5 Tips for Your White Elephant Party
1. Know Your Crowd
White elephant parties aren’t for the faint of heart. Mix your conservative grandma with your least conservative friend and things can go awry. So, if possible, you’ll want to invite people with similar personalities.
2. Send an Invitation
If you wait til the last minute to decide to have a white elephant party you’ll likely get the typical gifts from your guests. Toilet paper, a can of beans, and an old pair of shoes might have been funny back in the 90’s, but it gets boring after a while. If you give your guests time, they’ll likely come up with more creative gifts.
3. Get Creative
I don’t mean with your gift, I mean with your party. Opening white elephant gifts is fun but doesn’t usually take more than a half an hour. We typically like to play fun party games, have an ugly sweater party contest, or have everyone bring their favorite dessert. If you need some ideas, I’ll give you a list of my favorite white elephant party board games below.
4. Price Limits on Gifts and Expectations
If you’re inviting couples, does each person need to bring a gift? What about price limits? Also, if everyone brings two gifts, does one need to be useful while the other one is the white elephant gift? How about homemade white elephant gifts? If guests know the answer to these questions beforehand, it’ll improve the experience overall.
There’s nothing that goes better with inappropriate talk and behavior like some good food. Have everyone bring their favorite.
White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules
A white elephant gift exchange, called Yankee Swap by some, has rules that are different for just about everyone. The basic premise is the same. Everyone brings a gag gift and exchanges it. Ultimately, you can do it however you like, but here are some basic guidelines to go by.
- Place all the gifts in the center of the floor.
- Decide who goes first. This can be done in a number of ways: closest birthday, name out of a hat, best costume, or whatever you want.
- Go around the circle clockwise opening gifts. After the first person goes the next can decide to steal a gift or open a new one. (We sometimes make everyone open a new gift the first round so that the wimps can’t just skip their turn.)
- Go around the circle at least one more time, allowing your guests to steal gifts from each other. Once a gift has been stolen twice it’s “locked” and can’t get stolen again.
The gift exchange can go pretty fast without some additional rules. Here are some we’ve used before to stretch it out a bit.
- In order to steal (or open) a gift, you need to roll dice until you get doubles.
- Anything wearable needs to be worn by the opener.
10 Good and Funny White Elephant Gift Ideas for Christmas 2017
Here are a few great white elephant gift ideas that are all under $25. If spending money isn’t your thing, I’ve also listed some good homemade white elephant gift ideas below.
A Mullet Headband
If you’re not part of the mullet trend, you’re just in the way. Better yet, now you can be part of the trend and simply remove it when you need to part of a serious conversation.
There are lots of mullet headbands out there including but not limited to: the Bobcat, the Widowmaker, the Weekender, and the Tailgater. Still, the one I’d go with is the Bobcat, as it’s built just a bit better than the other options out there. It comes in blonde, brown, or black hair so no one will even notice it’s there.
We’ve made a few of these in the past by printing out photos, laminating them, and then binding them together. I guess someone decided to take the idea to the next level. Here are two pretty funny options. Keep in mind that whatever you go with, you’ll have to look at it all year round.
You can go with the awkward family photos that never should have been taken or the 365 days of the People of Walmart. As you can see in the images above, either one is a classy choice.
In the last few years, I’ve seen several items from Accoutrements, the company behind the Handerpants, at our white elephant party. One I’m excited about this year is the Handicorn, which allows your hand to look like a majestic unicorn. Ever dreamed of being a unicorn? Now you can be one, or sort of, or at least your hand can be. Accountrements also makes a handitaur, handihorse, finger hands, and other funny options to put on your hands. These are always a hit.
On a more serious note, my wife and I could have used a pair of these at Disneyland with our middle child this past year. Accidents are no joke, but now you can make them into one!
A Funny Book
“Crafting With Cat Hair” is a real passion for many owners out there. This book shows you how to transform those clumps you find around your house into amazing works of art. You can create everything from a tote bag to a picture frame using the leftover crafting material from your cat. You could also pair this book with the book “Knitting with Dog Hair”. As that book says, it’s “better a sweater from a dog you know and love than from a sheep you’ll never meet”. Truer words were never spoken, kind of.
Portable Pizza Pouch
Horse Head Mask
Horse hooves can be added to your hands to make the illusion feel even more real.
Don’t want to be a horse? No problem! This is also available in a squirrel, pigeon, pug, magical unicorn, chicken, bald eagle, and other designs.
A Funny T-Shirt
Another good option for your white elephant gift is a funny t-shirt. Although there are unlimited options I could show you here, the one that we chose to feature on this article is the “World’s Okayest Brother”, which we just thought was okay or kind-of funny. Other good options like Vladimir Puting and Donald Trump riding a pig can be found on this page.
A Homemade White Elephant Gift Idea
Didn’t like any of the ideas we had above? Make a homemade white elephant gift. One fairly easy one we’ve done in the past is a shave with me Barbie.
Shave With Me Barbie Instructions:
- Get a cheap Barbie from the dollar store.
- Cut off a bit of the back of her hair.
- Take the cut hair and glue it to all the unsightly places you can think of.
- Put the Barbie back in the plastic case.
- Add a Razor and a sign.
Voila! You’ve got the funniest gift of the entire party for less than $2.
5 Good White Elephant Party Board Games
What’s a good white elephant party without some good and funny party board games? Here are a few that have worked great for us in the past.
Cards Against Humanity
Admittedly this card game is going to be completely inappropriate for many people. It does advertise itself as “a party game for horrible people” so be aware of that if you decide to get it. Still, it’s the number one board game right now, so there must be a lot of horrible people.
The rules are as simple as a game like Apples to Apples. Someone picks a black card and the other players answer with their funniest white card. Again, for the sensitive out there, I’m warning you now that this game can be inappropriate, racist, and overly sexual at the same time. So, if that’s not you or your group of friends, try out one of the other options below.
I’ve never seen my Dad laugh as hard as when he plays this game. He’s a terrible artist, but that’s what makes it so fun. If you’ve never played Telestrations before it’s basically like the drawing version of the classic Telephone Game.
I’ve played this in a group with kids and a group of adults and have always had a good time.
Boxers or Briefs
If you’ve ever played Apples to Apples, then you know the basic rules of Boxers or Briefs. You have a set of cards in your hand and you’re trying to convince one of the players that your card is either the funniest or the truest answer.
Fortunately for your white elephant party, Boxers or Briefs is a bit more inappropriate than Apples to Apples. That being said I’ve played this with my parents and my kids, and it’s not so inappropriate that someone will get offended.
This is one of those games that everyone has to be excited about in order to be fun. I’ve had a couple laugh so hard you cry kind of moments playing it as well as a couple boring games.
One person each round is “the customer”. This is basically the buyer that you’re trying to sell to. Depending on what the customer draws you, the “inventor”, might be selling to one of many types of people including a caveman, nurse, ninja etc…
At this point the inventors take two cards from their hand, put them together, and the invent something that they think the customer will want the most. When it gets really funny is when people are willing to act out the part and really work with it. Imagine selling a lightning bra to a ninja and you can see what I mean.
Saran Wrap Ball Game
We’ve also done a more homemade game with this saran wrap ball. Place some gifts inside and saran wrap them as you see in the picture.
To play, start by having someone roll dice until they get doubles. Using their hands only they have to unwrap the ball without tearing the Saran Wrap. As soon as someone else gets doubles the ball gets passed to them. Guests keep what they unwrap.
To make it more difficult we’ve also had the guests wear gloves!
Your white elephant party can be the best of the year if you make it that way! What are some gifts you’re giving out this year? We’d love to know. Let us know below.