How to Host the Perfect White Elephant Party

How to host the perfect White Elephant party?

perfect White Elephant party

Photo by Nina Mercado on Unsplash

It’s that time of the year. Parents are buying colorful wrapping paper for holiday gifts while kids look forward to the season of giving with delight. The only thing that could make this holiday season better is a fun-filled White Elephant gift exchange.

Whether you want to throw a White Elephant party for your friends or your kids or both, we’ve got you covered. To help you plan the perfect holiday gift exchange, FTD has outlined a White Elephant party guide below. 

What is a White Elephant gift exchange?

The basic rules of the White Elephant game are simple. First, every participant must prepare a wrapped gift of their choosing. Depending on your preference, you may put a dollar limit on how expensive each gift will be (under $20 is usually a good starting point). From there, players draw a number to determine the order in which they will choose from the pile of gifts.

The player who drew for the first position starts off by picking a gift from the pile. From there, they unwrap their gift and see what they got. Player #2 will then either choose to steal the first player’s revealed gift or gamble by choosing another unwrapped gift from the pile. If a player has their gift stolen, they can then either steal from someone else or choose another unwrapped gift. 

At the end of the game, player #1 gets the final chance to swap their gift with any of the other players, thereby concluding the game.

Planning the perfect White Elephant party

Before you get your holiday party started, you’ll have to take the proper steps beforehand to get the ball rolling. If you aren’t sure where to start, however, we’ve got you covered. Below we’ve outlined some necessary steps you can take to plan the perfect White Elephant party.

Invite pour players

When it comes to White Elephant parties, the more the merrier. If you’re planning the party for your kiddos, have them draft a list of friends that they’d like to invite. If you’re planning on inviting some of your friends, coworkers, or neighbors as well, you could always plan two gift exchanges: One for adults and one for the youngsters.

Set a price limit

When planning the gift exchange, you’ll want to set a reasonable price limit that doesn’t break the bank. Normally, this means you’d set a $5-$20 dollar limit, but you can customize the price to whatever you think would work best. 

Determine a theme

For extra fun, determining a theme for your party is a must. You could require a dress code of ugly Christmas sweaters, have your players dress in all white, or deem your event a pajama party. 

Send out invitations

perfect White Elephant party


When sending out your invitations, make sure to include any relevant details. You want your players to know the theme, the price limit of the party, and where and when the game is going to take place. 

If you’re having trouble designing your invitations, we’ve provided some cute printable White Elephant invites below.

[White Elephant Invitations Download]


To add a layer of fun to the party, decorations are a must! Either decorate everything in white or go for Christmas colors, decorating everything in red and green. You may even want to set the dinner table with place cards for your guests.

perfect White Elephant party


[Place Cards Download]

Arrange the gifts

Once your guests are settled, it’s time to gather your gifts, arranging them in whatever manner you feel looks best. Maybe you order them based on color; maybe you order them based on their size; or maybe you even consider stacking the gifts on top of one another, using the larger gifts as a base, and stacking the smaller gifts on top. Don’t be afraid to get creative!


perfect White Elephant party


Additionally, use the holiday-themed gift tags below to put the final touch on each gift.

[Gift Tags Download]

White Elephant gift ideas

Depending on who your players are, the types of gifts you give will vary. That said, regardless of whether you’re throwing a party for your family, your kids, or your neighbors, below we’ve provided some of our favorite gift ideas.

Gift ideas for kids

Sometimes, watching your kids play in a White Elephant gift exchange can be even more fun than participating yourself. If your little ones aren’t sure what gift they should prepare, check out the suggestions below.

  • Board games
  • Bluetooth karaoke microphone
  • Nerf toys
  • Puzzles
  • Novelty candy bars
  • Arts and crafts materials
  • Ice cream shop gift card

Gift ideas for family

What better way to celebrate the holidays than with a family gift exchange? To put a smile on the faces of your relatives, consider choosing one of the gifts below.

  • Memory foam pillow
  • Cookbook
  • Gingerbread house kit
  • Popcorn maker
  • Face mask
  • Basket of goodies
  • Christmas mug

Gift ideas for neighbors

A White Elephant gift exchange is a great way to connect with your neighbors as well. To spread some holiday cheer to your neighborhood friends, use the gift ideas below as inspiration.

  • Cocktail making kit
  • S’mores maker
  • Homemade treats
  • Houseplants
  • Scented candles
  • Snowglobe
  • Fleece throw blanket


To make this holiday season extra special, a White Elephant party is the perfect way to celebrate. Simply follow the steps outlined above and your party will be full of laughter and smiles in no time. Who knows? The party might be such a hit that it becomes an annual tradition.

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