Choosing the best white elephant gift for your inner circle can be a tricky task. Although the premise of the gift exchange game revolves around presenting impractical items that no one will want, it’s becoming increasingly popular to purchase original, quirky, useful gifts that people will vie for instead. Rather than having everyone try to unload your gift in a hurry, you can have loads of fun watching as everyone competes to take your present home.
If you’ve been invited to a white elephant gift exchange this year, you’ll want to make sure that your gift stands out from the crowd. We’ve scouted 15 unique, clever, and hankered-after white elephant gifts that will have participants fighting to take them home, leaving you reigning supreme as the ultimate present-giver. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even come away with something that you really like, too.
What is a white elephant gift?
In case you’ve never heard of this fun party game, you might know it by one of its other names, i.e. Dirty Santa. It originates from a historic King of Siam, who gifted courtiers he was mad at with rare albino elephants that they couldn’t unload and struggled to care for.
Similarly, the basis of the modern game is to give out gifts that you yourself don’t want, and to offload any unwanted gifts you receive by “stealing” a slightly better item from other players, instead.
How to Play White Elephant
Over the years, many different twists have been introduced to this game. Though you can play it however you wish, the official rules of the game are as follows: The game organizer selects a gift theme and a budget for attendees to adhere to, and everyone comes to the party with a wrapped gift.
Upon arrival, players contribute to a pile of gifts, which are placed in the middle of the room with players all around. Numbers are drawn from a hat to set the gift-opening order. The player who goes first can select any gift from the pile to open for all to see. Subsequent players can choose to either steal a previous player’s gift or open another from the pile. Player one, who didn’t get a chance to steal a gift, since they were the first to open one, will close out the round.
If a player has a gift stolen, they can steal from someone else who hasn’t yet been stolen from. If a player chooses not to steal and keeps their gift instead, the game ends for them, and they tap out. The game is finished when there are no more eligible people to steal from, with everyone keeping the gifts they’ve received up to that point.
Best White Elephant Gifts of 2019
Many laughs are in store for you and your friends as you quibble over the picks we’ve chosen— all of which are priced between $5 and $50 — to keep everyone in the circle happy, regardless what they end up with. Keep scrolling for Woman’s World’s picks for the best White Elephant gifts of 2019.
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1. Best White Elephant Gift Worth Stealing — Echo Dot
Best White Elephant Gift to Steal
Where to buy: $24.99 (Originally $49.99), Amazon
The person who opens up the Echo Dot will surely want to hang on to it, but it won’t be long before someone is bound to steal it away. This popular smart speaker, which acts as the home of the famous Amazon assistant Alexa, is your own personal helper in a box. With this device, you can listen to music or the news, check the weather, set alarms, control your home devices, and adjust thermostats, all with a simple voice command.
2. Best Funny White Elephant Gift Idea — New Yorker Caption Card Game
Funniest White Elephant Gift
New Yorker Caption Card Game
Where to buy: $30, UncommonGoods
The wildly popular weekly New Yorker caption contest is now a board game! Allowing its players to become caption writers for the iconic publication, this game ensures many nights of fun are to be had. It's designed for three to six players, one of whom will serve as the judge, anonymously choosing the funniest caption written by the other players. Its box also features the traditional New Yorker logo and design, making it a chic addition to any board game pile.
3. Best White Elephant Gifts for Work Colleagues — MAZFORCE Original Insulated Lunch Bag
Best White Elephant Gifts for Work
MAZFORCE Original Insulated Lunch Bag
Where to buy: $12.99, Amazon
If you’ve been invited to a white elephant party at work, consider gifting your colleagues with this stylish insulated lunch bag. As Amazon’s choice for best lunch box, it has plenty of space for an oversized meal, keeps food fresh for hours, and features a separate beverage compartment. There's even a zip pocket at the front for eating utensils or napkins! This pack is waterproof and comes in an array of 13 colors.
15. Best White Elephant Gift for Kids — iTouch Playzoom Kids Smart Watch with Digital Camera and Video Recorder
Best White Elephant Gift for Kids
iTouch Playzoom Kids Smart Watch
Where to buy: $44.99, Amazon
Children at this party will be clamoring to steal this iTouch Playzoom kids’ smartwatch. Equipped with a digital camera plus video and voice recorders, it can hold up to 50 photos, all of which can be uploaded to a computer via USB. There are educational games with sound and animation to keep them thoroughly entertained, and plenty of standard smartwatch perks, such as an alarm, timer, and calendar. Choose from 20 different designs.
12. Best White Elephant Gift Under $50 — Ventev Wireless Chargepad+
Best White Elephant Gift for Teen
Ventev Wireless Chargepad+
Where to buy: $42.21, Amazon
A white elephant item that's sure to get plenty of use comes in the form of this Ventev wireless charge pad — a next-generation, universal charger that can wirelessly charge your phone and portable devices in a jiff. Perfect for busybodies on-the-go, it will capture the attention of everyone in the group — even your tech-savvy teen.
14. Best White Elephant Gift Under $5 — My Bleeping Family Mad Libs Book
Best White Elephant Gift Under $5
My Bleeping Family Mad Libs Book
Where to buy: $4.99, Walmart
This book is just about the most amount of fun you can have for under $5. My Bleeping Family Mad Libs has 21 original stories of crazy, drama-filled family get-togethers gone wrong, with gaps for players to fill in the blanks that will have everyone rolling in laughter.
4. Best White Elephant Gift Under $10 — Avocado Huggers
Best White Elephant Gift Idea Under $10
Where to buy: $7.95, UncommonGoods
Both easy to wash and dishwasher safe, these avocado huggers make for a cheap and cheerful item to add to the gift pile. This economical pick from UncommonGoods is one of those gifts that you might not necessarily buy for themselves, but once you've got your hands on one, you'll surely make use of it. The form-fitting, silicone cups fit perfectly over avocado halves to keep them fresh — even longer than Saran wrap would. Genius!
5. Best White Elephant Gift Under $15 — Brookstone NAP Throw Blanket Collection
Best White Elephant Gift Idea Under $15
Brookstone NAP Throw Blanket Collection
Where to buy: $14.99 (Originally $34.99), Bed Bath & Beyond
There's no one that won't enjoy cozying up in this Brookstone's NAP throw blanket with sleeves. It's made from a super soft, plush fabric that will keep you warm and cozy on those chilly winter evenings and is machine washable for easy care.
One happy buyer wrote, “Literally my favorite blanket! I have three of them!”
6. Best White Elephant Gift Under $20 — Nevertheless She Persisted Puzzle
Best White Elephant Gift Idea Under $20
Nevertheless She Persisted Puzzle
Where to buy: $18, UncommonGoods
All the women at the party will battle it out over this beautiful Nevertheless She Persisted 1000-piece puzzle, which features 24 of the most powerful and game-changing women in history — think Malala Yousafzai, Amelia Earhart, and the mighty Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
As one excited customer explained in her review, “I knew the second I saw this puzzle that I would have to purchase it for a fun family activity! It was an instant hit from the minute they saw it. Such a fun and well thought-out concept!” We couldn’t agree more!
7. Best White Elephant Gift Under $25 — Tile Mate Tracker
Best White Elephant Gift Idea Under $25
Cast of Stones Stone Set
Where to buy: $20, Bloomingdale’s
SAVE NOW: Get 25 percent off in your cart at checkout through Dec.16.
Healing crystals are all the rage lately, thanks to their holistic and therapeutic properties, and anyone who unwraps this Cast of Stones calming and anti-anxiety crystal set from Bloomingdale’s will secretly be hoping no one steals it away. It features three stones — rose quartz (for love), amazonite (for healing), and blue lace agate (for communication) — and comes with a cute canvas carrying pouch and a little booklet that explains how to use them.
8. Best White Elephant Gift Under $30 — Homedics Stress Release Wellness Kit
Best White Elephant Gift Under $30
HoMedics Stress Release Wellness Kit
Where to buy: $24.99 (Originally $37.99), Macy’s
Another wellness gift that happens to currently be on sale, the HoMedics stress release relaxation kit is a quality pick that's also useful. It includes a mini vibrating massager, a portable oil diffuser with a soothing, color-changing light, a USB cord, and a stress-busting essential oil in a roll-on bottle that you can apply directly to your stress points. This might just be one you’ll want to steal for yourself!
9. Best White Elephant Gift Under $35 — Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Travel Candle
Best White Elephant Gift Under $35
Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Travel Candle
Where to buy: $36, Nordstrom
There won’t be many passing up on this pomegranate-scented Jo Malone candle, what with its delightful tones of raspberry, plum, pink pepper, Casablanca lily, and spicy woods. It’s designed to simultaneously uplift your spirits and help you wind down, and has 18 hours of burn time.
10. Best White Elephant Gift Under $40 — Cuisinart Electric Fondue Maker
Best White Elephant Gift Ideas Under $40
Cuisinart Electric Fondue Maker
Where to buy: $37.99, Amazon
This Cuisinart electric fondue maker will cement your place at every white elephant party for the foreseeable future. After all, fondue sets are always a hit at get-togethers: What’s not to love about dipping delicious food into cheese or chocolate? This one's main three-quart stainless steel bowl comes with eight fondue forks, a fork rack, and a removable adjustable temperature control. To use it, simply plug it in!
11. Best White Elephant Gift Under $45 — Cathy's Concepts Live Love Cheese Board & Utensil Set
Best White Elephant Gift Under $45
Cathy's Concepts Live Love Cheese Board & Utensil Set
Where to buy: $41.29 (Originally $58), Nordstrom
This Live Love cheese board and utensil set from Cathy's Concepts will really make an impression with those who appreciate the finer things in life. Crafted with an engraved slate center and an acacia wood border, this board swivels and opens up to reveal a case of four cheese utensils. It comes with a knife, a shaver, a fork, and a spreader, making for the perfect addition to a dinner or buffet table.
13. Best White Elephant Gift $50 — Karaoke Microphone Speaker
Best $50 White Elephant Gift
Karaoke Microphone Speaker
Where to buy: $50, UncommonGoods
We’re willing to bet that whoever ends up with this karaoke microphone speaker will be putting it to good use immediately after your game of white elephant ends. It comes in black or an extravagant gold and syncs up to your phone via an app, enabling you and your friends to sing all your favorite songs without leaving the house. One of the most fun gifts on this list, we’re secretly hoping someone brings this along to our office party.