White elephant gift exchanges are such a fun way to swap gifts with a group of friends, extended family, or even colleagues. This type of gift exchanges keep everyone on their toes and involved throughout the entire opening process since the gift in their hands is always up for grabs. Unlike a normal secret Santa where you purchase a gift for someone specific, with a white elephant exchange you’ll need to shop knowing that your gift could wind up in anyone’s hands. This can make it a bit more complicated to find that perfect gift.
The rules are simple. Each player brings one wrapped gift to contribute to a common pool. Typically a budget of around $30 is set, but this can of course vary. On the day of the exchange, players draw names to determine what order they will go in. The first player selects a gift from the pool and opens it. The following players can choose to either pick an unwrapped gift from the pool or steal a previous player’s gift. Anyone who gets their gift stolen in this way can do the same – choose a new gift or steal from someone else. This goes on until finally the first participant has the opportunity to steal from any of the opened gifts, choosing their favorite.
White elephant gift exchanges typically have a few gag gifts that wind up in the pool, along with some really well thought out gifts that anyone would like. We’ve included several of each all at around $30 or less. Some of the best gag gifts we’ve heard of this year include the Squatty Potty, a desk vacuum, or a bag of unicorn farts.
For last minute gifts, shop a plethora of online gift cards that can easily be printed or emailed to anyone on your list.
1. Adult Coloring Book Starter Gift Pack
Whoever winds up with this gift will have everything they need to start relaxing, relieving stress, and coloring their worries away. The set includes a grown up coloring book with 24 gorgeous and very detailed pages, a set of 24 (or 36 depending on which set you choose) crayola colored pencils and a prismacolor scholar colored pencil sharpener to keep their pencils in tip-top shape. Depending on what price point you need to be at for your white elephant exchange, you can also add one of these alternative adult coloring books to your gift.
2. Because Adulting Is Hard Mug
This mug is a cool Christmas gift idea for a coffee or tea lover, which is pretty much everyone. There’s no limit on how many mugs someone needs – a few for the office, a few for home. This one adds a touch of humor and we love the simple graphic black and white design. The mug is a standard size and ships quickly packaged in bubble wrap. Since this mug is relatively inexpensive, you’ll probably need another item to get you to the appropriate spending amount. This sampler collection of six various coffees is a great option to go with the mug. We also like this “Home Is Where The Pants Aren’t” throw pillow, and this “Blah Button” to play off of the misery of being an adult.
3. Hot Seat – The Adult Party Game About Your Friends
Board games make great white elephant gifts – they’re gender neutral and pretty much everyone loves a good game night. Depending on the crowd, you might even be able to break out this game and start playing right away. Each player answers various personal questions while pretending to be the player in the “hot seat”. Not only will you get lots of laughs, but you’ll get to see which of your friends knows you the best. If you’re not a fan of this game, check out any of these adult board game options.
4. $25 Amazon.com Gift Card
If you’re playing with colleagues who you don’t know personally or you’re not sure the level of humor that’s acceptable for your white elephant exchange, a gift card is the way to go. You can select the amount based on increments of $25, and whoever winds up with this gift can choose something they’ll actually like. There’s no question that everyone always fights over the gift cards in white elephant gift exchanges, for obvious reason. This one is wrapped in a specialty gift box, perfect for Christmas time. If you’ve waited until the very last minute and don’t have time to wait for the gift card in the mail, you can simply choose this print at home option for the same great gift. If you need to add on something for a few extra bucks to your gift or you just want to beef up the presentation, grab this box of Hershey’s holiday themed chocolate, which would also make a great stocking stuffer for anyone on your list.
5. Fresh Baked Cookies Gift Tin
Everyone likes soft cookies that taste like they just came out of the oven. The holidays are a time when everyone indulges a little bit extra on sweet cravings so even a diet won’t stand in the way of someone enjoying this gift. You can select two day shipping at checkout and have these ready to go. The one pound tin includes 12 cookies in a variety of the following flavors: cherry with white chocolate chips, chocolate chunk, double chocolate chunk with a chocolate cookie, oatmeal raisin, macadamia white chunk, and classic peanut butter. If you like the idea of gifting something edible, you can also consider a fun holiday popcorn tin. Browse some great options here.
6. Roulette Drinking Game
This game is an awesome way to get any party started. To play, each player simply selects the shot glass of their choice. Depending on the number of people playing, each player could have more than one glass. Players take turns spinning the wheel and if the ball lands in one of your assigned numbers, take a shot. That glass is then removed from the game and play continues. If the ball lands on a number that has already been removed from the game, that player passes and game play continues until all the shot glasses have been removed. Play this game with beer for a longer game, or with hard liquor for a shorter game. Each set comes with 16 numbered shot glasses (eight red, eight black), two roulette balls, and a roulette wheel. Check out these alternative drinking game gifts as well.
7. iscream 3D Pizza Slice Microbead Pillow
While it looks just like the real deal, this giant slice of pizza is actually for sleeping on rather than for eating. The pillow measures approximately 17 inches high and wide, with a different design on either side (one showing the front of the pizza with the pepperoni and one showing the back of the pizza with the crust). It’s made of spandex and polyester, making it super soft. If you think your white elephant crew has more of a sweet tooth, this donut pillow from the same company is insanely realistic looking and is also a really fun gift.
8. Unisex Emoji Slippers
Pick your favorite emoji face and gift some cool slippers. We’re sure the recipient of this gift will be sporting them around the house all winter long. These funny emoji slippers are made of plush and soft velvet, making them really warm and comfortable. They’re designed with non-slip soles which also helps them maintain their shape longer. You can go with one of the yellow emoji faces or choose something with a little bit more humor like these poop emoji slippers. Check out all of these fun, novelty emoji gifts. We love the idea of purchasing a few for an emoji themed white elephant gift.
9. 12 Inch Classic Dammit Doll
While it appears to be more of a gag gift, it actually comes in handy in those moment of sheer anger and frustration. It’s a gift pretty much anyone could use. Each doll is handmade with high quality material, durable enough to sustain a mean squeeze. It’s made for banging on walls, desks, steering wheels – anywhere you might get a little pissed off and need an outlet. If you’re looking for other stress relief gifts to give at your white elephant exchange, we love this stress relief candle, this desktop punching ball, and this silly talking stress relief ball.
10. Yankee Candle Holiday Votives Gift Box
Scented candles are the best way to make your home smell and feel like the holidays at a moment’s notice. Yankee candle is also a well known company that’s recognized for it’s well made and amazing smelling candles. This set comes with five of the most popular holiday fragrances including balsam and cedar, red apple wreath, Christmas cookie, sparkling cinnamon, and mistletoe. It’s packaged with a small bow, so it’s ready for gift-giving. If you prefer to select just one large candle instead, you can browse Yankee Candle’s Christmas scents here.
11. Santa Hat Flask
This is not just any old flask. Shaped just like a standard Santa hat, it would make a fun and unique addition to any Christmas party this year. Each hat can hold 10 ounces of any non-carbonated liquid. It’s designed with high-quality and puncture resistant plastic that can be removed from the pouch for easy cleaning. Anyone who’s hosting or attending a Christmas soiree this season will want to bring this along for added fun. If green isn’t your favorite color this also comes in black and red.
12. Microwave Popcorn Popper
Winter is the perfect time to cozy up on the couch in your favorite Christmas pajamas, pop on a movie (likely also Christmas themed), and snack on candy and popcorn. Anyone can buy microwaveable popcorn bags, but they’re filled with preservatives, fake butter, and they often burn quickly while leaving unpopped kernels at the bottom of the bag. Upgrade someone’s at-home popcorn game with this popper instead. Simply place plain corn kernels inside (no oil is needed) and microwave for a quick, healthy, and cheap snack. You can add these mini jars of popcorn seasoning to your gift to make it even more fun and tasty.
13. Rockinthebox Pet Rock
Part of the fun of a white elephant gift exchange is to throw a fun gag gift into the mix. They’ll get a good laugh, and while they might not have a real purpose in the long run, that’s enough. This pet is about as low maintenance as it gets, so you can keep it in your home or office. To keep going with the joke and to leave participants on their toes, we also think this gift of nothing and this lump of coal disguised as a piece of jewelry are phenomenal options.
Price: $12.50 (19 percent off MSRP)
14. Slate Chalkboard Cheese Marker & Label Gift Set
Grab a few blocks of cheese from your favorite cheese shop or shop this post on the best cheese gift baskets for Christmas, and gift these awesome chalkboard cheese labels as well. The beautiful black slate makes an attractive statement on the cheese table. It’s quite sturdy and thick enough that you won’t have to worry about easy breakage. The set also includes chalkboard markers that have a fine point for easy writing. To wash them off, simply use a damp cloth and they’ll be ready for their next use. Shop other cheese baskets and cheese related gifts here.
Price: $16.95 (58 percent off MSRP)
15. Christmas Holiday Beer Gift Bags
We’re not sure who wouldn’t want an awesome six pack beer for Christmas. Gifting things you can eat and/or drink are easy go-to options and we’re confident you’ll have a few people in your white elephant exchange fighting over your brews. Either shop for an assortment of beers, making your own custom six-pack, or shop for a seasonal favorite. To complete your gift, grab this santa hat with a built in bottle opener and some cool Christmas koozies.
Price: $25.62 (29 percent off MSRP)
16. Portable Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser
This silly little character serves as a portable aromatherapy diffuser. He’s small in size but still gets the job done. You can use this diffuser with scented oils for relaxation or simply with plain water as a humidifier in the drier months. It has a number of great functions, which make its very low price even more impressive. The battery life is awesome, lasting in continuous mode for three hours and up to six hours in the intermittent mode. It also has a great night light mode, ideal for the evening. The auto shutoff mode is perfect if you forget to turn it off and keep it running accidentally. Lastly, the no spill function, small size (just four inches at the base), and easy portability mean you can use this in the car, office, or at home.
Price: $17.95 (49 percent off MSRP)
17. Stainless Steel Insulated Travel Mug
It’s hard to keep your beverages at the correct temperature when you’re on the go. We’ve all made the unfortunate mistake of taking a gulp of coffee only to realize it’s turned cold. We’ve also been super thirsty in the summer and taken a big sip of water that resembles the temperature of soup. It’s not fun and it’s easily avoidable with this temperature control mug, which is insulated to keep hot drinks hot (for six hours) and cold drinks cold (for 24 hours) so you can actually enjoy your beverage before it’s ruined. Grab this lid/handle that perfectly fits over the mug for anyone on the go to carry it with ease.
18. Chambong – Glassware for Rapid Champagne Consumption
Standard champagne glasses are a great gift, but they’re not nearly as awesome or fun as the Chambong. Just saying “chambong” is fun – isn’t it? The Chambong has a six ounce capacity, is made of a dishwasher-safe, high borosilicate glass, and is a great addition to any party. Simply put, it’s a device used for the rapid and enhanced experience of of sparkling wine or champagne consumption, a fun time, and a lot of laughs.
Price: $22.50 (25 percent off MSRP)
19. Dayan Anser Mini Drone RC Quadcopter
It’s no surprise that adults like toys just as much as kids, sometimes more. This is one of the best drone options at this price point and anyone will have a blast flying it. Not only is it well built but it’s also extremely easy to use, even for beginners who haven’t had any past experience flying a drone. It does require a AAA batteries and comes with one, but you might want to grab a few backups. You can fly this both indoors and outdoors with the ability to rotate right and left while hovering or flying. If this doesn’t seem like the right gift, browse this list of gadgets and toys for big kids.
20. Foodie Dice
Same question, every single day … “What’s for dinner?” You’re either the one who asks it, or the one who dreads hearing it, but it’s a common phrase in pretty much every household. Make a game out of this common conundrum with this set of foodie dice. Each time the dice is rolled, they provide inspiration for creating simple, seasonal meals. The set includes five primary dice (protein, cooking method, grain/carb, herb, bonus ingredient) and four seasonal veggie dice. Roll, shop, and cook. Whoever winds up with this gift will feel like they’re on their own version of Chopped each night at dinnertime – a super fun way to meal plan. Prefer mixology dice? Grab those here.