Blogmas Day 4: White Elephant Gift Ideas

It’s finally December, which means holiday parties are being thrown left and right, whether it’s a company party, a hang with friends after finals, or a get-together with extended family. This probably also means that for at least one of those parties, either a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange is being organized. In my own experience, Secret Santa gifts are easier to shop for because 1. some sort of wish list was passed around, 2. I knew the person well enough to know what to get them, or 3. I just asked people for ideas. White Elephant gift exchanges tend to be a little more involved, and require some level of strategy – that is, if you want to do it right. The good thing about White Elephant is that although the spectrum of gifts is vast and wide, the spending limit tends to narrow down the variety of gifts you could buy. Here are a few ideas of what to get for your next White Elephant gift exchange with your friends, family, or colleagues.

1. Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Roku, or some other streaming tool

Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are growing more and more in popularity, and are gaining a larger presence over live television, and even DVD’s and Blu-Ray. Streaming tools, such as Chromecast, make it way easier to connect any streaming service to your television from your smart phone, tablet, or computer. These tend to be within the budget of a White Elephant, and is usually the gift people tend to fight over. You know you’ve done a world of good when your gift is the one sought after the most at a party.

2. Any popular movie just released on DVD or Blu-Ray

Because streaming isn’t for everybody (although I don’t really understand why), movies are a solid alternative. I have to give my sister credit for this one – for the past several White Elephant gift exchanges we’ve been a part of, she defaults to buying whatever latest popular movie was just released onto DVD or Blu-Ray. She’s especially good at this because Black Friday is the day she goes out and rummages through bins of discounted newly released movies, and so she’s able to buy several movies while still staying within budget. She uses this to her advantage by establishing a theme to the movies she buys, some of which include Marvel movies and crude comedies. Without fail, every year, it was usually her gift that’s sought after the most, because the ones that she buys are ones that people like, but aren’t necessarily willing to go out and spend their own money on.

3. Alcohol

If you’re 21 or over, congratulations. You now have more options of what you can buy as gifts, and alcohol is usually a hit at any party with grown-ups. Last year, I wanted my White Elephant gift to have some level of mischief, while also graduating to a position of quasi-sophistication. So what did I end up getting? A bottle of wine. Mind you, I currently know next to nothing about wine, and so any knowledge I had of it back then was pretty much non-existent. But when I saw a bottle of wine called “Help Is Here” in the aisle of alcohol at Target, I immediately formulated the perfect theme for my White Elephant gift for that year, and that had a good balance between knavery and refinement. With that bottle of wine – again, called “Help is Here” – I also included Adele’s newly released 25 album, a bar of chocolate, and a box of tissues.

4. An 8 pound bottle of Sriracha

Yes, you definitely read that suggestion correctly, and yes, it definitely exists. I recently went to a company party where, surprise surprise, a White Elephant gift exchange was to take place. A helpful tip when participating in these gift exchanges – avoid the giant packages, because it’s usually someone trying to trap you into choosing a deceptively extravagant gift. One of the girls at the party made the mistake of picking out the biggest package on the table, and was adamant about keeping it for herself. When her turn came to open her present, the look on her face when she saw a giant 8 pound bottle of Sriracha sitting in an ornate gift box was priceless. If you want to preserve and foster your inner mischief, buying an 8 pound bottle of Sriracha for a White Elephant gift exchange will be the best way to do that.

5. Gift cards

In my opinion, gift cards are the next most exciting thing to receive after electronics. There are so many movies, music, and clothes I want to buy, but either don’t have the money to spend or the desire to spend money on these things myself (I also have an obscure taste in those things and have been told that I can be hard to shop for sometimes). There’s also so much food and coffee I buy on a daily basis, and all that spending leaves a gaping hole in my bank account – another reason why I don’t buy movies so much anymore is so I can feed my inner coffee snob. I’m more than certain that I’m not the only one with these issues, and thus gift cards are always a safe yet thoughtful way to go when it comes to buying gifts. Gift cards are your way of saying, “Treat yourself” to someone without actually giving them cash.

What are some suggestions or gifts that you’ve given in the past that were a hit? Let me know in the comments.


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