There’s no better way to gather friends together (and get rid of that weird lamp your aunt gave you) than by throwing a white elephant party. Here’s your foolproof, step-by-step guide to hosting the best event ever with lots and lots of 14 Hands wine—because even though the gifts may be tacky, the wine should be good and plentiful.
The rules of a white elephant party are pretty straightforward. Each guest brings a wrapped gift—usually something quirky and fun. All the gifts are placed in a pile, then each person draws a number and, in order, chooses a gift and opens it. After the first person opens a gift, however, each subsequent participant has the option to “steal” an unwrapped gift or pick a new one from the pile. This continues until there are no wrapped gifts left—and everyone has a perfectly tacky gift to call their own.
Though the gift exchange is the main draw of your party, you’ll want to ensure that your shindig hits all the right marks, from the invites to the refreshments. Here’s our guide to hosting the best white elephant party.
The first step to hosting any memorable fête is crafting the perfect invitation. Whether you’re sending out paper invites or creating an event page, be sure your invitation is in line with the spirit of a white elephant party: fun, funky, and casual. Be sure to outline the rules of the gift exchange, including a budget limit for the gift, as well as any requests for potluck dishes or a themed dress code. Don’t forget to emphasize: 1) the tackier the gift, the better, and 2) you’ll provide plenty of delicious wine.
Drape white crepe paper, inflate some white balloons, and string up plenty of brightly hued lights for pops of color. Set up a couple of tables at the outskirts of the party (with a mix of white tablecloths and colorful napkins)—one for refreshments and one for gifts—so it’s clear where everything should go as guests begin to arrive. Want to go all in with the white elephant theme? Set up a white tree strung with multicolored lights and place the gifts under it. With decorations in place, it’s time for the perfect party playlist: Keep the music energetic and fun, with plenty of one-hit wonders from the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Even if you’ve decided on a potluck, be sure to stock your buffet table with a couple of dishes you’ve prepared yourself. Larger items, like a white lasagna or a pizza bianca, should be in line with the theme and provide plenty of sustenance, while more snackable options like cheesy popcorn, chips and dip, and colorful candies are easy to replenish.
As host, it’s your job to make sure there are enough refreshments to go around. Wine, obviously, is top priority. As guests come in, have perfectly chilled cans of 14 Hands Pinot Grigio available. Add a little variety by keeping a few bottles of red on hand as well, such as the 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend a beautifully versatile, fruit-forward option that will pair with any potluck dish. For those who prefer an equally food-friendly white option, pick up 14 Hands Hot to Trot White Blend .
(Take note, partygoers: These bottles and cans also make great host or hostess gifts!)
Create a new holiday tradition (and recycle this year’s decorations!) by hosting a white elephant party again next year. You can look forward to many more years of tacky, raucous gift-giving and wine-fueled fun.