Holiday Parties:

How to Host the Best White Elephant Party

This time of year is full of holiday events: brunches, dinner parties, cookie decorating, caroling… but the best of all? White Elephant gift exchange parties! The party that keeps the mood light, encourages friendly competition, and sends everyone home with a little something.

‘White Elephant’ can mean different things to different people. Gag gifts? Regifting? New gifts within a set budget? It’s up to you! The best part about a White Elephant party is you can make it whatever you want. 

Follow along for some tips on how to host the best White Elephant party of the season! But first, a quick overview for anyone who’s rusty on the rules:

  • Everyone brings a wrapped gift of an approximate equal, predetermined value.
  • The gift and giver should both remain completely anonymous.
  • Everyone draws a number without looking (if there are 14 participants, there should be 14 numbered strips of paper to pull from).
  • In numerical order, each person takes a turn opening a gift or stealing from someone who has already opened one.
  • If a gift is stolen from a player, they get to play next, either opening or stealing (but they can’t steal back the gift just taken from them).
  • The game continues until everyone has played. Then player #1 gets a chance to steal if they were never stolen from, so they get a chance to play, too.
  • After that, whoever first decides to keep their gift ends the game.

Okay, now that the nitty gritty is out of the way, let the party planning begin!

PRO TIP! Be sure to have a set price point that all the invitees know before buying their exchange gift. It’s no fun when someone leaves with a $50 gift and someone else gets stuck with the dollar store trinket no one wanted to steal. Whether it’s $1 or $50 or a regift, as long as there is an equal playing field, everyone will enjoy the game.

Choosing a Theme

Picking a theme for your party will help inspire your decor, the food you serve, dress code, and more. You could encourage an all white party (white…White Elephant, get it?). Or you can opt for a classic, colorful Christmas party. Or add to the fun with a crazy Christmas sweater contest!

Informing Your Guests

Let your guests know what to expect. Should they wear all white? Red and green? An ugly Christmas sweater? PJs? If contributions to the meal or snacks are welcome, be sure to tell them it’s potluck style or to bring a favorite holiday dish. 

Be clear about whether you are aiming for quirky, tacky gifts or enviable gifts so your guests know which kind of gift to bring! You can also consider having a gift theme: books, games, consumables, locally-made, gifts of a certain color, the list goes on!

Make a stop at your local Hamrick’s to find a ton of amazing gift options for the exchange! Mini waffle makers, fashion and home decor, cozy throw blankets, stylish beanies and scarves, accessories, and delicious seasonal treats are just a few of the popular items we have in store. Want to give your guests a Hamrick’s shopping experience as a gift? We have gift cards, too!

Decorations & Food

Bring it back to your theme. A White Elephant party is a great excuse to create an amazing winter wonderland atmosphere. Classic Christmas gives you plenty of options that you could take in any direction. Whichever you fancy, check out Hamrick’s for gorgeous home decor and festive holiday pieces to give the perfect touch to your party! We also have delicious seasonal treats that will be a delightful addition to your spread.

Spreading Good Cheer

This is a special time of year to bless the less fortunate. While they’re out grabbing a gift for the exchange, ask your guests to pick up some canned goods, diapers, or other basic necessities, too. You can collect them at the party and deliver them to a local shelter or family in need. Or you and your guests can spend time together packing Operation Christmas Child boxes at the party!

PRO TIP! We believe the more, the merrier! But if someone wants to bring a plus one, it’s important that they have a gift too, so they can participate. As the host/hostess, it’s a good idea to have a couple extra gifts wrapped and ready for anyone who forgets to bring something. You’ll save their feelings and the game!

However you decide to design your perfect White Elephant party, the main goal is to have fun with the people who mean the most to you and embrace the spirit of the season. To help you do just that, you can count on Hamrick’s to have a fantastic selection at unbeatable prices. As a bonus, earn points on every purchase while you shop with our More Rewards Loyalty Program, and follow us on Facebook to never miss a deal!

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