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White Elephant

Popular holiday gift exchange game

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Great Way to Save Money for Family and Friends During Christmas & the Holidays!

  • Dec 3, 2009
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During the recession and as families grow, it's hard to shed out $20-$40 for a gift for each member in your family.  I think the smartest way to save money is through the White Elephant Gift Exchange.  A group of my friends and my 8 siblings have been participating in this game for the last 5 years. 

Everyone that participates in the game, goes home with a present.  And I only had to spend $20 for a gift rather than hundreds of dollars. It's very entertaining and an ice-breaker for the conservative family and friends. It brings people together and everyone can have a good laugh when there's an interesting and humerous gift that you open up.  Some of the past gifts that I received was the ShamWow (it's great for cleaning up spills and it's suppose to hold 12x it's weight in liquid).  I also received a sterling silver decorative picture frame, gift certificates for Panera Bread, DVD movies, and a fondue set.  You can be as creative as you want with the gift you purchase. 

Here's the rules of the game!

1. Designate the price of the gift, we usually set the amount at $20.
2. The gift must be unisex and wrapped.
3.  If you choose to purchase a gift card, it must be attached to another item, i.e cereal box, you can be as creative as you want. 
4.  All the participants then draw a number.
5. The participate with the lowest number (usually #1), selects a gift, and unwrap it for everyone to see.
6. Each successive participant can either "steal" an open gift, or choose a wrapped gift from the pile.
7. A gift can be stolen up to a max of 3 times.

You can find more information and rules of the game at the Wikipedia link posted.

I really enjoy this game, and the holidays becomes more of sharing and enjoying each others company.  Times are tough during this recession and not everyone can purchase extravagant gifts. The White Elephant Gift Exchange is a great alternative and gives friends and families something to look forward to each holiday. 
Great Way to Save Money for Family and Friends During Christmas & the Holidays! Great Way to Save Money for Family and Friends During Christmas & the Holidays! Great Way to Save Money for Family and Friends During Christmas & the Holidays! Great Way to Save Money for Family and Friends During Christmas & the Holidays!

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November 17, 2011
My family is huge so we've been doing white elephant for gifts for a long time. It's the best way to save money over the holidaze! Great review :)
December 05, 2009
Looks awesome! Especially because their logo is so darn cute.
December 03, 2009
Theresa you get another home run again! It is nice for something like this. Christmas should be all about the thought and togetherness. Don't need to spend loads of $$ to enjoy the spirit of the season...
December 04, 2009
Thanks Woopak! I'm actually attending a White Elephant this weekend and will mention Lunch.com to all my friends. I'm surprise to find so much useful and interesting topics in one website!
December 03, 2009
Wow, I have never heard of this before, but it sounds like fun!  Is this mostly a traditional Christmas shindig, or does it happen year round?
December 03, 2009
In the U.S. it's mainly during the holidays, but I guess you can do it worldwide, if you have any major gift exchanging event!
About the reviewer
Theresa Nguyen ()
Ranked #431
Ihave another year before Iturn the BIG 30, so I wanted to absorb the last few moments and months of my twenties. The last decent has been an incredible experience for me. Ihad the first of many experiences. … more
About this topic


A white elephant gift exchange is a popular holiday party game in the United States, with many variations in name and game play. Generally, white elephant parties need a minimum of six participants, although the larger the group, the more entertaining and protracted game play will be. White elephant parties can result in vicious rivalries between players trying to get sought after gifts. The goal of a white elephant party is usually entertainment rather than gain.

Gifts are wrapped, but are not labeled to reflect a specific sender or recipient. Gifts are typically inexpensive, humorous items, or used items from home; the term white elephant refers to a gift whose maintenance cost exceeds its usefulness. While the first use of this term remains an item of contention among historians, a popular theory suggests that Ezra Cornell brought the term into popular lexicon through his numerous and frequent social gatherings, dating back to as early as 1828.

All participants draw a number (from a hat, perhaps) to determine their order. An alternative to the drawing is to sit in a circle and take turns in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.

The participant with #1 unwraps any gift from the pile and then shows it to everyone. Each successive participant, in the order determined from the drawing, or in clockwise or counterclockwise order, can either 1) "steal" an already opened gift (if there's one they really like) or 2) be adventurous and go for a wrapped gift ...
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Christmas, Holidays, Presents, Save Money, Ideas, White Elephant, Gift Items


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