White Elephant Gift Exchanges

Photo of elephants courtesy of Morguefile.com
Laguna Woods, California
November 28, 2017 11:39pm CST
In case you are not aware of them, White Elephant Gift Exchanges are very popular in the United States. You bring a wrapped, surprise gift to a party. It can be something you bought, or something you already own. It can be a funny gift, or a nice one. People then take turns selecting a gift to open. At many of the parties, people can also "steal" a gift from someone else, if they like one they see. There are many different rules for playing the game. White Elephant Gift Exchanges can be a lot of fun. My favorite gifts to buy for the exchanges are crystal vases, bowls, or candy dishes. I don't buy them new, however! Instead, I go to a shop in our area that sells things from estate auctions. I buy the items for a fraction of their original price. My friends are usually delighted and surprised to get a beautiful crystal vase or bowl, rather than some silly joke gift. Often I can find items with expensive brand names etched onto the bottom. I enjoy giving people something they can actually use, and I can easily stay within any price limit which has been recommended for the exchange. Today I purchased four lovely items ... a beautiful crystal vase for $6, a round crystal candle holder for $5, a small crystal bud vase for $3 and a crystal candy dish for $2. It is hard to find party gifts which are any cheaper than that!
14 people like this
13 responses
• Eugene, Oregon
29 Nov
Most of the ones I have been to were office parties and the gifts were very "funny." ,"
4 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@JamesHxstatic - Yes, the office exchanges I went to in the past were usually funny. My book club and other organizations prefer we exchange things that people might actually want. I like that better.
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
30 Nov
@DeborahDiane A much better idea.
1 person likes this
@alberello75 (16511)
• Genova, Italy
29 Nov
Yes you are right. It is a good tradition that allows anyone to buy useful products at a low price. In Italy unfortunately, there isn't this custom!
3 people like this
@MsTickle (24991)
• Australia
29 Nov
Same here in Australia Alessandro. I could be wrong but where I live there are no estate sales.
3 people like this
@alberello75 (16511)
• Genova, Italy
29 Nov
@MsTickle Ok. I understood. However It is a good initiative
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@alberello75 and @MsTickle - What happens to a person's possessions after they die? Here in the U.S., the children or other heirs take the items they want. However, the remaining items are sold in estate sales. It is a great opportunity for other people to pick up china, silver, crystal and furniture that the heirs do not want.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (147313)
• Switzerland
29 Nov
No, we have no White Elephant Gift Exchanges here, it's a funny party.
3 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@LadyDuck - They are fun parties and a cheerful way to celebrate the holiday very inexpensively!
1 person likes this
@sishy7 (27667)
• Australia
29 Nov
Oh, those are really great prices for crystals... I was given one of those crystal ring holder years ago and I love it!
3 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@sishy7 - Crystal ring holders are so pretty! I didn't see any in the shop this year, but one of those would also make a great gift to exchange.
1 person likes this
@valmnz (12564)
• New Zealand
29 Nov
That sounds like fun. Sometimes we have something similar for Secret Santa parties.
3 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@valmnz - I have done Secret Santa gifts in the past, too. That can be a lot of fun!
1 person likes this
@miketagz (7453)
• Philippines
29 Nov
That's a special occasion for elephants, I wonder how elephants sing their birthday song heheh.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@miketagz - Ha ha! Yes, I wonder how elephants sing birthday songs, too! LOL
1 person likes this
@miketagz (7453)
• Philippines
30 Nov
@DeborahDiane It's impossible to learn their language hahaha. Just kidding. :D
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
2 Dec
1 person likes this
@shubhu3 (14286)
• New Delhi, India
29 Nov
Wow. That is something really new and interesting.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@shubhu3 - It is just a fun party game, but I enjoy it!
1 person likes this
@shubhu3 (14286)
• New Delhi, India
30 Nov
@DeborahDiane Amazing.
1 person likes this
@cahaya1983 (10060)
• Malaysia
1 Dec
I've participated in a few gift exchanges, although it wasn't called White Elephant Gift Exchange. But the concept is similar. It was a lot of fun, I got random items sometimes, like once I got a soap dispenser.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
2 Dec
@cahaya1983 - We often get random items, too ... like a yo-yo one time! However, no matter what we get, we have a lot of fun!
1 person likes this
@RasmaSandra (16574)
• Riga, Latvia
29 Nov
You certainly got some very nice deals.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@RasmaSandra - Yes, I do not think I could have possibly gotten better deals. I'm going to fill the items with candy before I give them away!
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (24991)
• Australia
29 Nov
That sounds really good and like something I would like to receive. At my group Xmas party last year I received a half full tube of hand cream. Seeing all the other lovely gifts being opened I was a tad miffed.
1 person likes this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@MsTickle - A half bull tube of hand cream?? Wow! I would have been a bit miffed, too. Even though these parties are supposed to be just for fun, that seems like a pretty poor choice for someone to give.
1 person likes this
@MsTickle (24991)
• Australia
30 Nov
@DeborahDiane All the members are elderly and for some, like moi, it's possibly the only gift they will recfeive. it's pretty down-heartening.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
2 Dec
@MsTickle - If that is the only gift people are going to get, regardless of their age, people should make an extra effort to make sure the gift they give is something pleasant. A gift card for an online site like Amazon would be a good idea. Other gift ideas could be the materials for a craft, an interesting book (even if the giver has already read it), or tasty snacks and similar treats.
1 person likes this
@just4him (109880)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
29 Nov
You did good with those gifts. I've played those kinds of games of exchange gifts when you steal them. Lots of fun.
1 person likes this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@just4him - I like giving something a bit nice (but cheap), because it is fun when I see other people "steal" the gifts I brought. That is when I know I chose well! LOL
1 person likes this
@just4him (109880)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
30 Nov
@DeborahDiane True. I was part of an exchange like that. When I opened my gift of an oil lamp, I hoped no one would steal it from me. One did, but I stole it back and I have it on one of my shelves lining the hutch mirror on my dresser.
2 people like this
• Laguna Woods, California
2 Dec
@just4him - That is wonderful that you got what you wanted! There is something exciting about these exchanges and funny how we fight to get the things we want, whether they have much value or not! LOL
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (118731)
• Bunbury, Australia
29 Nov
They sound lovely gifts. Our writers group is having a Christmas party in a fortnight and a limit of $10 has been set. There would be plenty of choice in the op shop in that price range.
1 person likes this
• Laguna Woods, California
30 Nov
@JudyEv - Our gift limits are usually about $10, too. However, one woman always makes a quilt and gives it away in the auction. I have never been lucky enough to get her gift, but I keep hoping!
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7113)
• United Kingdom
30 Nov
It's very satisfying when you can get a luxurious gift for a bargain price!
1 person likes this