5 Tips for Hosting a White Elephant Party

hosting a white elephant party

28 Nov 5 Tips for Hosting a White Elephant Party

The holidays mean different things to people depending on who you ask. Most everyone, however, can agree that the holidays are the time of year to get together with friends and family and enjoy each other’s company. If you’re wanting to throw a fun, unique gathering, then consider hosting a white elephant party this year. Here are 5 tips to get you started.

But First, What is a White Elephant Party?

White elephant parties are a fun type of holiday party that are intended to be silly in the best way. Here are the basic rules to the game.

  1. hosting a white elephant partyGuests bring anonymous gifts within a certain budget and theme which is predetermined by the host.
  2. A gift selection order is determined by the host.
  3. The first person selects a gift and opens it.
  4. The next person can either choose to “Steal” the gift or open a new one.
  5. If the next person steals a gift, the person who the gift is stolen from can select a new gift.
  6. Continue opening gifts until the last gift has been unwrapped.
  7. Once the last gift has been unwrapped, the first guest has the option to steal anyone’s gift in the room. At this point, gifts may be traded between guests.

We’ve compiled 5 tips for hosting a white elephant party that will be sure to entertain your guests and possibly even become an annual tradition.

5 Tips to Host a White Elephant Party

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to get excited about planning your very own white elephant gift exchange!

  1. Establish the Rules

hosting a white elephant party

While rules seem like the last thing anyone wants to think about when parties are involved, some basic guidelines are essential for white elephant gift exchanges.

  • Set a Specific Price Ranges for Gifts: This step is important because you want to avoid a situation where one person picks up a gift at the dollar shop and another goes to a top-end retailer. Choosing a set price range will help ensure that all gifts are more or less uniform in quality.
  • Wrapping Guidelines: Some hosts like to set wrapping guidelines, such as requesting guests to wrap their gifts in a plain bag or a specific color of paper. Wrapping guidelines will keep all gifts anonymous so that no one knows whose gift belongs to who before they are opened.
  • Set the Types of Gifts to Exchange: This step largely depends on who you’re inviting. If you’re planning on having a group of close friends over, you’ll have much more freedom to exchange gag or NSFW gifts.

If you’re inviting coworkers, or if families with kids are attending, it’s usually a better idea to go with clean humor.

  1. Choose Your Guest List Wisely

The point of a white elephant party is to kick back and have fun. You want to avoid drama, so whether you’re inviting friends, family, or coworkers to your party, it’s important to choose your guest list wisely.

  1. Pick a Theme (Optional)

White Elephant parties don’t have to be themed to be fun. If you do choose a theme, make sure to tell your guests on the invitation.

Some themed holiday party ideas include:

  • White Christmas: Decorations around the house are white and snowy, and guests are asked to wear white as well.
  • Ugly sweater: Although some parties are dedicated to the majesty of the ugly sweater, you can ask your guests to wear ugly sweaters for a white elephant gift exchange too.
  • Santa party: All guests are asked to wear either Santa’s outfit, or at least one accessory that features Santa.
  1. Send out Invitations

Now that you’ve got your guest list, it’s time to send out the invitations. White Elephant parties usually happen during December, but there are no set rules. If everyone’s holiday season is so busy that it has to take place in January, then all the better!

hosting a white elephant partyInvitations are your opportunity to establish a lot of details in a short amount of time:

  • Set the tone
  • Explain any themes
  • Detail the place and location
  • And of course, don’t forget to include the price limit on gifts
  1. Determine How to Distribute Gifts, then Play!

There are lots of ways to decide who picks gifts in what order. This step is important because it sets the game into motion the moment the first guest arrives.

  • Order of arrival at the party
  • Drawing straws
  • Pulling numbers from a hat
  • Pulling labeled candy from a hat

You can be as creative as you want as long as you stick to the rules you’ve set. Just remember that it’s not all about the rules. Have fun and enjoy your white elephant gift exchange!



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