A fun twist on the regular gift exchanges is a white elephant gift exchange (also known as Dirty Santa/Yankee swap). It’s meant to entertain its participants with unusual and hilarious items.
White elephant exchanges usually takes place at a party, either with family, friends or even co-workers.
Everyone can steal each other’s presents with the goal of choosing the best one out of the bunch. White elephant gifts should be fun and silly, but still retain some kind of use.
How Do You Play White Elephant Gifts?
All you need to start is a gift and a way to spread out invitations. After getting enough players signed up, the fun can begin.
Here are the White Elephant Rules:
- Set a price margin so that all presents are of approximately the same value.
- Each player should bring a single wrapped, anonymous gift (pranks are encouraged, gifts can be wrapped in a completely different shape from what they actually are).
- Guests draw numbers/names to determine in what order the game is played.
- First player picks and unwraps any gift for everyone to see.
- Next person in order chooses to either steal any of the already opened gifts, or unwrap a new one.
- When all the gifts are unwrapped, first player gets one more turn.
- If they decide to keep their gift instead of stealing, the game is over. Otherwise, the game lasts until someone else decides to hold on to their gift.
To prevent the game from lasting a very long time, different rule modifications can be applied.
For example, the person whose gift got stolen is not allowed to steal it back in that same round. Limiting how many different owners a gift can have is also a common rule.
Otherwise, modify it to your own liking!
What Are Good White Elephant Gifts?
White elephant gift ideas can range from a uniquely shaped mug to a temporary, personalized tattoo. It’s best to have a mix of different gift categories and their usefulness. Blending gags with small stocking stuffers is a cheap and fun way to see who will take home the best present.
Modifying a gift to feel heavy and valuable only to see someone pull out the NoPhone Air is likely to make the whole room burst out in laughter. Take care of what’s appropriate depending on the members of the group. If everyone agrees, only items according to a specific theme can be brought. Depending on the occasion, an affordable Christmas gift could be turned into a fun inside joke. A water balloon Russian Roulette gift is surely going to entertain everyone (except the person on the receiving end).
There is a vast selection of gifts, with your wittiness as the only limit.
What Not To Do At a White Elephant Party
The game is meant to be fun for everyone.
Even though the gifts are supposed to be as unique and silly as possible, useless items are not entertaining. Try not to go out of the line with presents that might offend a person. What is appropriate depends on the situation and the people present – plan according to that. Take time in wrapping the gifts, as that is what makes up half of the fun.
Don’t take it too seriously and enjoy the competition – that’s what it’s meant for, after all.
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