My Photo

Become a Fan

« Fourth Day of Sock Yarn | Main | Sixth Day of Sock Yarn »

December 17, 2021



I am never good at White Elephant swaps and always do a bottle of wine. I always end up with a candle.


To me a white elephant exchange is one in which you just get rid of stuff around the house you don't want. The regifting is what I've always thought of a white elephant as. Every gift worse than the one before it. Yours sounds better. I'd recommend a Jefferson's Ocean bourbon, it's my absolute FAVE!


Silicon microwave popcorn poppers are a great gift. Everyone loves popcorn! This can also be used as the vessel from which to eat and is easy to wash by hand or can go in the dishwasher.

Jessica McConnell

I have a circular sock machine and I can make a pair of socks in about 2 hours. So my white elephant is always a bar of chocolate,a pair size 9 women’s socks and some odd or end that I picked up free or cheap that no one wants. My gift usually changes hands a couple of times and that makes me happy.


Haven't done a white elephant in a long time. However, I usually find something funny and kitschy from around the house. One year I gave the free collectible bobbleheads from sporting events.


I’ve only been part of this type of gift exchange once, and was quite confused when I received a used badly water stained table fountain. Everyone else received a nice little gift. So I don’t really have a go-to, but what I brought to the gift exchange was a nice coffee mug and coffee.


I give lottery tickets - the recipient might have the fun of a cash prize, but if not they aren't stuck with a useless object.


I don’t have a go to but I like to receive notecards. How about a journal to write in and a candle or oil/diffuser and tea. Stuff you can use even if you already have it,
I like the idea of several small gifts rather than one.

Lisa L

I have never been to one of these and I hope to keep it that way. I really dislike spending money on useless things or gag gifts.


For an office gift exchange, I once brought a cake server that played different songs (Happy Birthday, For He's a Jolly Good Fellow, Here Comes the Bride...) Totally tacky, but an unexpected hit!

Susan Mercy

I don't usually do white elephant exchanges...but my go-to gift is an assortment of food items: pasta, sauce, chocolate, cheese, alcohol of the recipient isn't a teetotaler, fancy olives or crackers...stuff like that.


Hulk hands have been a big hit in past white elephant swaps.


I always make pistachio cranberry Biscotte to gift.


We always contribute a gift that we hope people will want or see value in- the most popular have always been the woven scarves I make- they definitely get taken 3 times before settling with their final recipient!

Marilyn H

I always go to something safe like a fleece lap blanket. People love the comfy squishiness in our cold clime.


How about something local like wine from Country Heritage Winery, Debrands, or locally crafted mugs filled with the individual Land O lakes cocoa packages you can buy at Meijer with a bag or mini marshmallows.
If you want to give a gift card, one from Amazon or a Visa one could be used anywhere in the country.

Terri B

Our family has never done a White Elephant exchange, but I hear that they can be very funny! The ones that I know about have all included regifting of items.

Renee S

I worked in a company once where we would do funny gift exchanges for the Christmas party. The reoccurring “prize” was a mechanical hamster that did karate to music. The doctors would win most of the time. They were good sports.

Pat Phythian

We do a white elephant exchange on Christmas Eve in our family; not gag gifts, but nice presents although we set the amount to spend. Being a librarian, my go to gift is a book -- most often a cook book. They've always been "stolen" several times and the final recipient always seems pleased.

For office gift exchange I usually get a gift certificate to a nail salon and include a couple of bottles of nail polish. I've even had men who like to get pedicures enjoy this gift or tell me they'll give it to a special lady in their life.



Paula Vail

Often, it is whatever I got at the previous White Elephant party.


In my family, we 'fight' over the packaging itself as we only unwrap after everyone has settled on a present (and generally the contents are inexpensive toys games that the young kids end up getting). One year I found shiny blue wrapping paper for my present, and added coordinating shiny ribbons and bows: it was the most fought-over present ever! Even the young kids that didn't like having their present 'taken away' realized it meant a chance to steal back the blue one.


The item I usually go towards is bath salts. I also gavitate towards a gc to the local grocery store.


A Christmas CD, coffee mug with good hot chocolate mix, coffee, or tea, Yankee candle, cookbook, special chocolates, special soup mixes, Christmas ornament, holiday shaped pasta , mixes, or cookies with other holiday food items. Now that I knit, I like the idea of making a neutral winter scarf one year. The newest white elephant gift that will be getting passed along is a Darth Vader ornament that was given to me by my new son-in-law since I had a hip replacement and they jokingly call me “bionic.” It will be on my tree this year, and will get mailed to…….someone else in the family in the future!


The last white elephant gift exchange I took a coffee mug and received a pair of fingered mittens that came to my wrist - surprisingly I wear them often under a pair of mittens and they work great!

Lynn B

Oh not care for White elephant gifting. I try to give something that can be useful- wine, socks.


I try to do something local like DeBrands. The year I did some knit dishcloths and a pair of socks was my most popular though!

Hilda C

How about an ugly Christmas sweater? This was a big hit at an office party I attended. I was the newest member of the group so didn't get the whole story until later but this sweater had made the rounds a couple of times.


Our White elephant is with my brother and his family. Ours is different- it is something funny from around your house or a gift you didn't want. You can pick someone else's or open a wrapped one. Usually everyone opens one- hoping to get something they will like.. it is a lot of fun and great to see how creative everyone is... Last year I gave a calendar I had gotten in the mail but to make it more fun... certain days of the month also had surprises...


the most successful gift was a pair of those cheap plastic eyeglasses, they were so awful but everybody was fighting for them!

Pam Bacci

I've done puzzles, an old banana holder, crazy Christmas socks... But if it's supposed to be a little nicer, like a grab bag, I try to do something consumable like ground coffee and a mug, homemade caramels, Bath & Body Works soap and hand cream.


Haven't participated in years but being the pandemic and all, I would say "toilet paper"..that would be tacky but useful....

Mary Kay

Kitchen utensils wrapped in a dish towel, banana bread baked in a flower pot or a mug, selection of spices in a mixing bowl, ingredients to make s'mores or cocoa bombs. Obviously we are foodies!

elissa schoening

I haven't participated in a white elephant and many many years. But typically I prefer to use something that would be useful and enjoyable for anyone regardless of gender or age.


We have a few excellent used book stores in town and in the past, I’ve had success finding books on fiber arts. These have been popular White Elephant giveaways! This year I found: “Successful Lace Knitting: Celebrating the Work of Dorothy Reade” by Donna Druchunas (2010).


A blank notebook or journal, notecards and a pen that is refillable rather than disposable

Sabrina Snyder

I don't have a go to gift. I guess if I was going to say what I have given the most is Bath and Body wash and lotion sets.

Dana Snyder

I had a to go coffee mug I got a couple years ago at a dirty Santa and was going to regift it at this years dirty Santa but my husband needed something fast so he took it. We’re not having ours this year till after we come back from break and it’s supposed to be something we want to regift but I’m thinking I’ll take a home made hat in our school colors. We are marron and grey and I ordered the yarn the other day and it’s out for delivery! I have taken gift cards in the past. One year I took a candle with a gift card. My husbands family had a name draw and we are meeting via zoom tomorrow night to open our gifts. We don’t know who has our names and we’ve been getting mysterious packages in the mail! We did it last year and it was a lot of fun! I got Paris themed gifts, a puzzle and paint by number! I gave my sil knitting supplies since I had just taught her how to knit! My gift I’m giving this year is a hat I made and a beard trimmer that was on his list. Can’t wait!!

Theresa Martin

Ours are often ‘gift for a guy’. Or ‘gift for a girl’. I usually contribute a pair of mittens and a little d at one thing else. How about reusable drinking straws in many colours? A nice water bottle? Massage balls?


I've never been to a White Elephant exchange. I'd probably give lottery scratch cards.

Jody Laake

This is a tough one for me because we don’t really do the white elephants. The closest I can come is I like to take gifts and wrap them in ways that there can be no guessing what’s inside - too large boxes or strange shape containers, added oddball things for weight and noise when shaken etc. It’s always fun to watch faces when they finally get to the goodies inside and are surprised by the contents.

Maggie Hume

There are three things that I like to give and receive: nice hand cream or lotion, Godiva chocolates, or seasonal herb teas, like the Winter Spice that Twinings makes. Sometimes a gift basket with all three, depending on the price point of the exchange.


Before the pandemic my husband always brought a COSTCO sized toilet paper. Everyone laughed and fought over who got stuck with it. Now... :)


I usually give a gift card and put it in a hand knitted "gift cardigan".

Kimberly Payne

This year I’m bringing a O’Keeffe’s Working Hands gift set. I’d like to end up with it myself!

Kelly Holler

I usually go with a cute mug and coffee! It's always a solid choice!


Since the pandemic, our family white elephant exchange has ended. When we were doing it, the most exciting gifts turned out to be lottery tickets or Amazon gift cards.


I like giving Bath and Body Works Frosted Cranberry candle.


This year I'm bringing the cutest mini waffle maker that imprints a gingerbread man on the waffle & a container of gingerbread waffle mix.

I've enjoyed reading the other suggestions and will probably try some of them the next time!


Depends on the crowd and $$ limit.

For out-of-town family exchange I like to get a tourist/souvenir mug and coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

For local exchanges I'll get a gift card to a newer restaurant that no one has tried yet or make a spa basket with a pouf scrubby, handknit cotton spa cloth and fancy soap/shower get.

Carolyn Zewe

I don’t have a specific go to White Elephant gift that I buy. Here at work we try to focus on helpful, sustainable items. Sometimes the gifts are funny and others thoughtful such as a photo album with pictures of the animals we care for.


I’m a fan of a good candle or set of notecards.


Lottery tickets always seem to be popular.


Scratch off lottery tickets as stocking stuffers every year!!!


I dislike the Dirty Santa game (but this accurately describes it), as someone always goes home unhappy. My knitting guild was doing this, and it’s one reason I decided not to go to the meeting this month.

I will say that if you do restaurant gift cards, Starbucks does not qualify as a ‘restaurant’ in my book! :(


Hand knit socks, forever.

Nicole S

One of my most successful contributions to this type of exchange has been maple syrup.


If the exchange is among friends it's a bottle of alcohol. If it is a work function I tend to go warm cosy blanket or scratch tickets on a tree.

Susan Bishop

I always look for something that will be fun when wrapped up. You know, something that will be fun to "fight" over when we play our extended family Christmas exchange game. Unusual shapes, lots of rattling, something that sounds like fun. We've added rocks or a brick to the box. Or something that vibrates when it's moved, like a cat toy or "hot potato". It's always fun to get a gift. But it's even more fun having a laugh with family and friends.


A bottle of wine. Boring, but welcome.


Ugh, I don't like gift exchanges. Honestly, I just dig through the pile of items to be re-gifted and pick something from there. It's usually a scented candle. Then I'll add a Starbucks gift card to make it less lame!

Susannah Morlock

A bottle of wine is always a good White Elephant gift.

Laurie Bowman

I usually pick up a cute mug with some hot cocoa mix or candy inside...

sarah D.

This is VERY specific but I used to live in a remote part of southeast Asia where the native men who lived in the jungle would wear nothing but a gourd over their private parts. There was a group of expat women that lived in a town in the area and we had a white elephant-type gift exchange every Christmas. One of the gifts that made its way into the gift exchange every year was a gourd and it was definitely a running joke! :-)

Gail L.

A tin of home made cookies and a Christmas decoration. Always goes down well.


Simple fingerless mitts in darker neutrals are my go-to, quick gift. Sadly they're more appreciated than gifts that require a lot of work. Might have to change my thinking.

Becky Creighton

One group I went to had a pair of bright pink hot pants that kept showing up. Being in Ohio a Buckeye gift is always popular.


I work with in a vet clinic, so cat butt potholders are the most popular item in our white elephant exchange.


I usually take a coffee mug with some hot chocolate mix


I like the idea of a cute tea ball. A lot of people don’t realize how great loose tea can be or dint know what to do with it!

Jennifer McCarthy

I like to give unique Christmas ornaments, though some of the ideas here have got me thinking…


Never have done a white elephant gift exchange. But I think Yarn would be a good idea


My experience with White Elephant exchanges has also always been regifting intentionally funny or weird things, rather than getting thoughtful presents. Half the fun was trying to avoid the worst of the intentionally terrible gifts. My go-to were books from the used bookstore, usually the cheesiest-looking vintage romance novels, off the wall pulp scifi, or the weirdest niche self-published thing I could find.

Personally, I don’t like the format applied to giving intentionally thoughtful gifts. I’ve done this twice in work settings, and maybe it was office politics adding in, but it just felt kind of cruel. You can tell what gifts people want and which ones they don’t, and it just made me feel bad for the people whose gifts were obviously not appreciated by the majority.

Denise Walsh-Horowitz

We don't do White Elephant exchange, but usually buy a couple of nice coffee mugs, different flavored coffee and go to the bakery and buy Italian cookies, put it all in a fancy bag and that is it. Works out OK.


I've never done a white elephant but for other group exchanges I have done Christmas ornaments, mugs and holiday spoon rests and appetizer plates. It seems that Yeti beverage holders are extremely popular. Depending on $limit those or something like it might be useful

Carol Beck

My white elephant is often something I have handmade. Usually knit or a wooden decoration.


I usually gift a mug. We have zillions of mugs hanging around, both the breakable use-at-home kind and also travel mugs that have been giveaways. So they become my giveaways.

Jenn H

We don't white elephant but warm drink sets (coffee tea cocoa) or knit accessories would be fun!

Rose Birchall

Throws, kitchen towels, acrylic wine glasses, knitted dishcloths. Last year my niece gave a mini waffle iron, that was the hit of the exchange.

Sharon Randolph

I usually give something practical that we all use and run out of frequently. This year it was pens and little memo pads or sometimes I use those magnetic grocery list for the frig.


Gift certificate to an ice cream store—everyone wanted it.

Marcia L Thomas

My go to gift is candles, bag of m&m with lottery tickets on them. A hot one was a giant candy bar...Twix. everyone was fighting for it. Also a big fight one was a huge pack of gum (it had numerous packs of various flavors. My family still talks about it.

Kimberly Dzingel

I have such a hard time with white elephant gifts! I like to give people things they can use, gift cards tend to be my go to with a cute ornament attached. Although if I’m out and about and see something perfectly ridiculous, I’ll go for it!


It's been a long time, but I would probably give car wash tickets.

Lisa Anderson

I think I’d give a bag of fancy coffee, or at least I’d like to get one.


I have never heard of this before. If I were part of this kind of gift exchange I would choose a gift card to a local tea house or coffee roaster’s shop.


Usually it’s different teas or coffees. I did lotto tickets one year that seemed like a big hit. They only won $5 though. Lol.

Brenda Babcock

I usually give something useful, preferably homemade.

Patricia Elbrecht

Depending on the monetary guidelines for the exchange; coffee gift card, sumptuous candle, bottle of wine or spirits, or a batch of my husband's delicious homemade salted caramels!


I had the most fun with a Kermit the Frog chia pet. Who doesn't need a chia pet... especially Kermit?

Labrista wadkins

A candle in a very light scent.

stephanie prigoff

Toilet paper is probably a new "epic white elephant" these days. Pre-covid I took mug with chocolates

Tabitha Burks

I haven’t participated in a White Elephant Christmas Exchange in a long time, but I would choose a bottle of wine!


Lottery tickets!


I usually get one of those gift sets with a mug and some hot cocoa or tea!


It depends on the money limit of the gift. I would do either a bottle of wine , lottery tickets or gift cards.


I am lousy at white elephant gifts, especially the wrapping… the sooner they are opened, the better. My present is almost always the last one chosen. I’ve given hand knit slippers (too small for recipient), hand knit shawlette or scarves, etc. My favorite was the time I bought a pair of scissors and nobody chose my package because it looked like a gift certificate….. so I chose it for myself rather than “steal”.


I don't have a go to gift. It depends upon the group. But food or drink items always seem to go over well

Deb Adams

Wine or chocolate is the go to white elephant gift..

Teri P

Our family had a funky-looking hat that ended up being recycled until someone finally "lost" it. I'd guess it was from the mid- to late 50's, brown felt with an orange and brown ribbon band and feather. I like the idea of an old or antique item that's fun.

The comments to this entry are closed.