Claire Harmeyer
November 21, 2019 1:32 pm
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‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, and we always have mixed feelings about this task. Finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones is exciting, but it can also be stressful, which is why we love when a group opts for the simpler, lighthearted gift-giving option: white elephant gifts.

Uh, what exactly is a white elephant gift exchange?

For those who haven’t participated in a round of the white elephant gift exchange, here’s how it works: Everyone participating comes with one gift in hand. These can be funny (whoopie cushion, a jar of pigs’ feet), useful (fuzzy socks, candles, lotion), or a mix between the two (meme wine labels, Cards Against Humanity). All of these have made appearances in my family’s white elephant gift exchanges—seriously, no joke about the pigs’ feet.

Next, everyone draws numbers, and the game begins! The first person picks a random gift, and the second person can either steal that gift or choose their own. This continues until all of the gifts have been opened, and then the person who drew number one gets to pick among them all. It makes for an exciting, inexpensive, and (usually) laughable gift exchange. (And okay, sometimes it’s a little mean, so play with people who find the fun.)


Okay, so how do I choose a white elephant gift?

Whether you’re playing at your office party or your first Christmas with your SO’s family, white elephant gifts just make things more fun. Plus, it means you don’t have to buy a gift for literally everyone.

However, the options are truly endless when it comes to white elephant gifts, and ideally, you need to choose a gift that would be well-received by many different types of people participating. To help you win the “best white elephant gift” award this year (not that it’s a competition, but we are competitive), we narrowed down our 23 favorite gifts for you to choose from. Check out our picks below.

1Sipski Shower Wine Glass Holder

Urban Outfitters

Shop it! $16 (orig. $18),

Fancy a glass of wine while you’re getting ready for a party, but you’re on a time crunch? Not to worry—this shower wine glass holder is here to save the day (and get you buzzed before you have to go make small talk at your SO’s holiday party). Urban Outfitters also sells a beer option, if your crowd leans more toward beer people.

2Karaoke Microphone

Urban Outfitters

Shop it! $30,

This white elephant gift allows the lucky recipient to sing karaoke wherever, whenever. What could be better than that?

3The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small

Urban Outfitters

Shop it! $35,

We love this white elephant gift idea because it’s giving the gift of experiences. Hopefully, the recipient will actually try to cross these adventures off of their lists and think of you whenever they do.

4NPW Drinking Buddies 12-Count


Shop it! $15.99,

Hanging these flexing drinking buddies on your wine or cocktail glass is always a conversation starter at parties—and also an easy way to not mix up your drinks.

5Stranger Things Holiday Socks


Shop it! $12,

At a quick glance, these might seem like normal socks decorated in Christmas lights, but any Stranger Things fan will instantly recognize the iconic font written by Joyce Byers herself.

6Stranger Things Eleven Resin Christmas Ornament


Shop it! $9,

Speaking of Stranger Things, this Eleven ornament is incredible. I mean, Target nailed it down to the very last detail, including the bloody nose.

7Heated Mouse Pad

Urban Outfitters

Shop it! $19.95,

Do you always complain about how cold it is in the office? People will be fighting over this heated mouse pad.

8Cooluli Mini Beauty Refrigerator

Urban Outfitters

Shop it! $59.95,

How freaking cute is this mini-fridge stocked with beauty products? Your beauty-obsessed friends or relatives will love this gift. Stock it with a few of your go-to beauty products, if you want to go all out with this white elephant gift.

9Cell Phone Jail

Urban Outfitters

Shop it! $9.95,

This clever cell phone “jail” is handy for chill nights in when you want your friends, family, or SO to stop staring at their phone and look at you instead! Just lock their phone inside this jail—that’ll teach them to stop scrolling Twitter when you’re talking to them.

10Silver Buffalo Friends Central Perk Logo Ceramic Mug


Shop it! $19.99,

Name one person you know who wouldn’t love to receive this mug. We’re betting you couldn’t—any Friends-themed gifts are sure winners in our book.

11Espresso Patronum Starbucks Themed Mug


Shop it! $19.99,

A Starbucks and Harry Potter-themed gift? It’s our dream come true. We’ll never be able to say “expecto patronum” normally again, btw.

12Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle Shirt


Shop it! $19.12,

Harry Potter fans will love this adorable Hogwarts T-shirt that comes in five colors.

13Holiday Wine Label Collection, 6 Pack


Shop it! $9.40,

These punny Christmas-themed wine labels are sure to get a chuckle out of everyone at the party. Pair the labels with a few bottles of wine and this gift is sure to get stolen a few times.

14Friends The One with the Ball Game


Shop it! $14,99,

Toss the iconic ball from “The One with the Ball” episode of Friends while you try to win a trivia game inspired by the show.

15Elago Leather AirPods Case


Shop it! $20,

While it’s unlikely that everyone participating in your white elephant exchange owns AirPods, it’s 100% likely that at least one person will, and they’ll want to steal this gift. With this keychain case, they’ll never lose their precious pods again.

17Photo Gallery Playing Cards


Shop it! $10,

Customize some playing cards to include a funny photo of someone the whole gang knows—if you’re exchanging at home, choose a favorite family photo, or if you’re playing at the office, put a close-up of your boss’s face on them (but only if they’re the type of boss that would find that funny).

18Chronicle Books Cat Tarot Cards


Shop it! $20,

Give the gift of predicting someone’s future—accompanied by cute cat illustrations.

19White Elephant Candle


Shop it! $20,

The candle label says it all.

20Animalia Passport Holder


Shop it! $28,

For the travel-obsessed friend, this chic cheetah print passport holder will be a new favorite travel accessory.

21Votes for Women Puzzle

Uncommon Goods

Shop it! $22,

This 500-piece puzzle showcases the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, so the winner of this gift can salute all of the badass women who got us to where we are today by piecing them together in one big circle of celebration.

22Sea Star Set of 2 White Ceramic Succulent Planter Pots


Shop it! $8.88,

Go the literal route with these white elephant succulent holders. They’re sure to get a laugh. Plus, they’re actually super cute!

23Hand Stamped Brass Keychain


Shop it! $9.99,

We’re not gonna lie, there have definitely been times when we wish we could have flashed this at a police officer about to pull us over so that he’d let our speeding slide.

Happy white elephant gifting!