when it’s too cold out to grill. It’s the kind of gift you buy as a joke but that ends up becoming something the recipient can’t live without. It just may be the perfect gift for people who are impossible to shop for.
For coworkers: Essential Oil Diffuser
This soothing essential oil diffuser adds an instant touch of zen to any environment, making it ideal for the office. It also doubles as a piece of cute desk decor thanks to the realistic faux succulents nestled into the pot—a thoughtful gift for coworkers.
For the coffee klatch: Stojo Collapsible Silicone Travel Mug
Stojo’s collapsible mug is one of the best gifts for coffee lovers. It holds 16 ounces of a hot or cold beverage and collapses to a two-inch disk that’s perfect for travel so your coffee companions can always get their fix. It comes with a removable straw, and the mouth tab creates a leakproof seal. Plus, reusable coffee cups are so much better for the environment. It makes for a great gift for lawyers, too.
For friends: 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz
The bible of both world and armchair travelers, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die is a source of inspiration and aspiration. It’s impossible not to feel a sense of wanderlust while thumbing through its pages. Filled with gorgeous photos, fun facts and helpful hints, it doubles as a solid gift for a sister-in-law with big travel dreams and too little vacation time.
For wine aficionados: Rabbit Wine Aerator and Pourer
This aerator is a thoughtful gift for wine lovers, who will raise a glass to the fact that it improves both the bouquet and flavor of wine with each pour. It has a silicone base to avoid spills, so no drop goes to waste and they can breathe easy—just like their wine.
For family: One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book
Every family needs someone to document milestones and moments, and this is a great starter journal for those who want to keep a diary but don’t want to commit to writing pages and pages each day.
Its easy daily prompt? “Write one line about your day.” That’s it. There’s plenty of space to write a single sentence every day for five years. What a treat it will be to look back on years from now, and what a practical gift for writers.
With additional reporting by Robin Raven.
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