White Elephant Print by Skylar Hogan
You know the drill, it’s the same in most workplaces. Every year before the holiday break, the office hosts a traditional holiday twosome: a potluck lunch and a white elephant gift exchange.
The rules of a white elephant are simple. Each person brings a present that is already wrapped and places it, anonymously, on a table. The gifts usually have a preset spending limit, typically under $25. Each participant draws a number, indicating when they will take their turn selecting and unwrapping a present from the table. Upon your turn, you can either choose a new, wrapped gift, or
trade steal someone else’s gift. Depending on the house rules, each gift can be “stolen” 2-3 times.
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, in theory, sure. But the reality is, most people dread white elephant gift exchanges because let’s face it – the gifts are usually pretty crappy. The whole premise is obligatory gift giving for someone you don’t know (or don’t know if someone you know will get what you purchased. You know?), all within a preset, rather low, dollar amount. But think about it a little more carefully … if you are participating in the gift exchange, do you want to end up with some half-used, awful-smelling, re-gifted bottle of hand lotion? Probably not. So buck up, take it seriously, and give a white elephant gift that doesn’t suck. They actually do exist!