White Elephant Gift Exchange

Oh how excited we get when the beloved holiday season approaches and the day is near when we will be gathering together with friends, family and even coworkers to relax, unwind, celebrate festivities and exchange some presents with each other. White Elephant gift exchange is one of the most anticipated events each year as people all across the world partake in the holiday gift swap, and 2024 will be no different!

Read about white elephant rules and themes, pick the best 2024 gift from the great selection on our gifts page, but above all have a great time this holiday season as you celebrate with people you love!

Tradition And History

If you've never heard of the White Elephant gift exchange, you might be wondering: "What's with the name?", "Why is it called white elephant exchange?". Answer is simple and it all dates back in time when the Kings of Siam, (current day Thailand) would give a gift of burden to the courtiers that had annoyed them. This gift happened to be a white elephant, that actual animal, that the courtier could not refuse, yet caring for the animal without using it for labor would inflict financial hardship on the person receiving the gift. This was the King's way of prank punishment!

Read more about the origins and the name "White Elephant" in the origins section.

White Elephant Rules

There are 3 major rules for the white elephant gift exchange game: 1. Bringing a concealed gift to the party. 2. Opening and stealing gifts in order. 3. Not stealing back the gift that was stolen from you immediately.

But aside from the basic rules, there are many other variations and options to incorporate in your game like gift themes, timer countdown for the end swap, X steals and out, and more. Some of the rules make the game more exciting, others help manage the time that game will take to play where it increases the amount if there are few player or decreases the game play period if there are too many people.

You can read about all the rules and variations and decide what version or the rules would be most suitable for your party!

Playing The Game

It's one thing to read about the history of the Christmas gift exchange and understand the rules, and quite another to actually understand how the game is played out. Find out how to play white elephant game and view example game play here.

Gift Themes For The Party

Although most of the time everyone will be free to pick any type of gift they want and usually bring a funny or GAG white elephant gift to the party, it is also common for the organizers to set the gift theme and limit the type of gifts that will be exchanged. this can give more structure to the gift swap and make it easy for the participants to shop for the right present. Have a look at the white elephant themes to see some examples.

White Elephant Party

If there will be a white elephant gift exchange at your Christmas holiday party, then it's fair to call it the white elephant party! It's the event where everyone indulges in tasty treats, sweets and drinks while stealing each others gifts mercilessly. The whole ordeal can get really exciting, so be prepared for a night of great fun and joy.

If you are in charge of planning the party or going to one, it might be a good idea to read about what to expect when organizing or going to this event. Also make sure to read our tips about drinks, cocktails as well as food and snacks for your group.

Drinks, Recipes And Ideas For Snacks

There is no holiday party without generous amount of food, drinks, snacks and treats. If you are organizing the event and want to have a few ideas on what to serve, or if you are bringing some treats to the potluck, you can explore the recipe and drink ideas.

White Elephant Gift Ideas

There is no such thing as the White Elephant Gift Exchange without gifts. Here are some random gifts ideas that would make a perfect elephant present, whether you are looking for funny, GAG, DIY, unisex or any other type of white elephant gift idea. You can view more on our gifts page

White Elephant Drinks

Here are couple of white elephant coctail ideas for your party. For more delicious drink recipes click here.

Berry The Elephant

Ingredients: Vodka, Milk, Blueberry Syrup, Blueberries

Description: Have vodka mixed in with equal amount of milk and generous amount of blueberry syrup. Add ice. Sprinkle with blueberries.

Sweet Red Elephant

Ingredients: White Rum, Cherry Syrup

Description: This simple, thick and tasty combinatino is easy to make and fun to enjoy. Simply combine some white rum with cherry syrup and optionally place a cherry on top of the ice.

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