White Elephant Rules and Gift Ideas!

5th Dec 2016

Seems like every year we get invited to a gift exchange.  You mission is to come up with the most coveted gift. Bring the gift everyone is trading for!  Here are some great ideas from 2 Lisas Boutique.  Also below you will find our rule set because we seem to forget how you play every year.



A White Elephant Gift Exchange is a popular Christmas event where people swap gifts and try to walk away with the best present.  Sometimes the very worst gift can e so beautifully wrapped everyone want it. The White Elephant game is played by a lot of different rule-sets – some dead simple and others confusingly elaborate. Here are the basic rules:

1. Each player brings one wrapped gift to contribute to a common pool

The gift exchange organizer should provide information on what type of gift people should bring.

2. Players draw numbers to determine what order they will go

Alternatively, everyone can draw from a hat, or have their order set by the organizer prior to the event.

3. Players sit in a circle where they can see the gift pile

To make things easier, you can sit in the order in which they will take their turns.

4. The first player selects a gift from the pool and opens it

Make sure everyone can see the gift!

5. The following players can choose to either pick an unwrapped gift from the pool or steal a previous player’s gift. Anyone who gets their gift stolen in this way can do the same – choose a new gift or steal from someone else.

To keep things moving along, there are a couple of limits on gift swapping:

  • A present can only be stolen once per turn, which means players who have a gift stolen from them have to wait to get it back.
  • After three swaps, the turn automatically comes to an end (otherwise things could drag on for a long time). 

6. After all players have had a turn, the first player gets a chance to swap the gift he or she is holding for any other opened gift. Anyone who’s gift is stolen may steal from someone else (as long as that person hasn’t been stolen from yet). When someone declines to steal a gift, the game comes to an end.