If you’ve ever participated in a white elephant gift exchange, you know there is always THAT gift. You know, the one that gets passed around with a groan because no one wants it. The one everyone hopes to avoid.
And while you feel sorry for the person who ends up with that gift, you almost feel worse for the one who purchased it in the first place. They have to see the disappointment and hear the groans from others hoping to not get stuck with it.
This holiday season, don’t be that person. Here are 30 White Elephant gift ideas that don’t suck. Pick something from this list, and you will be golden.
What’s the difference between a White Elephant, a Yankee Swap, and a Dirty Santa? If you go back to the roots, White Elephant and Dirty Santa gift exchanges call for silly, impractical gifts, whereas a Yankee Swap calls for more useful gifts. However, over the years many refer to the three interchangeably, with some being more common by region.
Before you participate, do yourself a favor and ask your host if the gifts are intended to be silly and impractical or more useful so you are in line with expectations.
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Yeti might possibly make the best travel water bottles and cups. This will for sure be a hit at your gift exchange. You have so many choices here depending on your budget. My personal favorites are the low ball tumblers, 20 oz rambler, and wine glasses.
I received a phone tripod as a gift last year and it has to be one of my favorite gifts. Whenever I pull it out, I get tons of comments on it. It’s lightweight and easy to travel with, which gives you the opportunity to take pictures anywhere within seconds.
I’m convinced guacamole tastes better when made in a molcajete, which is a stone mortar and pestle used to smash avocados and mix other ingredients to create guacamole. This unique white elephant idea will for sure be a hit!
Games are always a hit in a White Elephant exchange. Grab a game like Catch Phrase, Cards Against Humanity, Pictionary, or even Chess (which is the most popular board game of all time.) Or, for a cheaper option for low dollar amount White Elephant exchanges, grab a game like Monopoly Deal.
Don’t buy just any candle for your gift exchange. Buy a candle that would be a splurge. We have the perfect one in mind...grab the 25 oz Galvanized Container Candle Cedar Magnolia - Hearth & Hand™ with Magnolia from Target. It comes in a galvanized container that can be re-purposed into a plant pot after using.
How many great ideas come to you in the shower? There is actually science behind why our best ideas come to us in the shower. (You can read all about it here.) This Aqua notebook is waterproof and allows you to capture those bright thoughts in the shower. It’s a fun, silly, and relatively cheap gift idea for any gift exchange.
Fun fact...This very site, Jac of All Things, was thought of in the shower.
Portable phone chargers are a genius idea. Who hasn’t had their phone die and found them self without an outlet to charge? These chargers can be used on the go and are one of the most useful White Elephant gifts you can find!
If anyone wants to buy me a gift this year, I’d like a set of these tablecloth weights for outdoor entertaining. These clip on table weights keep your tablecloth from blowing around in the wind. The perfect White Elephant or Yankee Swap gift for any entertainer!
Dear Husband, If you are reading this article please stop or you will spoil your Christmas presents.
This may be one of my favorite items on the list. This car seat cap filler, (as seen on Shark Tank) is the perfect solution to the endless items that fall between the crack of your seats in your car. This will for sure be a hot item at your White elephant or Yankee Swap gift exchange.
Succulents are a great cheap gift that appeal to many. They can spruce up your work desk or be the perfect small decoration for anyone’s home. Did you know you can find real live succulents on Amazon for easy gift buying? Or if you are looking to buy in person, one of my favorite places to get them is Trader Joe’s.
Every year at my office White Elephant party, this is one of the most sought out gifts. Who doesn’t want a new cuddly blanket? Opt for a neutral colored blanket to appeal to most. You can find endless options on Amazon or check out your local Home Goods.
Bringing a bottle of liquor almost feels like a cheat for a White Elephant or Yankee swap. But, it always seems to be a popular one! While it lacks in creativity, people seem to love it and always seems to be a highly sought out gift.
There are some things you don’t typically buy for yourself, but love getting as a gift. I’d add popcorn popper to that list. This is the perfect unique gift idea!
With more and more companies and cities banning plastic straws there is a serious market for plastic straw alternatives. Reusable straws, either for home or on the go, make a great Yankee Swap gift for those who are environmentally conscious.
Have a low limit Yankee swap? Grab some fun wine charms as your gift to exchange. You can pick out a festive holiday set, or wine charms that can be used everyday.
I walked away with a super cute cutting board during my last White Elephant gift exchange. It was such a hit and got passed around the room multiple times!
Perfect for the coffee lover, grab a fun mug and gift card to your local coffee shop for a gift that is for sure to be popular.
Kozis are a fun gift that you never seem to buy for yourself. These are great for White Elephant or Yankee swap parties with a low limit because you can often find them for cheap.
I received meat shredders as a gift one year and they are used in our house all the time! These shredders are perfect for crock pot meals, or making any type of shredded meat. While unique, it's practical!
This is the perfect gift for anyone who likes to entertain. Add this to the list of things people love but never seem to buy for themselves, which makes it the perfect gift exchange idea.
An alternative to ice, these “rocks” keep your drink cool without melting into water and changing the taste. Don’t let the name fool you. You can also use to chill your wine or other fun beverages in addition to scotch.
Mix drinks like a pro! Give the gift of a bartender set for your gift exchange. You can make your own set or buy one already built for you to fit any budget.
Maybe it’s the writer in me, but one of my favorite gifts is getting a nice new journal.
Scratch Off Ticket
People love the idea of winning money! A handful of scratch off tickets for your gift will sure to be a hit. And because you can find scratch off tickets almost anywhere, these make the perfect last minute gift idea.