May 30, 2024
If you want to learn how to play White Elephant, this article is for you. From explaining the rules and gift ideas to hosting tips and variations, you'll have everything you need to host a successful gift exchange that will make your friends and family laugh and create memories.

I. Introduction

White Elephant is a popular gift exchange game that is perfect for any occasion, including Christmas parties, office events, and birthdays. If you’re new to this game, you’ll find that it’s a fun way to exchange gifts with friends and family while adding some humor and competitiveness into the mix. In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to play White Elephant, unique gift ideas, etiquette rules, and variations that will make your next gift exchange a success.

II. White Elephant for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide

To play White Elephant, participants bring a wrapped gift and place it in a designated area. The game consists of rounds where players take turns selecting a gift to open or “steal” from another player. The game ends when all gifts are opened and stolen, and players can either keep or trade their final gift.

The number of players and types of gifts vary based on the event’s size and purpose. It’s generally recommended to have at least six players to keep the game exciting.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to play White Elephant:

  1. Set a budget (e.g., $20) for participants to follow.
  2. Have all participants bring a wrapped gift and place them in a designated area.
  3. Determine who will go first (i.e., drawing numbers from a hat).
  4. The first player selects a gift from the pile and opens it.
  5. The following player can either “steal” the item opened by the previous player or select an unopened gift from the pile. If a gift is stolen, the player who lost it can either “steal” another player’s gift or open a new gift from the pile.
  6. Continue playing until all gifts are opened and stolen at least once.
  7. The final player can either keep their gift or trade with any other player.

III. 10 Unique White Elephant Gift Ideas to Up Your Game

Choosing the right gift can add some excitement and unpredictability to White Elephant games. Here are ten unique ideas:

  1. Electric wine bottle opener
  2. Inflatable unicorn horn for cats
  3. Adult coloring book and markers
  4. Mini indoor garden kit
  5. Portable karaoke microphone
  6. Funny coffee mug
  7. Banana slicer
  8. Pizza blanket
  9. Giant gummy bear
  10. Mini popcorn maker

These gift ideas are sure to add humor or a competitive twist to your White Elephant game.

IV. How to Host a Successful White Elephant Gift Exchange

Hosting a White Elephant party requires some planning to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Here are some tips for hosting a successful event:

A. Preparing for the event- location, time, and guest list

Choose a location that can accommodate the number of guests that you’re planning to invite. If your group is relatively small, your home may suffice. Don’t forget to set a date and time that works for everyone.

B. Set a clear budget and any additional rules

Set a clear budget for participants to follow and any additional rules that you may have. For instance, you may want to establish a “no gag gifts” rule or decide if homemade gifts or regifting are allowed.

C. How to mix and match participants for the gift exchange

One way to mix and match participants is to have each player draw a number out of a hat. The lowest number goes first, and the game goes in numerical order. Another way is to use a dice roll, where the player who rolls the highest number goes first.

D. Bonus tips for making the event more enjoyable

Provide some snacks and drinks to keep your guests energized throughout the game. Also, consider having some fun icebreaker games or activities to set the mood and get everyone in a good mood.

V. White Elephant Etiquette: Rules and Do’s & Don’ts

White Elephant games incorporate some rules and etiquette to ensure that everyone has a good time while playing. Here are some suggested rules:

A. Setting rules for stealing gifts and trading

  • Participants cannot “steal” back a gift that was stolen from them in the same round.
  • Once a gift has been stolen for the third time, it remains with the final player.
  • If a gift gets stolen from a player in the middle of the round, the player can either select another gift or steal one from another player who hasn’t opened yet.
  • You can establish rules around whether players can communicate about what’s inside the wrapped gifts. In some variations, players can only guess what might be inside a gift based on its size and shape.

B. Explaining the do’s and don’ts of white elephant gift exchanges

  • Do’s: Choose a gift that is appropriate for all ages and genders, follow the budget rules, and have a good time.
  • Don’ts: Don’t be a party pooper, don’t bring an inappropriate gift, and don’t steal a gift that someone is very attached to.

VI. Funny White Elephant Prizes to Steal and Swap

Funny gifts can add some extra spice to a White Elephant game. Here are some funny ideas:

  1. Bob Ross Chia Pet
  2. Desktop punching bag
  3. Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man
  4. Funny socks
  5. Bubble wrap suit
  6. Grumpy Cat plush
  7. Farting animal coloring book
  8. Donald Trump toilet paper
  9. Portable pizza pouch
  10. Blinking last place trophy

These gifts will surely make your guests laugh out loud and add some fun to the game.

VII. 10 White Elephant Variations to Keep the Game Interesting

If you’re looking to put a twist on the traditional White Elephant game, consider the following variations:

  1. Blindfolded gift selection – Players must select a gift without seeing or touching it.
  2. Pick a number and steal – Players select a gift in numerical order and can only steal from the person who played before them.
  3. Pass the present – Players can only pass a present left or right.
  4. Specify the theme – Establish a theme for the gifts (e.g., kitchen gadgets or outdoor gear).
  5. Gag gift exchange – Host a gag gift exchange where everyone brings a silly or ridiculous gift.
  6. Charity gift exchange – Instead of exchanging gifts, participants can donate to a charity of the host’s choice.
  7. Sneaky Santa – This variation allows each player to steal up to three gifts from other players.
  8. Switch Steal Unwrap – In this version, players choose to either “switch,” “steal,” or “unwrap” a gift chosen by another player.
  9. Decorated paper – Gifts should be wrapped in home-decorated wrapping paper (e.g., newsprint or wallpaper).
  10. Themed decoration – Players get a specific subject they have to tie the gift to, such as animals, photos of things or places they like, or any other theme.

A variation can often put a fresh spin on a game that your guests have played before.

VIII. Conclusion

Playing White Elephant is an entertaining way to exchange gifts while creating memories with family and friends. Whether you’re hosting the event or participating as a guest, the guidelines provided in this article should help you navigate the game. Don’t forget to set a budget, choose unique gifts, and establish rules and etiquette that will make the game enjoyable for everyone involved. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be sure to host a successful White Elephant game in no time.

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