If you’ve never been to a White Elephant gift exchange, this may be your year! If you don’t know what we’re talking about, perhaps you’ve heard it called something else, like “Yankee Swap,” “Thieving Elves,” “Machiavellian Christmas,” or one of the other dozen names for it.
If you’ve never been to one, definitely consider hosting your own (or forcing your family to drastically alter their decades-long traditions) — they’re ridiculously fun, and the rules are simple: Come with the most useless gift, leave with the most useful.
Okay, so it’s a bit more complicated than that. But that’s the gist.
Basically, everyone takes turns either unwrapping a present, or stealing a previously unwrapped gift from someone else. Guests can draw numbers from a hat to decide a fair order of play, and the game typically ends when the first person has the chance to steal or open a new gift.
It’s a lot harder to explain than it is to play, and there a ton of variations. If you’re confused at all (and you should be), read up on the “official” White Elephant rules here, and check out this video of the 2012 U.S. national women’s soccer team enjoying their own thievery-based gift exchange:
Got it? Okay. Time to get to the presents.
The best type of gift to bring is something from your home that you just can’t get rid of. Having your friends use (or, throw away) your inconsequential knick-knacks is probably the best part of White Elephant exchanges.
However, not everyone has useless junk around the house (that’s what we hear, at least). Thankfully (for you, for us, for women who need mammograms) we searched our inventory for the weirdest gifts you can give — each item comes with a 1% donation toward a mammogram, and a variable amount of laughter (which, besides prevention, is the best medicine) for whoever gets to open these gems.
Let’s start with the gold:
It’s either the best White Elephant gift of all time, or just the best gift in general — it really depends on who gets it.
Then the things with disproportionate cats on them:
This is one of the least expensive t-shirts offered in our store, yet it is clearly the most coveted.
This mug is a surefire way to show the world you are a friend of cats.
And our all-time favorite:
“Each year, happy gnome comes around. He looks at your stuff, and he’s happy with you. Happy gnome is everyone’s friend.” —Happy Gnome, By Anonymous