December 19th 2009 09:59 am
I love to do a white elephant exchange at my holiday get togethers. You want to have at least 5 or 6 people to make it fun, but there is no limit to have many people can participate above that. Each person needs to bring a wrapped present so it’s a surprise for the person opening it. As people arrive you will put all the gifts on a table to be picked later.
It’s often more of a funny gift exchange that happens at most holiday work parties. You can do a gag gifts if you want, but you can also tell people a theme and to bring things they would really want to take home themselves. As in any gift exchange you will want to set a price range so everyone is on the same page.
Personally, I love the funny kind. In the past I’ve gotten usb fuzzy-bear-hand-warmers, a ceramic moose, and boxes of chocolates. Watching someone open a silly gift can really bring laughter back into this stressful season. You’ll be surprised at what becomes the most wanted gift!
The white elephant exchange starts with each person picking a number from a bowl. There will be a table with all the gifts wrapped up for people to select from so people don’t know what’s in them. After all it’s supposed to be a surprise.
The person who picked number one will pick a gift from the table, open it, and show it to everyone. The next person (#2) gets to decide if they want to ‘steal’ number 1′s gift or pick one to unwrap themselves. If number 1′s gift is taken they choose another gift from the pile and starts all over.
There are a few rules and you may find that some people feel strongly about their variations. I say go by the host’s rules. Everyone has a rule that states that you can’t steal back a gift that was just stolen from you. Meaning if person 1 can’t immediately steal back their gift if person 2 took it. This continues throughout the numbers people selected.
One variation is that after all the gifts are open person 1 gets to decide if they want to keep their gift or steal someone else’s. If they steal one then that person steals one, and so on.
Most people agree that the third time a gift is stolen it’s out of the game and with a really large group of people it’s important. As you can see this game can take a long time if people keep stealing from one another. But that’s part of the fun!