Christmas Traditions: White Elephant Gift Exchange

Posted in Blog, Family
White Elephant Gift Exchange Guide

Christmas traditions are something people can look forward to each year.  We made our tradition super fun with a white elephant gift exchange.

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I have a relatively small family.  About 20 people when we all get together for the holidays.  We don’t all get together often so Thanksgiving and Christmas is a special time for everyone to catch up with one another.

I wanted to create a fun tradition that everyone could be a part of and look forward to.  I decided to start a white elephant gift exchange and had no idea that it would be such a hit.

Since I came up with this last year close to Christmas time, I decided to buy all of the gifts for the exchange.  This year everyone is bringing their own.


If you aren’t familiar with a white elephant gift exchange, it is where each person that wants to participate brings a wrapped gift.  It can be anything but usually it is something cheap and funny.  The gifts are all put in one area for people to choose from.  

We first determine what order we will go in.  We do this by putting one number on a folded piece of paper for each person playing.  So if there are 15 people, there would be 15 folded pieces of paper with 1, 2, 3…. 15.  Once everyone selects a number, it’s time to start the exchange.

The person with number 1 selects a gift first and unwraps it.  Then the second person decides if they want the gift that the first person got or if they want to unwrap a new gift.  If they select the first person’s gift, they take it and the first person opens a new gift.  

Some groups let people steal other’s gifts as many times as they want to but we like to limit it to 3 times.  So once a gift has been taken from someone else 3 times, it can’t be taken away anymore.  This goes on until each person has open or taken a gift.  


I’m so excited for the gifts I plan to buy this year for the exchange.  I don’t want to share them here yet since my family might see them and ruin the surprise.  But I did want to share the gifts that we loved from last year.


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