Deep breath. This is it. The moment you’ve been waiting for since last December.
This year, you’re not just going to steal a White Elephant gift. You’re going to steal the whole dang show.
Most Yankee Swap (or Thieving Elves, Dirty Santa, etc.) gifts are destined to be shoved under a bed, high on a closet shelf, or…regifted.
Not yours. Not this time.
We’ve collected an assortment of unique, whimsical, and maybe even useful gifts that you might just want to keep for yourself (or steal back from Melanie in Accounting. Sorry-not-sorry, Melanie.). Most of them are budget-friendly enough that you can buy one to wrap and one to enjoy at home, just to hedge your bets.
And if you’re wondering just what the heck a White Elephant swap is? As a famous Spanish (fictional) swordsman said: “Let me sum up.”
A White Elephant swap is a holiday gift exchange where co-workers, friends, or family members purchase an assortment of items that are hilarious or embarrassing (ideally both), usually under a certain price cap. Everyone wraps their selection. On the day of the swap, the gifts are piled up and the participants draw numbers. The person who draws Number 1 gets first choice of which present to unwrap. No. 2 can choose a different gift, or “steal” the first present. And so on until everyone has had a chance to unwrap, steal, or swap, and everyone has a present. (The “Yankee Swap” was immortalized in an episode of The Office.)
Typically the more offbeat the gift, the better. Gag gifts are fine, but they should be novel (whoopee cushions are right out) and if you can find something unique AND useful, even better. You never know what’s going to tickle someone's fancy. And the more covetable the item, the fiercer the competition.
Sometimes participants try to throw each other off the scent by wrapping a tiny gift in a giant box, or choosing tacky novelty paper for something more upscale. But whatever you call it, however you wrap it, get ready to see a whole different side of the people you share blood with, or spend 40+ hours a week. There’s nothing like a little (friendly) competition to get people in the holiday spirit.
We’ve rounded up a variety of different types of gifts–from the ridiculous to the sublime, and the ridiculously sublime. And if you like them, it wouldn’t hurt to drop a link to this list in the office Slack channel or family group chat–increase your chances of walking away with something you like!