9 White Elephant Gifts They'll All Fight Over

Don't be the guest at the white elephant party that brings the gift no one wants. Check out these nine gift under $30 that will be subject to multiple steals at the gift exchange this Christmas.

White elephant, Yankee swap, Dirty Santa — whatever the name, you know the drill. Everyone brings a gift and draws a number. Each guest selects a gift in order of their number. Subsequent gift pickers can opt to steal already opened gifts.

White elephant parties can be a great way to exchange gifts with a crowd, but they're only fun if you end up with the right mix of gifts that encourage some friendly competition. Lucky for you, I am quite the white elephant veteran. I've been mentored by some wise white elephant-ers. I've had some successes; made some mistakes. Lessons have been learned, and I'm here to share with you some ideas that will ensure that your contribution to the pool is a worthy one. We won't judge you if you choose to steal your own gift for yourself.

Under $10

Photo by: Paper Source

Paper Source

True story: during an office white elephant party many years ago, early in the game a coworker unwrapped a small reindeer dressed in a nightgown which rocked back and forth in the rocking chair it was sitting in while singing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." There were several (possibly booze-fueled) arguments as grandma reindeer was stolen back and forth. 

While I'm still a little baffled by that one, I do love some kitchy-yet-functional tchotchkes. I particularly love this reindeer that poops jelly beans. Who doesn't love jelly beans? I showed this to a friend, and he said he would steal this gift, "Because I am 7 (years old)." He's not 7, so take that for what it's worth. 

Photo by: Amazon


The adult coloring craze is here, and it's real. It's the non-crafty person's way to be creative and relieve stress. I know from personal experience that a Ryan Gosling coloring book will get stolen multiple times during a book club white elephant party. Hey girl, hey: don't get too attached if you're the first one to open it.

Photo by: Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's

This suggestion isn't totally fair if you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, though there are lesser imitations by other grocers. If you've tasted TJ's Cookie Butter, then you KNOW what I'm talking about. Cookie butter is basically crushed-up cookies in cream form. Nut-free. Vegan. Shelf-stable. Include a fancy spoon in the gift bag and know that the jar may not survive the steals that will be threatened.

Under $20

Photo by: Toms


In this age of smartphones and smart watches, a blank journal almost feels quaint. I think that's the beauty of a journal and the reason we all secretly covet one. There's something satisfying about writing things down, whether it's our hope and dreams or our grocery list. I love this plaid journal because it's on-trend, it's seasonal and it's a little masculine, too.

Photo by: ThinkGeek


Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens premieres Dec. 18. Do you have your tickets yet? For your design-conscious friends who will be joining you at the theater, a lightsaber flatware set featuring a Luke fork, Yoda spoon and Vader knife will be quite the white elephant draw. You'll know the force is strong with whomever ends up with this gift.

Photo by: Small Town Brewery

Small Town Brewery

I also happen to know from experience that booze is a popular gift during white elephant exchanges. Sometimes the bottle is drained before the exchange even ends, especially if the party is going poorly. Wine, beer, mini liquor bottles — doesn't matter. My current preference is boozy root beer, which is starting to pop up in every specialty beer store and grocery. Perfect for boozy root beer floats or just straight up.

Under $30

Photo by: Target


You're an #HGTVandChill expert, but are your friends in the loop? No #HGTVandChill session is complete without a cozy throw to cuddle under, so make sure your friends are properly equipped by offering a fleece-lined, sherpa-style blanket. Pair with the aforementioned booze and they'll be well on their way to #HGTVandChill bliss.

Photo by: Brit and Co.

Brit and Co.

Another true story: I showed up for my first appearance at a book club white elephant with a set of fuzzy handcuffs. I thought it was hilarious, but apparently it was not. It was a Christmas miracle that I was invited to return to the club in January. 

The lesson here? Know your audience. If your party is going to be attended by some classy folks, consider these elegant tumbler glasses festooned with gold confetti polka dots. They will make anyone's beverage of choice much more fashionable. Plus, since they come as a pair the recipient will be obliged to pour you a beverage too.

Photo by: ThinkGeek


Back to the Future Day has come and gone. Do you know some people who need to go back in time and do it up correctly? Now they can with their very own Flux Capacitor! This particular one plugs into the 12-volt power adaptor in your vehicle and includes a pair of USB charging ports so that your friend's phone will have plenty of juice to phone home from 1955.

64 Crafty Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas

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No-Knit Monogrammed Mittens

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Make This Rustic Bread Board

Craft a Handy Firewood Carrier

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Wow Wine Lovers

  1. pallet

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Trendy Rhinestone Headband

©Brklyn View Photography

Cookbook or Tablet Stand

Whip Up These Tasty Dog Treats

Craft a Custom Tray

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Practice Your Cursive

Photo By: Chelsea Faulkner

Personalize Your Pup's Bed

Make This Classic Board Game

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Don't Forget Your Furry Friend

Make a Custom Cutting Board

Easily Craft a Pretty Trinket Box

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Homemade Lavender Bath Fizzies

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Monogrammed Doormat

Delight Your Favorite Foodie

Custom Smart Phone or Tablet Covers

Monogrammed Serving Tray

Make the Container Part of the Gift

Upcycle Old Sweaters Into a Stocking

Cozy Up Their Cocoa or Coffee

Upcycle a Frame Into a Cute Tray

Photo By: Lara Robby/Studio D

Handmade Woodland Necklace

Make a Pet Feeding Station

Kids' Craft: Birdseed Ornaments

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Rolling Storage Crate

Colorful Stocking Stuffers

Spread Holiday Cheer With a Wine Elf

Craft a Cute Canister

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Playful Preserve Their Memories

Photo By: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Tasty Dog Treats

Make a Cat Spinner Wand

Superhero Cape

Recycled Sweater Scarf

Kids' Craft: Ruffled Rose Headband

Make It Easy for Them to Stash Their Stuff

Stitch Up a Custom Pet Collar

Whip Up an Easy-to-Sew Tote Bag

Craft a Fashion-Forward Keychain

Photo By: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Make Mobile Toy Crates

Easy-to-Create Bottle Cap Necklace

Keep Their Gadgets Cozy

Make This Upcycled Jewelry Box

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Kicky Wallpaper-Lined Trays

Photo By: Mary Britton Senseney

Easy Kids' Play Kitchen

Felted Sweater Vases and Candleholders

Easy-to-Create Dog Stocking

Kids' Adventure-Ready Backpack

Capture Their Silhouette

Turn an Old Drawer Into a Chic Jewelry Organizer

Photo By: Before: Alison Gootee/Studio D, After: Lara Robby/Studio D

Homemade S'mores Kit

Monogrammed Men's Leather Valet

Kids' Craft: Make an Outdoorsy Frame for Dad

Create Custom Coasters or Trivets

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Philip Friedman/Studio D

Found Object Bottle Stoppers

Potted Bulbs

Cozy Felt Slippers

Photo By: DK - A Greener Christmas © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Rough-and-Tumble Bar Set

Leather Christmas Stockings

Willow Wigwam Garden Support

Photo By: DK - A Greener Christmas © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Seed-Starting Kit

Faux Leather-Lined Tray

Photo By: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

Embellished Hair Combs

Glossy Lip Balm

Photo By: DK - A Greener Christmas © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Geek-Chic Belt Buckle

Text Speak Accessories

Coffee Bag Gift Tote

Canvas Photo Art

Decoupage Tin

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