White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules and Printables

The White Elephant Gift Exchange is easy on the budget and a fun way to celebrate with family and friends! Use our White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules and Printables to make your Christmas party a smashing success!

Why is it called White Elephant?

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.

The term White Elephant refers to a gift whose maintenance costs exceed its usefulness.

In the case of a White Elephant Gift Exchange, gifts are typically humorous ‘gag’ gifts or gifts that have been received but the recipient no longer has a use for. Unlike the Dirty Santa Gift Exchange, White Elephant gifts are generally more humorous than useful.

Check out these $10 White Elephant Gift Exchange Ideas.

A White Elephant Gift Exchange is budget friendly and FUN! These White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules and Printables will take your party over the top!

White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules and Printables

Many party goers don’t know the difference between a White Elephant and Dirty Santa party. Clarify what White Elephant gifts are so your guests won’t be the brunt of jokes when they bring a ‘real’ gift.

Often a $10 amount is placed on White Elephant gifts. It’s best to let your guests know the dollar amount you choose.

1. Place wrapped gifts in the center of the room.

When entering, have your guests place their gifts just inside the door to keep gifts anonymous.

2. Have each guest draw a number.

Oh, LOOK! I’m helping you out with this step! Just click the picture below for a PDF and you have this step covered. Bada Bing Bada Boom!White Elephant Numbers

3. The guest holding #1 goes first.

Who would’ve guessed?

4. Number one chooses a gift, unwraps it, and oohs and aahs before putting it on display for all to see.

Gifts must stay in view at all times and remain in their original packaging, if applicable. NO EATING THE FRUITCAKE!

5. Each subsequent guest has two options; they can either steal a gift from a guest who has gone before them or choose an unopened gift from the center of the room.


6. If a guest has their gift stolen, they can either steal from another or choose an unopened gift.

They may NOT steal the same gift that was just stolen from them until the next round.

7. Gifts can be stolen up to three times. A gift is frozen with the fourth owner.


Encourage your guest to steal. Stealing makes for a fun, lively game!

8. If number one has the same gift they started with, they may choose to trade with any unfrozen gift.


9. The jig’s up! Now wasn’t that a blast?


There are many variations to the White Elephant Gift Exchange rules. Just be sure you all are in agreement before you get the party started!

No one wants that laughter to turn to whining so, I’ve made yet another PDF for you! Yep! This one will ensure you’re all on the same page and everyone keeps smiling!

Print off a few and leave them scattered throughout the room. When that persnickety guest questions your motives, it’s all in fine print!

White Elephant Rules

Are you ready to party?

I’m wishing you a loud and boisterous White Elephant Gift Exchange full of laughter, fun, and useless, crazy gifts!

White Elephant Printable Rules and #’s 1 – 24

White Elephant Rules and Numbers

White Elephant Printable Rules and #’s 1 – 24


White Elephant Gift Ideas

$10 White Elephant Gift Exchange Ideas

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A White Elephant Gift Exchange is budget friendly and FUN! These White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules and Printables will take your party over the top!
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  • kay ~ the barefoot minimalist Dec 4, 2015, 1:08 pm

    This sounds like so much fun! I’ve never been to a Dirty Santa OR a White Elephant party. I’m going to start whining now, because I want to play! 🙂