How to Choose a White Elephant Gift
How to Find a White Elephant Gift
What you choose to bring to your white elephant exchange will depend a lot on the rules your group has decided on and the people you’ll be exchanging with. You may have strict budgets on gifts you can buy or be restricted to homemade gifts or things you already have around the house. In general you want to bring a gift that is either entertaining to the group or valuable in some way. To keep things interesting choose a gift that you think will be actively swapped or stolen, either because it’s something everyone wants or it’s the dud everyone tries to dump on someone else.
Funny Gifts: Everyone loves to laugh. Funny gifts and gags are always a big hit and make some of the best stories. There’s a huge range of things to choose from online at all prices. Funny gifts keep the game light-hearted
Weird Gifts: Things that make you wonder why they exist. People are fascinated by the absurd. It can be good to show up with something that no one has ever seen or would think to ever want like a fish training kit.
Useful Gifts: Things that people actually want or need always do well. If you bring something valuable or useful it’s sure to be stolen repeatedly, which creates a fun roller coaster of excitement and disappointment for each person that owns it for a moment.
If your party has agreed to a spending limit, don’t be the person that overspends to bring the best gift. Obviously you have some wiggle room, you may have gotten a great deal on a typical more expensive item, but be mindful of the group’s guidelines when selecting your gift.
Be sure to think about your audience. A gift that may be a big hit at an office IT party may not go over well at the church gift exchange. Choose something that relates to the common ground in the group. A gift that is perfect for the foodies at a restaurant staff party may not resonate with the team at the corrugated cardboard plant.
Where to Look
Thrift stores are great places to find white elephant gifts that are truly unique. Other places worth checking are pawn shops, antique stores, flea markets and winter garage sales. If you have a family member or friend who is a collector they may have the perfect thing in an attic. You may get lucky and find something on eBay, Etsy, or Craigslist.
Lottery tickets are always a good choice and will definitely be swapped many times. Same goes for gift cards. As Seen on TV items also make good gifts that people love to steal. Alcohol of any kind is usually a winner depending on your group. If your party is at the office you have something of value like a parking space you could offer for a few weeks. You could print a handmade coupon for a free lunch or other favor. While it may be the least creative gift you could bring, no one will argue with the gift of cash.