Ultimate List of White Elephant Gift Ideas

What Is A White Elephant Gift Exchange?

Participating in a white elephant gift exchange this year and don't know what it is and what you need to do for it? Don't worry; we've got your back! A white elephant gift exchange can also go by the names Yankee swap or Dirty Santa. Essentially, the goal is to exchange funny and often impractical gifts with one another, giving you a good laugh and making it a little different than a traditional Secret Santa. Occasionally, some may advise sharing holiday gifts and stocking stuffers that have actual value, so if in doubt, ask your host what she or he has in mind so you don't show up with the craziest thing that you could find on Amazon when everyone else brings practical gifts like toasters! 

Apparently, white elephant parties have been around for quite some time. According to urban legend, the phrase "white elephant" is said to derive from the historical practice of the King of Siam (which we now know as Thailand) gifting rare, albino elephants to courtiers who had previously displeased him. His point? He was hoping that the animal's upkeep cost would ruin them. But this story is still a legend and remains a point of contention between many historians. While some believe this theory, others suggest that Ezra Cornell made this term into popular lexicon due to his frequent social gatherings as early as the 1820s. Either way, the white elephant parties got here, they're here to stay forever. 

To participate in a white elephant party, each participant brings one wrapped gift. Typically before the party, the host will determine the amount of money to spend on the gifts, so they are similar. The gifts are placed in a central location at the holiday party, and participants take turns selecting gifts. The first person opens their gift, and their turn ends. The second person gets to either choose the first person's present or pick a new gift. This process keeps continuing with each person as they open. To avoid the never-ending cycle of swapping, some choose to determine rules regarding the number of times a present can be stolen. 

If you have been invited to a White Elephant party and don't know what to bring, we have some great gift suggestions below! 

1. Some Delicious, Fizzy Wine

You probably should have guessed that as a wine company, we were going to start with wine! And, it's not just because we're biased! It's also because wine is just the best gift! In fact, Ancient Greeks considered wine gifts from the gods, and Ancient Egyptians buried their loved ones with tons of wine, so they had a plentiful supply so that their afterlife was, well, lit. See? It's not just us. 

While any wine bottle will do, we highly suggest our girls! Currently, we have five varieties, and all of them are fizzy and around 11.9% ABV per can. Plus, they only contain three carbs and 120 calories per can, so regardless of the recipient's diet, we will very likely fit in perfectly! Oh, and we almost forgot to mention one of the most important and best-selling points: we're sugar-free! So, what are you waiting for? Head to our store and purchase your variety pack to gift today! (Oh, and pro tip: buy yourself a pack too, so you don't get called out for leaving with the present you purchased!) 

If you're looking to make it more of a funny gift, considering adding in a drinking game to take it to the next level. Or go a little more boring—sorry, classic—with a corkscrew. Just remember to always consume responsibly! 

2. A Coloring Book

Don't you remember the good old days when coloring was one of your favorite past times, and the biggest gossip was who couldn't color within the lines? Gosh! It seriously feels like just yesterday. As we age, we tend to forget the things that brought us infinite joy, but we're here to tell you that adults need to rediscover the joy this hobby offers! 

Why do we think coloring is necessary for adulthood? Coloring has been shown to reduce stress due to its geometric shapes and soothing patterns. When you color, your mind, and body operate in an integrated way similar to a meditative process. 

If we were at your White Elephant party, we would definitely want to get our paws all over this gift! There is nothing better than gifts that bring you stress relief and joy all packaged into one! So channel your inner Bob Ross, pull out some different colors, and get to making some DIY art. 

3. A Reusable Water Bottle

If you're anything like us, then you bring your water bottle with you absolutely everywhere. Honestly, we trek around a water bottle more than we trek around pretty much anything else. We are also professionals at leaving our said water bottles at random places and not finding where we left them. Moral of the story: water bottles are our favorite accessory, and therefore, you can never have too many, so they make the best White Elephant Gift. 

Seriously, they are the perfect gift even for someone who has absolutely everything and more. Stainless steel water bottles are good for the planet because they reduce unnecessary plastic waste, and they encourage you to stay hydrated. It's a win-win for everyone and everything! 

4. A Cute Coffee Mug (And Coffee!)

A coffee mug is a gift that never goes out of style or fades in utility. Plus, it's a gift that can range from super meaningful and beautiful to super goofy and fun and everywhere in between. Pretty much everyone we know starts their day with a cup of coffee or tea. And if you know someone who doesn't start their day with a burst of caffeine, we have to believe they are either robots or lizard people. 

But back to the point, mugs can also be a great conversation starter because we all live in a world that bonds over the power of caffeine. A unique mug can light up the drinker's mood and everyone they meet and see as they walk around with it in their hands. Some good quality coffee can impress even the most difficult foodie of your family members, too, so it's worth a go. So give the gift of spreading joy for your white elephant party! 

5. A Game

If your group of friends are always playing games and hosting game nights, why not give a gift that keeps the fun going! Now, there are so many different games to choose from that are incredibly creative—we're talking Cards Against Humanity, What Do You Meme, and literally any kind of card game that you can think of. Not only will your gift recipient love their gift but so will everyone at the party because they'll get to partake!

6. Face Masks

Like it or not, face masks are in all of our futures for the foreseeable future. And until we free ourselves from wearing the cloth, you can never go wrong with gifting a facemask. You have to hand it to our country: we are incredibly creative! Today, we have so many different face masks to choose from! A fun face mask would definitely be a hit at your white elephant gift exchange! 

7. A Wine Cooler

What a coincidence! We have one in mind..... 

8. A Gag Gift

Make a statement and get some laughs by gifting something that nobody wants—not all Secret Santa gifts have to be useful gifts. This is also an incredible opportunity to regift a gift that you were given and just don't want anymore. 

9. A Shower Wine Glass Holder

Gifts that give the recipient an excuse to indulge in self-care are always a good idea. Especially when that gadget allows you to sip on wine with ease. Now, your gift recipient can enjoy their self-care and wine too! They can do their skincare routine or chill in the tub with some essential oils, all the while enjoying a delicious glass of wine. 

Get Ready For Some Festive Chaos

Whatever you decide to gift, make sure you have fun! And remember to be prepared when you open that gift box— you never know whether you're going to get something awesome like a specialty waffle iron or a best seller Bluetooth speaker, or something completely insane, like stickers with your face on them. It's all a part of the game.