ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Host a White Elephant Gift Exchange Party

Updated on July 10, 2014

One Man's White Elephant is Another Man's ......?

Have some fun, unload some junk.  My family has embraced a relatively new holiday tradition called a White Elephant Gift Exchange.  I am not sure what that says about me or my family but one thing is for sure.  WE HAVE FUN!

There is probably a good chance you have had an opportunity to participate in a White Elephant Gift Exhange but may be lacking the details on how to host your own successful party. 

I am going to share a few ideas on how to make your next holiday party gift exchange a huge success.


2014's Hottest Gifts, Future White Elephants - Buy now, dispose later.

Just think of it as preparing for the future.

Yes Virginia there is a "White Elephant"

What is it?

If you have been invited to a holiday party and asked to bring a "White Elephant Gift" you might scratch your head and think, "What is a White Elephant?"

I like this definition from

white elephant


1. A rare, expensive possession that is a financial burden to maintain.

2. Something of dubious or limited value.

For the purpose of the "White Elephant Gift Exchange" lets assume it's an item of limited value and so ugly it's beautiful or just plain silly.

In fact, I now hold a "family heirloom" which could easily be a replacement for the term "White Elephant" which I refer to as the "Velvet Matador."

The "Velvet Matador" hung in my grandparents basement for nearly 30 years before it arrived at the "White Elephant Gift Exchange" in 2005 at my aunt and uncles holiday party.

FYI, one mans "Velvet Matador" may be another man's (uncles)childhood gift to his father with money scrounged up to purchase a painting from a gas station's junk peddler.

Gimme The Rules

Rules for the White Elephant Gift Exchange

The basic overview of the game is that everyone who is participating in the exchange has brought a "White Elephant Gift." It should be wrapped with no reference to what it is or who brought it.

Tip: Designate a pile for "White Elephant Gifts" in advance so you don't mix up with the "real gifts."

Everyone will get the opportunity to choose or steal a gift.

You will want to give your guests some guidance on your invitation. Define what type of "White Elephant Gift" is appropriate for your party.

-under $10



-gag gift

-ugliest ornament

-pick a theme of your own

How to get started:

1) Get a count of participants and draw numbers based on the number of people participating.

Tip: Create your numbers in advance and have them ready to be put in a hat.

2) Start choosing gifts. The person who drew #1 goes first and opens their gift then #2 and so on.

3) After the first person picks each successive person has the opportunity to choose an unopened gift or "steal" a gift from somebody who has already chosen. If your gift is stolen you now get to choose an unopened gift or steal another opened gift excluding the just stolen gift. After the stealing and such as been completed continue on with numerical order until everyone has a gift.

Optional Rules:

-after a gift is stolen 3 times it is "dead" and cannot be stolen again

-the person who picked first has the opportunity to now "steal" after all gifts are opened

The Hostess with The Mostest

"Secrets of a White Elephant Host or Hostess"

If you follow the above guidelines you are sure to have a blast but over the years I have picked up a few tips or tweaks that can put your party over the top.

-Establish a "Traveling White Elephant" the gift that keeps on giving. You will know it when you see it. Mark a gift as must "Re-Gift" at following years party.

-Have everyone attach a gift card or certificate to their "White Elephant" at a predetermined value of $10-$20.

-Have some extra "White Elephants" wrapped and available for guests who forgot to bring a gift. Everyone should participate if possible.

-For office party gift exchanges have a theme related to work related gag gifts that will "help with productivity"

-Have a "door prize" for best or worst "White Elephant Gift" chosen by the senior or oldest person at the party. This should be of value to encourage creativity.

White Elephant Gift Ideas - Vote For or Add a Favorite.

Apple iPod nano 8 GB 3rd Generation(Black)  (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Apple iPod nano 8 GB 3rd Generation(Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

iPod nano is the small iPod with one very big idea: Video. Now the world's most popular music player lets you enjoy TV shows, movies, video podcasts, and more. The larger, brighter display means amazing picture quality. It features an anodized aluminum top and polished stainless steel back. It'll wow you for hours. Play up to 5 hours of video or up to 24 hours of audio on a single charge. iTunes provides music, movies, TV shows, games and more. All those features within a wafer-thin, 6.5-mm prof...

The Clapper
The Clapper

The sound activated on and off switch. The Clapper can control one or two appliances at the same time, 2 claps for the first appliance and 3 claps for the second. Set the dial to home or away. A sound sensitivity dial adjusts for softer or louder claps.

Super Sounds Deluxe Sound Amplifier 200-084358042783-LTC
Super Sounds Deluxe Sound Amplifier 200-084358042783-LTC

Super Sounds Portable Sound Amplifier

Bring the sounds of the world closer! Portable micro size fits in pocket or clips to your belt. Low profile earphones are ergonomically designed for comfort. Powerful enhanced audio frequency brings sounds closer.

Perfect for:



sporting events,

personal conversations,

watching TV, theater and church.

Clips to belt or pocket. Battery included.

Don't miss out on anything. Brings all sounds even closer.

Ronco Solid and Liquid Flavor Injector Pair
Ronco Solid and Liquid Flavor Injector Pair

The Ronco Showtime Solid Food Injector is the only solid food injector you can purchase for home use. Imagine injecting whole cloves of garlic, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, herbs, olives, even vegetables into your favorite meats such as roast beef, pork loin roast, leg of lamb, turkey, etc. With the Ronco Liquid Injector you can inject your favorite marinades right into your roasts, chickens, and turkeys. The liquid injector holds up to three and a half ounces. You can also inject meat tenderizer...

Ab Lounge 2 Abdominal Exerciser Collection
Ab Lounge 2 Abdominal Exerciser Collection

The Ab Lounge 2 Abdominal Exerciser is a revolutionary new ab machine that tightens and tones upper and lower abs and obliques faster than you ever imagined possible! The machine works your abdominal muscles with a fuller range of motion than crunches or sit-ups, and the fuller the range, the longer your abs are toning and tightening. The Ab Lounge 2 also strengthens your back muscles where your functional strength originates. A stronger core gives you greater everyday strength, with less strain...


Gadgets My Friends

Leave your comments just not your "White Elephant" - You won it now you dispose of it.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      Lets let the elephants run. This should be great fun.

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Love white elephant gift parties and picked up some good tips here, thanks.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      We love the white elephant gift party so much we have built a Facebook application that mimics the real deal... We call it AlbinoPhant.

    • thepartyanimal2 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great info - post your lens on my Squidoo Home for the Holidays under: Holiday Parties -

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Good topic very interesting.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      What a great lens! I had heard of white elephant parties, but have never participated. It sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe next year we'll have a white elephant party just for fun!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I love white elephant parties! You never know what to expect, and the enthusiasm always runs high...thanks for a great lens about a unique party idea!


      : )

    • coachbriany lm profile imageAUTHOR

      coachbriany lm 

      10 years ago

      I would love a picture of that.

    • kerbev profile image


      10 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I recently unloaded a christmas ornament of a squid atop a jar of peanut butter, complete with rhinestones and a wee bit of glitter.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)