White elephant. Yankee swap. Secret Santa. Pollyanna. No matter what you call it, the gift exchange is a long-standing holiday tradition where families unwrap presents and laughs as they trade or steal each other’s trinkets.
A “white elephant” gift refers to an extravagant, impractical present. Legend has it that the King of Siam (now Thailand) would give out rare, albino elephants to fellow royals. We’re not suggesting you package up a pachyderm, but imagine your friends unwrapping a present they never thought they’d own. Today’s gift exchange of the same name involves unboxing unusual, random gifts like a game.
White elephant rules vary by gathering, but here are some of the most popular ways to play the white elephant game:
Trade & Steal: Each participant puts their wrapped gift under the tree, then takes a number. The person who drew 1 opens a present. The person who drew 2 can steal the first gift or open a new one. If your gift is stolen, you choose another gift. This continues up until the last person, who gets to choose between lots of opened gifts or one mystery box under the tree.
Set a Price Limit: Many groups choose to set a price limit to keep costs down and ensure everyone gets a similarly valued gift. View some ideas by price range below.
Theme It: While it’s great to have seemingly endless gift ideas, some folks narrow the ideas to a theme, such as Something You Can Eat, Items You Can Wear or Something Funny and Fun. The Hershey's Store can supply you with something for all of those categories!
White elephant gifts should be goofy, yet desirable enough that someone would want to steal it. Trust us. It makes it more fun! Think one pound of HERSHEY’S KISSES candies. We usually reserve these for super fans because it takes commitment to consume them. But it’s certainly a gift that keeps on giving.
You can still give a great gift and stay under budget. Grab an inexpensive container like a jar or a stocking and fill it with an assortment of Hershey products. Here are a few ideas and price points:GET THE RECIPE
If you can’t celebrate the season in person this year, you can still host a lively holiday party with gift exchange from your laptop. Here's how you can host a virtual white elephant party:
Another variation is using the randomizer before the party and sending a gift to a specific person. Everyone takes a turn unwrapping, then you can open the floor for trading!
Whatever your holiday traditions are, there’s always room for some chocolatey goodness!