Tips for throwing a White Elephant holiday party

[9 Dec 2010 | By | 3 Comment(s) | 6,306 views ]

white elephant party invitationI’ve been a slacker about the holidays this year, and never got around to planning a christmas party. We usually do a White Elephant Gift Exchange with our friends, and it’s a lot of fun. This year, I think I’m just going to do the party in January, when everyone’s back from the holidays and might actually have a few white elephants they’d like to get rid of! And, conveniently enough, the invitation theme is Winter/Snowflakes, not any holiday per se. Download a printable/emailable version of the invitation graphic from flickr.

If you’ve never done a White Elephant Party, I have a write up on how to throw one, with all the rules that we use.

Basically, it’s a gift exchange party where you steal gifts from other people.
A couple of key points you’ll need to make sure your guests understand:
– Gifts can be bought new or regifted (in the true spirit of a white elephant) – we give a general amount to spend (like between $15 and $20 for example) but a regifted gift can be worth more than that.
– Impress on your guests that they must arrive by a certain time. Start the party at 7:00 but tell everyone they must be there by 8:00, for example.
– Everyone needs to bring a gift (not one per couple).
– For maximum enjoyment, we usually instruct people that gifts “can be funny, but not crappy”. I always suggest that if you’re going to regift a crappy gift, at least throw a bottle of wine in there with it!

A couple of other tips:

  • As host, I usually have an extra gift on hand for that one person who doesn’t show up with one, or if not needed, provide as a consolation prize for the poor person who ends up with the crappiest gift.
  • Decide up front if you’re going to allow collaboration (“you steal from me then I’ll steal from you”) or allow spouses/significant others to steal from each other.

Get all the instructions to throw your own party!.

Get the invitation, a ‘steal sheet’, and numbers on flickr

Tips for throwing a White Elephant holiday party
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3 Comment(s) »

  • Dave-O [] :

    BTW, my WEGE is on 1/28/11 in the evening so I hoping for a rapid response on this.
    Many thanks in advance…

  • Dave-O [] :

    i am planning a WEGE for a very large group (60+ people). your other WEGE article here on Dabbled said:

    “…Alternate rules for big groups: … reducing the steals to 2 and labeling each gift with a number. Each person must receive the gift with their number (if they chose to not steal), rather than picking a gift. This saves time on the initial gift choosing. Everything else continues as normal….”

    OK if my number is say 11, when my turn comes I can either choose gift #11 or steal (that’s pretty clear). What happens to gift #11 if i steal?Is gift #11 swapped with the person I’ve stolen from? Does it sit on the table to the side where those that have had gifts stolen can choose from if they choose not to steal?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Dot [] (author) :

    It’s been a while since I’ve done a big one using those rules, but I think the way we used to do it was:

    You get #11:
    You can either take #11 gift or steal from someone. That person has the choice of now either taking gift #11 (rather than a random table gift), or stealing from someone else.
    So if they choose to open new, they get gift 11, if not, THEY steal, and the person they stole from takes either gift 11, or they steal. And so on until someone opens gift 11.

    Then you move on to 12.

    Make sense?
    Sorry for the delay, hope this reaches you in time, as you didn’t leave an email addy!