Frequently Asked Questions About White Elephant Gift Exchange

Here are some of the most common questions around White Elephant that we ofter receive.

What is white elephant?

White Elephant refers to a rare animal that was given as a gift of burden by Kings to those who had annoyed them. There are actual white elephants out there in nature, and giving them as a gift has resulted in the tradition of white elephant gift exchange.

What is white elephant gift exchange?

White elephant gift exchange is a modern tradition of gift giving in December of every year, when everyone brings a gift to the party, where later gifts are opened and stolen/swapped from each other. This is a fun Christmas holiday event anticipated everywhere.

What is the difference between White Elephant and Secret Santa?

The main difference between Secret Santa and White Elephant gift exchange is who receives the gift that you bring to the party. With Secret Santa you are assigned a person you have to buy a present for so everyone receives a predetermined gift from their Secret Santa, whereas with white elephant gifts are opened at random and are swapped/stolen at will.

What is white elephant party?

White elephant party is a winter holiday party, like Christmas party that involves the white elephant gift exchange. If at your Christmas party people will be playing a White Elephant gift exchange game, then it’s considered to be a white elephant party.

When is the best date for White elephant party?

White elephant parties are held anywhere from early December to the New Years or even first few days of January. Most business or corporate events take place before Christmas, usually in the first half of December either at the end of a weekday or on weekends. Family and friends usually hold gift exchanges on Christmas day or just days leading up to it (friends).

It is also not uncommon to have white elephant gift exchanges after Christmas. Many such events are held so that everyone can bring a present that they received for Christmas and don’t really want. One man’s trash is another’s treasure, they say and it really applies here.

Some groups do the white elephant exchange during the New Years party. It’s so much fun to open and swap presents that there really is not wrong day for such an event.

Is white elephant party appropriate for children?

Well that depends on the theme of the party. If the gift theme is appropriate and there will not be anything not suited for children then it would be fine to have children present or even participate in the gift exchange. Special attention will need to be made to make sure that the children can not access alcohol if it’s being served, but other than that, there is no reason why kids can not join in or even have their own White Elephant party!

What is white elephant gift?

White elephant gift is a present specifically bought for white elephant gift exchange. The most common types of white elephant gifts are GAG novelty items that are very funny or sometimes inappropriate but these gifts can also be ordinary items that you do not want. White elephant gift can also be under particular theme, like edibles, clothes, etc.

What are the white elephant rules?

There are multiple rules that can be applied to the white elephant gift exchange, but only three of them are the basic mandatory ones: 1. Each player brings one gift. 2. Gifts must be well concealed. 3. You can not steal back the gift that was stolen from you immediately and must wait for another turn. For more rules and variations please click here

What are white elephant themes?

This of White Elephant themes as categories. Therefore, a white elephant theme is a category of gifts that you would pick a gift from. Some of the popular themes are : “GAG gifts”, “Edible Gifts”, “Ugly Sweaters” and more. Have a look at more themes.

How do you play white elephant?

For the detailed understanding, have a look at the game-play, but essentially what happens is this: Everyone agrees on price and theme of the gifts. Then on the day of the party guests bring gifts and place them in one pile. Everyone brings only one. Randomly numbers are drawn and each player receives a number. In this order players open gifts, swap and steal from each other and continue playing until the game ends. When the game ends, whatever gift the player is holding is what they go home with. There are many different ways to end the game, but usually it involves a timer or a set number of steals that will take place after all gifts are opened.

How many people can be in white elephant exchange?

It is recommended to have at least 6 players, because with less the game will end too soon. In terms of the maximum limit, there really isn’t one, but you want to have a manageable number. If everyone is able to move about in the room and reach the gift pile, your group is good to go whether there’s 10 of you 50.

How much should I spend on a white elephant gift?

It is best to have the maximum spending limit or the spending price range to be determined in the game rules by the party organizer, but if no such limits were set, generally it’s recommended to spend about 20 dollars or so. $20 to $25 also happens to be the most popular amount spend on these types of gifts, so there is a large variety of presents available online and on local stores.

Where can I find white elephant gifts?

That would depend on the type of gift you are looking for, but if it;s funny, GAG or unusual gift you are after, there’s no better way than online shopping. You can have a look at some of the best white elephant gifts on the gift page.

Related information that users searched for:

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White Elephant Drinks

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

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.


Ingredients: Guiness, Baileys, Chocolate Shavings, Brownie Dust

Description: Touch of guiness mixed in with baileys topped with Chocolate shavings and brownie dust. This delicious treat with get your elephant party chocolate lovers in a awe!

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