Funny Custom White Elephant Gifts

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What is a ‘white elephant’?

I have yet to see a white elephant with my own two eyes; however, I do see the occasional gray elephant every time I go to the zoo! Some people also refer to ‘white elephant’ as a popular gift exchange game typically played at holiday parties. Traditionally, a white elephant gift is a funny gift or ‘gag’ gift.

Where did ‘white elephant’ originate from?

I was always told that a white elephant gift exchange came from the idea that albino elephants, white elephants, were considered sacred and holy. Therefore, gifting a white elephant to a King or Ruler was meant to please and satisfy them. Over time, I’ve learned that the game has kept the gifting aspect, but has added the theme of giving humorous and ridiculous gifts.

How do you play the White Elephant game?

While there are various of different ways to play White Elephant, this is how my friends and I play our gift exchange game:

  • Everyone brings 1 wrapped gift
  • Write one number on each piece of paper for every person who brought a gift
  • All gifts are placed together in a pile anonymously
  • Each person draws a number from a hat to determine the order
  • First person to go selects a gift from the pile and unwraps it for everyone to see
  • Each person to follow either picks a gift from the pile or can steal an unwrapped gift from the previous players
    • Gift Stealing Rules:
      • 1 gift stolen per turn
      • A gift can only be stolen 3 times throughout the entire game – it automatically stays with the last player after the third steal
      • A player may not have more than 1 gift at a time
      • If Player A steals from Player B, Player B can choose to steal someone else’s gift or choose from the pile during that turn.
  • Once everyone has completed their turn, the first person can swap their original gift for another person’s gift or keep their first pick. If a player’s gift is swapped, that player may swap with someone else or keep the gift they got. The game ends when the last player chooses not to swap for another gift.


What are the best White Elephant gifts?

My friends and I enjoy choosing a specific theme for our annual white elephant party. Last year, our white elephant theme was socks. We had a table full of fuzzy socks, toe socks, knee high socks, all with unique and funny designs! White elephant gifts are a good way to show your creativity and throw in some sense of humor!

I believe the best white elephant gift is a gift that will make someone laugh. It’s the best of both worlds when you find a gift that is both witty and useful in someone’s day to day life.

You can never go wrong with dressing someone up in a funny t-shirt or trucker hat. Check out our great selection of shirts, shoes, and hats to fit anyone from head to toe!

Funny Green XL Christmas Elf in July Tank Top

The Thinking Cap - funny trucker hat

Funny Feet Flip Flops


Make someone’s morning more enjoyable with a quirky mug to sip their coffee or tea. Browse through more fun kitchen items that anyone can store in their home!

Coffee Mug Customizable Prescription RX

Funny Barbecue Grill Apron

Funny Barbecue Grill Apron

Contribute to someone’s fashionable look with a trendy fanny pack or a pair of eye boggling sunglasses. There are plenty of cute accessories to choose from including makeup bags and phone cases!

#Single Funny Hashtag Typography Text Waist Bag

Realistic Funny Human Eye Retro Sunglasses

Monopoly | Vintage 500 Dollar Bill Makeup Bag

Funny 80's Cassette Tape, Personalized iPhone 5C Case

Now that you know where the ‘white elephant’ phrase came from, how to play the traditional gift exchange game, and what kind of gifts to buy, start planning your own white elephant party with friends and family! Make this holiday season memorable with a night of fun games, holiday gifts, and loud laughs!

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