Too many people to buy for and too little money? Thinking about drawing names for gifts? Here’s something much more fun. Play the “White Elephant” game. Each person still brings just one gift, but the presents all go into a pile with no names on the tags.
Draw numbers to determine the order for picking.
The person who gets #1 opens a present.
This ends Round 1.
The person who gets #2 has a choice – open a new gift or steal the present opened by #1. If a gift is stolen, the victim opens another gift.
This ends Round 2.
Person #3 can open a new gift or steal from #1 or #2. If stolen from, that person can steal from someone else or open something new. The round ends when a gift is opened. Continue like this until all of the gifts have been opened.
Rule: Each gift can only be stolen once in any round.
Not only is this game more fun than drawing names, but everyone has a better chance of getting what they want without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Here are some tricks for making this game even more successful:
Buy a couple of extras, so if anyone gets stuck with something they don’t like, they can trade it in at the end.Set value guidelines, so everyone gets something of similar value.
Buy items you can return then watch the reactions when people open your presents. If they aren’t well received, steal them back, freeing those folks up to pick something else. Then return those items to the store and get what you want.
Buy items you want for yourself so you can steal them back and be happy if no one else wants them.
Hint: Gift cards go very well at these games. We give “Dinner-&-A-Movie” combos taped to a bag of snacks and everyone loves them.
If you're a sentimental group, and everyone can afford 2 gifts, you can still draw names, to be sure each person receives one gift chosen specifically for that individual.
Here's an example of a really cute gift that might turn up at one of our White Elephant parties.