A White Elephant gift party is a fun and inexpensive way to celebrate the holidays, whether it’s with family, friends, or co-workers. But depending on which of these groups you’re partying with, and indeed what kind of party it is, will really determine what kind of gift you get.
For example, you probably wouldn’t walk into a work party bearing gifts of shot glasses or funny T-shirts; but you might with a group of your buddies. On the same token, you wouldn’t give your good friends a stapler or fancy pen.
So the way I see it, there are two basic categories, and it’s up to you to decide which one your White Elephant party will fall under. There are Gag Gifts—great for friends, family, or more casual get-togethers—and then there are Gift Gifts—you know, things that people will actual use.
Either way, there is going to be a budget. Now, depending on the crowd, the budget can vary widely, from anywhere from $5 to about $25. But we’re a financial services company, and what kind of service would we be providing if we didn’t strive to give you guys the best deals possible? So for this post, let’s say your gift budget is $10—and believe me, you can get all kinds of stuff for $10!
Let’s start with the Gag Gifts…
1) A framed and autographed photo… of yourself. Clearly, everyone will know who the present is from once it’s opened, but that is just the sacrifice you’ll have to make for this gag gift. The frame is the only thing that will cost you, and Walmart has a selection, some for under $3.00! Also, even though the gift is a joke, the recipient can use the frame for something else (or who knows, maybe they’ll keep your picture!)
2) Set of rechargeable batteries with the “toy not included.” Just like the picture frame above, this may be a gag gift, but a pack of rechargeable batteries is also useful. This gift can cost as little as about $10.00, it’s easy, and these batteries are energy efficient—they’re the gift that keep on giving! Just buy a pack of “green batteries” and label it with a tag that says “toy not included.”
3) City dweller’s S’more kit. Here’s what you do: just box up some candles or tea lights, an old pronged fork, some marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers. Voila! You have a s’more kit perfect for any indoor dwelling—even the White Elephant party!
4) A gift for the Monty Python fan. This one is as inexpensive as it is easy. Just wrap up a can of spam (they don’t haveto eat it—this is a gag gift remember?) and a small, toy bunny. Anyone who is a fan of this comedy will be in on the joke, and for those that aren’t, well, they’ll have a free can of spam and a new toy.
5) A white elephant. This cute little guy is perfect for any White Elephant party. And hey, if somebody ends up with the toy who doesn’t want to keep him (but who wouldn’t?!), they can bring him to their next White Elephant party. I mean, it’s a white elephant at a White Elephant. How can you go wrong?
Now for the Gift Gifts…
1) A gift card. Gift cards are the perfect White Elephant present, because there is always somebody who will love it. As a matter of fact, I remember at my last White Elephant party, everybody wanted that little Starbucks card. Now keep in mind, with a $10 budget, a card to, say, Barnes and Noble isn’t going to do much good; but a card for a coffee shop, iTunes, or some other business with inexpensive items, will make a great gift.
2) Accessories, gadgets, toys—oh my! If you have never been to the site ThinkGeek.com, go to it now—even if you don’t have a White Elephant party coming up! This site has gadgets and gizmos for anyone, many for under $10. Check it out.
3) Edible goodies. You really can’t go wrong with cookies, candies, or chocolates. I mean, who doesn’t like something sweet—especially around the holidays? These are inexpensive to buy, but if you want to save even more money (and make the gift even more special!), you can make your own.
4) A cool coffee cup. Even if your friends, family, or coworkers are not coffee drinkers, a cool coffee cup is always a good gift. I mean, pens have to go somewhere don’t they?
5) Mini plant. A little bit of green brings a whole lot of life to any space. An easy maintenance, low-light, potted plant can be a particularly great gift for coworkers to keep on their desk and liven up the space! Like I said, go for something easy to maintain so that you’re not just giving away a project. Want a plant that’s more like a pet? Go for a Venus flytrap.
What was the best gift you’ve ever gotten at a White Elephant gift exchange?
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