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White Rhino or Elephant a Great Christmas Gift Exchange Alternative

Updated on January 12, 2011


Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas is upon us again. As stressful as it sometimes can get , It’s still a great Holiday Season. Surviving it without breaking the bank…that’s what I’m talking about. There is no way around it so bitching and moaning about the decorating, the gift giving expense, the travel time expended, traffic, crowded places, our relatives, and the overall stress of living out the month, not going to do anyone any good. I agree if we could just skip it and emerge at the beginning of January when things have quieted down. That would be total bliss! Until then other survival methods need be employed. If you have never tried the White Rhino gift exchange game, this year is a great year to start.

To little ones even a small tree looks huge.
To little ones even a small tree looks huge.

In the past our families have always bought for all the little ones, after all they are the firm Santa believers. They are the ones with the cutest surprised little faces and contagious giggly laughter. White rhino doesn't apply for them . We still gift them, nothing fancy mind you but high tech toys and outlandish gifts are always left up to the parents and their beliefs and pocketbook, to indulge or not.

For the adults we would pick names so we would all at least have one gift to open on Christmas Day. After a few years of this we started encountering a problem where on back to back years the same person was left without a gift because their exchange just didn’t come through. They either didn’t show up, got mixed up or plainly ignored the gift exchange. Not to sound petty as I’m sure the intended recipient of this phantom gift didn’t really need it. It’s just the principle and poor etiquette that got to me.


I didn’t give a reason last year as to why my immediate family would be opting out of the traditional gift exchange but agreed to be around for the annual family Christmas brunch. After enduring a few party pooper remarks I suggested a white rhino gift exchange game. The others unaware exactly as to what the white rhino was I proceeded to explain the game.

White Rhino Gift Exchange Game

Everyone brings a new wrapped gift within a specific predetermined amount. We did ours for a $20 gift. Count the number of gifts brought in (should match number of players) and make up individual numbered slips of paper to match the amount of gifts and place these folded up numbers in a hat or bowl. Everyone picks a number. Number one would go first , select a gift and unwrap it in front of everyone for all to see. Number two goes next unwraps his/her gift shows everyone and can then keep or steal number ones gift. The other numbers go in succession opening when its their turn and exercising their option of taking someone elses gift or keeping theirs. After the last persons turn, number one is given the same option to keep his original or steal anothers gift. Number one obviously is the last person and has the advantage. He has by now scouted all available gifts and he/she can pick whatever he wants and doesn’t have to worry about someone taking it back.

The white rhino gift exchange turned out to be one of our better holiday ideas. It is a pretty interactive and fun game. Some of the gifts fought over were gas gift cards, alcohol bottles, and believe it or not the guys had a great time fighting over a cast iron skillet, they all needed it to cook onions on their grill. It really is a great alternative - it relieves your pocket book and prevents you from going batty trying to figure out what to get for any one person in particular, God forbid they have it all . You also won’t have to stress about how much debt you are in, you only buy one adult gift. As for the other holiday stressors , good luck figuring out something for those. I can’t think of everything !




There are slight different variations of the game. Some people play the White Elephant in which they bring an item from home they no longer use. The pink elephant to my understanding you play while drunk. Good luck with that one on a Christmas morning.

Gift Giving Quotes from the Heart

The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence. - Denis Waitley

The manner in which a gift is given is worth more than the gift. -Pierre Corneille

To receive a present handsomely and in the right spirit , even when you have none to give in return , is to give one in return. - Leigh Hunt

Only a fool judges people by the presents they give him. - Chinese Saying


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    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago

      Granny's House

      A fun game indeed. I always look forward to my friends Christmas party to see what good gift I can steal :)

      thanks for coming by.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      We play this game at our work Christmas party. It is real fun. Thank you for the hub.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      You are welcome Breakfastpop. Hope you get to play it. Merry Christmas!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Great idea. Thanks for the info.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      crickette w

      Glad to be of help. I agree, most people especially right now would benefit from this. Thanks for reading, I appreciate your input.

    • crickette_w profile image

      crickette_w 8 years ago

      LOVE IT!!!!!We have been doing this each year without a name for it. Thank you, I am sure if read you will help a lot of readers out this year and for years to come. Thank you Bail Up!!!!!Helpful, very helpful.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      Laura- We had been doing the same thing for years too. Sooner or later you get the same person over and sometimes its hard to think of something you havent' purchased for that person before. I like this game better - stress free and fun. Enjoy your Holidays and thanks for stopping by.

      Hub Llama -

      I can see how you could have thought that. LOL too funny! Next time I'll think the title through a bit more. Thanks for reading.

    • Hub Llama profile image

      Hub Llama 8 years ago from Denver, CO

      Ooooohhhhhh. I read the title and thought you were suggesting giving white rhinos as gifts. I couldn't possibly see how that was going to turn out. But, THIS sounds like a good idea to try out.

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 8 years ago from South Africa

      Good idea. Our family is one step back. We still draw names and each person buys a gift for the person whose name you have drawn. Maybe we should play the White Rhino game next year.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      Glad you enjoyed it Truth. I appreciate you stopping by. Merry Christmas!

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 8 years ago from Michigan

      Good Hub, very entertaining.