The Best White Elephant Gift Ideas for 2018
Before we get to our gift ideas, you may be wondering: What is a white elephant gift? If you’re not familiar with this popular holiday ritual, white elephant gift exchanges involve purchasing a relatively inexpensive gift to present anonymously at your holiday get-together, office party, or family gathering. (It's a good idea to establish a set budget when the party invitation goes out!) Each attendee places their wrapped gift in a pile, draws a number, and selects a gift from the pile in that order. The subsequent numbers can either choose a white elephant gift from the unwrapped pile, or "steal" from anyone who has already opened a gift. The game continues until every wrapped gift has been opened. The more unique the gifts, the better—the point is to have a little fun!
Similar to a white elephant gift exchange, a Yankee swap follows the same rules but with one caveat: Gifts are often coveted as items to keep, rather than trade off (aka steal) for something better.
No matter which version of the game you choose for your party, we're here to help you think outside of the box. Here, clever ideas sure to be the most coveted gifts in the game.
ban.do Party On Wine Glasses
It's not a real party without some wine! We're sure everyone will be fighting over this adorable set of stemless wine glasses at your white elephant exchange party.
To buy: $24; bando.com.
Kitchen tools don't have to be boring. What's great about this ladle is that it sits upright in pots thanks to Nessie's feet.
To buy: $13; amazon.com.
Homesick Books Candle
Rose Gold PopSocket
If you haven't seen a PopSocket on the back of someone's phone, you're missing out one of the best phone accessories of 2018. These handy knobs stick directly to your phone or phone case and help you have a better grip while texting or taking photos.
To buy: $13; amazon.com.
Coffee Desk Sign
Stumped on what to bring to a white elephant gift exchange? You can't go wrong with a sign that almost everyone can relate to. It's the perfect desk accessory.
To buy: $5; papersource.com.
So there's not much to this avocado plush besides it being adorable, but if you know someone at your white elephant party is obsessed with avocados, they'll totally go for this.
To buy: $22; amazon.com.
band.do Silicone iPhone Case
Anker Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Turn anywhere you go into a party with this small Bluetooth-powered speaker. This gift comes in three finishes including gold, silver, and pink.
To buy: $16; amazon.com.
Adult Award Ribbons
For those days when completing the most basic tasks seems overwhelming, it’s nice to know there’s a reward for your minimal efforts. Fellow white elephant gift exchange participants will get a kick out of these all-too-relatable ribbons such as “I Put On Pants Today!” and “Adulting Honorable Mention.”
To buy: $28 for four; uncommongoods.com.
Golden Girls Clue Game
Did Rose do it on the lanai? Perhaps Sophia committed the crime in the kitchen? This comical take on the classic game of Clue will appeal to fans of this cult favorite 1980’s sitcom. The punch line? Your white elephant gift recipient will be trying to solve the mystery of who ate the last piece of cheesecake!
To buy: $31; amazon.com.
Pizza Exercise Mat
Show your fellow yogis what you really intend to do once class is finished. If you’re looking for a white elephant gift that’s as useful as it is humorous, this quality, thick exercise mat will have your classmates drooling at the prospect.
To buy: $32; shopbop.com.
Dad Jokes Book
Initial reactions upon unwrapping this book may range from groans to snickers, but the tried-and-true comedy of classic Dad Jokes won’t go unnoticed by anyone at your white elephant gift exchange this year.
To buy: $14; urbanoutfitters.com.
Taco Cat Bed
Forego the traditional cat bed and bring this hilarious taco-shaped version to your white elephant gift exchange instead. This handmade wool bed features a shell shape packed with all the fixins. Party-goers will be fighting over who should take this one home!
To buy: $48; uncommongoods.com.
Hedgehog Sponge Holder
This funny hedgehog sponge holder is an unexpected yet useful white elephant gift idea. Each clay hedgehog is hand-sculpted and painted and will keep people company while they wile away in the kitchen doing the dishes.
To buy: $10; uncommongoods.com.
Bob Ross Bobblehead
For the aspiring painter or nostalgia seeker who wants to take a trip down memory lane, offer this white elephant gift at your next exchange. Whoever receives this present will get a kick out of the uncanny likeness to the real artist. The bobblehead even plays some of Bob’s most well-known sayings and is accompanied by a miniature easel of his signature landscape works.
To buy: $13; urbanoutfitters.com.
Give them a white elephant gift that’s sure to elicit a lot of laughs from their guests (and themselves!). They can simply place this book atop their toilet or vanity with a pen for a variety of behind-the-door revelations, doodles, and details.
To buy: $15; uncommongoods.com.
Brooklyn Pet House
Don’t let your lack of home ownership stop your cat (or small dog) from living the good life. This cardboard pet house features two sides of a typical Brooklyn building, complete with graffiti and a subway entrance flanking its side, for a white elephant gift that’s sure to please the discerning urban dweller.
To buy: $39; uncommongoods.com.
Bear Mop Slippers
Why shuffle around the house when you can also mop? These brightly colored slippers do double duty as they gently dust and refresh floors while your lucky white elephant gift recipient walks from the sofa to the fridge and back again. This great white elephant gift idea will surely appeal to the lax housekeeper in your group.
To buy: $12; amazon.com.
Cat Sushi Keychains
Instead of featuring a different slice of fish on each piece of rice, these petite keychains showcase an array of cats, all wrapped up in seaweed with hilarious accoutrements. Each keychain will vary by order and features different cats dressed up in various getups, including a striped tie, a backpack, and a bamboo placemat.
To buy: $10 each; papersource.com.
Sweater Mug Hugger
These diminutive sweater koozies will earn your recipient’s ho-hum mug the “Best Dressed” title at the office. They're handmade by artisans in Peru, and you can choose from the beige cable knit version or, for the tea-lover in your white elephant gift exchange, the grey version with a pocket for their tea bag.
To buy: $5; uncommongoods.com.
Strawberry frosted? Chocolate glazed? Sprinkled? Whatever their doughnut preference, this cozy adult-sized onesie will suit everyone’s figurative tastes. Perfect for white elephant gift exchanges, this ultra-cozy getup features a hood, half-body zipper, and is machine washable to boot.
To buy: $25; thinkgeek.com.
Bathe & Brew
The friend or family member who receives this prank empty box may find themselves disappointed; the prospect of brewing a pot of coffee while simultaneously showering sounds too good to pass up! Try not to break the news to them too hard. (And maybe add another little trinket to the pile to minimize disappointment!)
To buy: $8; amazon.com.
I Pee in Pools Cap
Let them publicly declare their pool-relieving tendencies—or just make people wonder—with this straightforward cap. This white elephant gift idea would be an especially big hit when worn to a pool party or waterpark and will ensure nobody encroaches on their swimming space.
To buy: $10; amazon.com.
Public Toilet Survival Kit
Don’t let fear of public toilets prevent them from doing their business. This clever yet practical survival kit is a good white elephant gift for just about anyone and includes a pair of disposable gloves, antiseptic wipes, and a toilet seat cover. At this price, you can throw in a roll or two of toilet paper to up the laugh factor.
To buy: $6; amazon.com.
Nail Polish Holder
This silicone nail polish holder will probably elicit some confused looks upon opening, especially if the lucky recipient is a man. This ring slash nail polish holder slash drip catcher will actually come in handy when there is no flat surface around—once they figure out its intended purpose, of course.
To buy: $15; thegrommet.com.