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Best White Elephant Gifts

Updated December 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

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    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best White Elephant gifts

    Last Updated December 2018

    Around the holidays, many offices and friend groups realize it’s too expensive to buy individual gifts for everyone. While some do “Secret Santa” gift exchanges, many others hold “White Elephant” parties instead.

    White elephants, also known as yankee swaps, are when everyone brings a wrapped gift to exchange but the gift is for no one in particular. Instead, everyone draws a number and whoever gets number one starts by opening a gift of their choosing. The next person can either open another gift, or steal a previous person’s gift. This goes on until everyone has a present. Typically, gifts can only be stolen twice in order to keep the game moving.

    White elephants are a great way to give gifts when not everyone knows each other or knows what other participants may like. The ability to steal gifts also makes the exchange more exciting. But choosing the perfect white elephant gift can be difficult – you’ll want to buy something that is both useful but also fun for whoever unwraps it. Even better, you might supply the gift that everyone wants to steal!

    Our go-to rule of thumb for white elephant gifts – don't gift anything that you would be disappointed to receive.

    FAQ

    Q: Should white elephant gifts be funny or serious?

    A: This depends on who is hosting the white elephant and who the participants are. If you’re having a white elephant party with a group of friends, it can often be more fun to get gag gifts that will get the guests laughing. But if it’s an office white elephant, you might want to lean toward something more practical. We think the best gifts are ones that both have a little humor but are also useful.

    Q: How much should a white elephant gift cost?

    A: Again, this should be up to the host. However, most white elephant parties have a price range between $15 to $25. This is a perfect price point for gifts that aren’t cheap quality but won’t break the bank for someone you might not know too well.

    Q: What happens if I get something I don’t like?

    A:
    Unfortunately, when the game ends you’re stuck with the gift you get. But since many people attend more than one gift exchange per holiday season, you can always regift it. We have found that a good rule of thumb for white elephants is to get a gift you would be excited about receiving. If you don’t like the gift you supplied, chances are other people will feel the same.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Heather
      Heather
      Chief Content Officer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director

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