The Hierarchy Of White Elephant Gifts


If you work at a large company, are part of any organization, or just have a creative family, you know what a “White Elephant Party” is. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then here is a brief description. Everybody buys one wrapped gift. You draw from a hat to determine what order you will take turns selecting a gift as your own. The first person opens a wrapped gift and then their turn is over. On subsequent turns, each person gets the choice of “stealing” any already-unwrapped item or choosing a wrapped item from the gift pile. When a player’s gift is stolen, they must select a replacement gift from the pile of still-wrapped presents or steal one of the already-unwrapped gifts from a different participant. You can only steal an item 3 times. The game is over when the last person has taken their turn.

Usually there is a maximum dollar amount you can use for your gift. As the up-and-comer you are, you want to be able to impress everyone at the party with your creativity and humor. This is why I have compiled a list of different dollar amounts for last minute White Elephant gifts.

Free/Stolen-$5: “Merry Christmas, I guess.”

-A single beer.
-A used toilet seat. Bonus points if it’s from your office.
-The stapler from Office Space.
-A package of bacon.
-A picture of the boss from back in college or high school, blown up to poster size.

$5-$10: “I bought this out of a bin at Walgreens.”

-Any humorous office book or collection of “Dilbert” comics.
-Any cat calendar ever made. Extra points if it’s pre-2000.
-Fake scratch off lottery ticket.
-A plastic handle of Vitali vodka.
-A DVD (no special features) of any christmas movie.
-Just batteries with a note that says, “Gift not included.”

$10-$20: “I put some effort into this.”

-Any obscure liquor. Moonshine is a hit.
-A board game, but take out the pieces first.
-A WSJ subscription for a couple months.
-A Miley Cyrus foam finger.

$20-$50: “I value you as a coworker.”

-The ostrich sleeping pillow.
-A subscription to a Jelly of the Month Club.
-A gym membership.
-A bottle of Patron or Grey Goose filled with water because you drank the good stuff.
-A bunch of second hand Hawaiian shirts.
-Black market Viagra.

$50-Infinity: “I love you.”

-A really nice golf polo bought off of a clearance rack.
-Xbox One.
-A knockoff Olympic Gold Medal.
-A ticket to Yacht Week.
-Gandalf’s sword you ordered from an in-flight magazine.
-An actual white elephant, which is where we get the name because the King of Siam gifted rare albino elephants to courtiers who had displeased him, so that the courtiers might be ruined by the animals’ upkeep costs. #knowledge

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Working stock research sales. Trying to become the next billionaire hedge fund manager. Ex-IFC Pres of a Pac 12 school. Enjoys beaches, golf, sunshine, happy hours, and his wife.

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