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How To Do A Virtual White Elephant Gift Exchange For Christmas

There are often times when everyone can’t get together for Christmas, in person. You may have family that lives in another state and isn’t able to travel or work might prevent family from taking a short road trip for a gift exchange, at your home. No worries! It’s time to think outside the box and figure out How To Do A Virtual White Elephant Gift Exchange so you can still get together and have FUN … although you’re far apart!

The Virtual White Elephant Gift Exchange is a perfect way to have fun and not brake the bank, buying gifts for everyone. Instead, you purchase one gift, at a set dollar amount, and watch the craziness ensue!

How To Host A Virtual White Elephant Exchange

This is where the FUN comes in! You get to make the rules and come up with an awesome virtual gift exchange that works for your situation.

  1. Choose a date and time that will work for your party guests.
  2. Make a guest list and invite guests to join you via Zoom or Google Meet, at the specified time. You can share your meet up link through Facebook Messenger, text, email, etc.
  3. Let your guests know they should each purchase a White Elephant gift, wrap it, and have it in view for the meet up. Be sure to specify a dollar amount for the gift. Alternatively, they may wrap a picture of the gift and have it sent directly to the recipient from Amazon or another retailer.
  4. Decide which activities and games you will play. The White Elephant Gift Exchange will be played but do you want to add other games to keep the boisterous laughter going? Do you want to make it an Ugly Sweater Virtual Party?
  5. Gather a few prizes. If you plan to play games, besides White Elephant, grab a few prizes to mail to the winners.
  6. Make or print a copy of the Virtual White Elephant Gift Tracker. If you’d like to record White Elephant gifts, as the host, on paper, you can print it here: Virtual White Elephant Gift Tracker – Hard Copy. If you’d like to use Google Sheets, to record gifts on your shared screen, you can make a copy here: Virtual White Elephant Gift Tracker – Google Sheets.
What Is The Difference Between White Elephant And Dirty Santa

What Is The Difference Between White Elephant And Dirty Santa?

According to Wikipedia, the distinction between White Elephant and Dirty Santa has been blurred. Originally, the difference between the two was the type of gift brought by party goers.

White Elephant Gifts

White Elephant Gifts are usually humorous ‘gag’ gifts or something a person has laying around the house and no longer wants. They are generally more funny than useful.

Why Is It Called White Elephant?

The White Elephant is defined as a possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of. Supposedly, the King of Siam gifted rare albino elephants to courtiers who had displeased him, that they might be ruined by the animals’ upkeep costs.

Dirty Santa Gifts

Dirty Santa Gifts are generally fun, new, unique, and in good taste. They are usually items others will want and actually use.

Why Is It Called Dirty Santa?

Despite its name, the Dirty Santa Gift Exchange is a family friendly game where participants STEAL gifts from each other trying to end up with the best gift. It is called Dirty because participants STEAL gifts from each other.

Dirty Santa tends to be more popular in the South and White Elephant is not tied to a specific region.

Both White Elephant and Dirty Santa gift exchange games are played in a similar way so it is easy to understand how the lines have blurred.

People having fun on a computer screen with the words: How To Do A Virtual White Elephant Gift Exchange

Gameplay Options

There are many variations of the White Santa Gift Exchange that people have come up with, over the years.

No-Steal Virtual White Elephant

Stealing is what makes the White Elephant Gift Exchange boisterous and fun. If you choose to host a No-Steal Virtual White Elephant Party, what you’re really doing is more like Secret Santa. Call it what it is!

Steal-Friendly Virtual White Elephant

This is the way White Elephant was meant to be played! However, you could do variations off of the White Elephant Gift Exchange, such as:

  • Gifts have a certain theme.
  • Gifts are all from one company, like As Seen On TV.
White Elephant Game - Buffalo Plaid

Virtual White Elephant Rules

At the pre-determined time, log into your meet up and welcome your guests. Share your screen, with the White Elephant Gift Tracker Google Sheet.

  1. Fan your White Elephant Game Card #’s out, facing the screen, so you can’t see the numbers.
  2. Call on a guest and pick a number for them.
  3. Record their name and number on the White Elephant Gift Tracker. It would be nice to have each person say a little about what they’re up to, as you record their number.
  4. To start the game, #1 chooses a person to unwrap their gift. The host records the Gift, next to the gifter’s name, and the person who chose the gift, under the Recipient column. The gifter should keep the gift in view, for all to see.
  5. Each subsequent number has two options; steal a gift that has already been opened or choose an unopened gift. If a gift is stolen, the host should record the person’s name, next to the gift stolen, under the appropriate column … Steal #1, Steal #2, or FROZEN.
  6. If a guest’s gift is stolen, they may steal an opened gift from another guest or choose an unopened gift. They may NOT steal the gift back, in the same turn. The host will record their name next to the gift they chose.
  7. Gifts can be stolen up to three times and is frozen with the fourth owner.
  8. If number one has the same gift they started with, they may trade with any unfrozen gift.
  9. Each gifter will mail their gift to the giftee, following the party.
Virtual White Elephant Gift Tracker Sample Sheet
$10 White Elephant Gift Ideas
White Elephant Gift Ideas

Tips On How To Pick The Best White Elephant Gift

You want to pick the BEST gift. The gift that will get stolen so many times that it becomes frozen. How do you know what that gift is?

  • Take the White Elephant Party Attendees into consideration. A Virtual White Elephant Gift that would be perfect for a friend gathering may not be appropriate for family or work.
  • Ditch the idea of Grandma’s flowered wall clock in favor of a gift that will bring a smile to the recipient’s face, every time they use it.
  • Choose a gift that is funny and takes up more space than it’s worth but yet has an actual use.
  • Purchase a humorous gift that you would steal and you think others would steal, too.
  • Abandon the idea of a real gift … you don’t want to be the person who brought a real gift to a Virtual White Elephant Christmas Party.
  • Find a gift that is useful but ridiculous because of the space it takes or the laughs it will invoke, from others.

White Elephant Gift Ideas Perfect For A Virtual Exchange

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase through an affiliate link, we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Disclosure.

If you’ll be mailing your White Elephant Gifts, after the party, you’ll want to keep in mind the shipping costs. While the Squatty Potty may be a great gift idea, it might be best to have it shipped, directly from Amazon, to the giftee, since its size may make it a significant expense to ship.

Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Guy

Small enough to fit on your desktop … big enough to make you smile!

Dancing With Jesus

This is AWESOME! Jesus has a sense of humor, right?

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Rainbow In My Room

Do you get excited when you see a rainbow in the sky? What if your gift recipient could have one in their room? How awesome would that be?

Umbrella Hat

Check out this cool umbrella hat! It won’t keep your shoulders dry but it’s hands free … maybe … unless it’s windy, which it often is when it rains.

Slipper Mops

Who wouldn’t want this most excellent gift? Keep your feet warm AND clean the floors at the same time. That’s a win! Now if you’re cleaning up liquids … ewww!

GlowBowl – Motion Activated Toilet Nightlight

For your friends who don’t want to blind themselves by turning on the light in the middle of the night. The GlowBowl is motion activated and ensures you hit the right spot!

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Fanny Pack

For some strange reason, fanny packs have gotten a bad rap. Personally, I think they’re awesome for traveling or when you need to have your hands free. Sigh … I’ll keep wearing mine even if it is the perfect White Elephant gift!

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The Dad Bag

Oh my goodness! This is the most hilarious thing I’ve seen yet AND the PERFECT White Elephant gift! It’s a fanny pack that gives you a Dad Bod! <<< Check it out!

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The Bobcat Mullet

Who Doesn’t need a mullet to remind us of times past … or times present, in some cases.

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Banana Slicer

Slice your banana with one quick motion! Gift this Banana Slicer with print offs from the reviews and it’s sure to be a hit!

Here’s one 2 star review: “I tried the banana slicer and found it unacceptable. As shown in the picture, the slicer is curved from left to right. All of my bananas are bent the other way.”

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Taco Holder

Keep your tacos intact with this lovely dinosaur Taco Holder. Holds two tacos!

Etch A Sketch

This Etch A Sketch is sure to bring out the kid in everyone! Watch them clamor over this gift with fond memories and creativity!

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Nerf Gun

There’s nothing like a Nerf Gun to bring out the kid in you!

Potty Putter

Get a little practice in every time you go to the bathroom. It even comes with a “Do Not Disturb” door hanger. How about that?

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Potty Fishing

If there’s a fisherman at your White Elephant party … this might be right up their alley!

Leg Lamp Nightlight

A Christmas Classic from the movie, A Christmas Story.

Groot Succulent Planter

The lovable Groot, from Guardians Of The Galaxy is here to hold your plants or pens and pencils!

Screaming Goat

Ever feel like screaming? Save your voice and let the Screaming Goat do the screaming for you!

Pizza Blanket

Cozy up in a giant Pizza Blanket! Or … can you imagine … wrap yourself up in this blanket at the kids’ sporting events … how fun is that? The kids will either think you’re too cool for school or die of embarrassment. Either way, it’s a win!

Grilled Cheese Toaster

Grilled Cheese … an all time favorite of many … now has it’s very own toaster. Certainly, the space it takes in the cupboard will far outweigh its’ worth. That makes it a Perfect fit for a White Elephant gift!

Beard Beanie

Hey, hey … stay stylish and warm with this Beard Beanie. Add Christmas ornaments to the beard and you’re set!

Squatty Potty

The gift that works for White Elephant OR Dirty Santa parties! It’s funny … yet incredibly useful for taking care of business.

Raining Men Umbrella

Laugh at the rain with this Raining Men Umbrella!

Mermaid Tail

The recipient of this gift can transform themselves into a magnificent mermaid! Sure … it’s made for kids … I gotta say … this mermaid tail was a hit at one of our Christmas parties … and it wasn’t a kid who became a mermaid!

Lava Lamp

It’s useful, it’s mesmerizing, it’s sooo NOT a necessity. The Lava Lamp is just interesting enough to get stolen at a White Elephant Party!

Leg Lamp

Seriously … this Leg Lamp is way too expensive for a White Elephant Party but it’s pretty cool! Definitely worth fighting for! Plus … what’s a White Elephant gift exchange without a Leg Lamp?

Virtual White Elephant Gift Tracker

Virtual White Elephant Gift Tracker to print

Virtual White Elephant Gift Tracker – Google Sheet

Virtual White Elephant Gift Tracker on Google Sheets

It may be a drag that you can’t get together with your family and friends this holiday season but you can still have FUN with your own Virtual White Elephant Game!

White Elephant in a computer screen with the words: How To Do A Virtual White Elephant Gift Exchange

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Virtual Dirty Santa Gift Exchange

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