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366 White Elephants – A Blog

Updated on August 2, 2012

Example of White Elephant Gift

Leslie A. Panfil

If you have ever experienced the hilarity that is a white elephant gift exchange, you will enjoy this light hearted blog. What exactly is a white elephant gift exchange? It is an exchange of gifts most commonly given at a holiday party. The items are usually inexpensive, often humorous treasures taken from one’s own home or “re-gifted” pieces.


The goal of the 366 White Elephant blog is to have total strangers give a gift and get a gift. Brain child of blogger Dan Dean, he said his inspiration came from the blog Karen on Deck. “She did this blog in 2011 which was cool,” said Dean.

Karen spent the year leading up to her 30th birthday, completing 52 challenges written by friends and family. Each challenge was written on a playing card and each week for one year she picked a card at random and completed the task. “I wanted to take a year-long challenge too,” said Dean.

Dean is no stranger to blogging. “My friend and I did a review of frozen pizzas that was fun.”

Measuring Success

Like many bloggers, Dean’s blog is mainly for his own amusement. “I just wanted to have fun, mix it up a little this year by doing something different, and meet new people. I think the blog has brightened up most everyone's day who participates in it. That's nice,” said Dean. 

Dean views the success of his blog not in monetized content clicks but rather in the amount of joy those who participate in the exchange feel. “I feel successful when friends ask their friends to take part and when they tell others they had a good experience,” said Dean.

Since it is a daily exchange, Dean posts once a day. While some bloggers would find that pace to be a grind, Dean seems to show no sign fatigue.

He credits word of mouth and people posting blog links on their Facebook page as the biggest drivers of traffic to his blog.

And just what does he wish someone would have told him about blogging before he started? “That the way I'd meet people was a little unpredictable. I thought it would go one way, but really I've met people for the blog in a variety of ways--complete strangers, friends of friends, friends. There's no set formula.”

While there may not be one way to meet participants, there does seem to be one thing they all have in common. “Everyone who has participated seems to be able to take themselves lightly,” said Dean.

Dean's Relative

James Buchanan
James Buchanan | Source

What would make an awesome gift for Dean? It would have to be something presidential. “I love U.S. Presidential history and I'm related to James Buchanan, one of the nation's most ineffectual presidents. I'm trying to find someone to go to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Museum, which is off I-80. I pass it every time I drive west. I may even buy someone lunch to go with me.”

I got into the action when a neighbor sent out an email asking if anyone would like to give it a try. Here is what I got:

Here is what I got.

Here is what I gave.

Dan's Favorite - Autograph hotdog!

Have You?

Have you ever participated in a White Elephant exchange?

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