Select, Swap, Steal: 33 White Elephant Gifts Your Co-Workers Will Fight Over

Select, Swap, Steal: 33 White Elephant Gifts Your Co-Workers Will Fight Over
Be the talk of the town (or at least the watercooler) with one of these perfect gift swap ideas.

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!

mantis shrimp novelty card game

Mantis Card Game, $12

employee of the moment certificate pad

Employee of the Moment Certificate Pad, $8

giraffes giraffes book by author haggis on whey

Giraffes? Giraffes!, $20

a red tote bag with meh wording on the center of the bag

Meh or Nope Tote Bag, $15

a pricess leia star wars journal

Star Wars Journal, $14

a pair of sock with conference call letters and design

Conference Call Socks, $15

a bag of gingerbread man coffee

Gingerbread Coffee, $16

a ceramic mug with keyboard computer spreadsheet shortcut key guide

Spreadsheet Shortcut Mug, $16

a duff branded fanny pack and beer cooler

Duff Fanny Pack Cooler, $30

a zen journal

Zen as F*ck Journal, $14

a ceramic spoon rest holder with rest in grease message

“Rest In Grease” Spoon Rest, $23

the geeky bartender drink cocktail book

The Geeky Bartender Drinks: Real-Life Recipes for Fantasy Cocktails, $17

an eight pack box of hot cocoa mix with lucky charms cereal marshmallows

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix with Lucky Charms Marshamllows, 8-pack, $18

a potty piano novelty floor mat

The Potty Piano, $30

an inflatable wacky waver desktop item

Desktop Wacky Waver, $10

a rubber ramen noodle toy item

Nee Doh Ramen Noodlies, $7

a pack of gummy hot dog candy

Gummy Hot Dogs, $5

a statue of liberty shaped light

Statue of Liberty Light, $19

a monster design colander strainer

Spaghetti Monster Colander, $25

a portable power bank device

Portable Charger, $30

a lavender windowsill planter kit

Lavender Windowsill Planter Kit, $22

a stainless steel tumbler beverage container

Stanley Adventure Tumbler, $25

a set of sheet face masks for skin care

Sheet Mask Set, $11

a gerber multi tool keychain

Keychain Multi-Tool, $26

stress ball squeezers with dog face print pattern

Dog Stress Balls, $6

a kit with watercolor paints

Travel Watercolor Kit, $29

a green packable backpack

StowAway Packable Backpack, $15

a tin canister of bath salts

Unicorn Sea Salt, $10

a water resistant picnic blanket

Water Resistant Picnic Blanket, $27

an assortment of gummy bear candy

Albanese Gummy Bear Cubs, 5lb Bag, $29

a desk caddy designed like a dumpster fire

Dumpster Fire Desk Caddy, $12

a bottle of spicy chili crisp sauce

Restaurant Size Spicy Chili Crisp Hot Sauce, $15

a pizza print large blanket

Pizza Blanket, $27

What’s the best White Elephant gift you’ve ever seen? And what’s the one you’d never want?

Ali grew up in New York and currently lives in Philadelphia, where she works as a copywriter. She enjoys cooking, playing the guitar, and powerlifting, and has a brown belt in Krav Maga. You can find her collected articles on health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics at Instagram: @alibzagat