How to Throw a Rad White Elephant Party – Rules, Gift Ideas + a Fun Retro Decor Twist!


How to Throw a White Elephant PartyChristmas is less than 2 weeks away and you need a Friendsmas party theme STAT. May we suggest a White Elephant party?! This historical holiday get-together goes by many names. Whether you’re familiar with it being called Yankee Swap, Dirty Santa, Cutthroat Christmas, or the classic White Elephant, this game gets any party rollin’! Today we’re sharing 1-2-3 easy steps to throw a rad White Elephant party; PLUS funny gift ideas, and a cute twist on decorating for this holiday classic. Let’s get started!

White Elephant Party Rules

Just like the name, party rules may vary so make sure everyone’s on the same page. Here are our main tips:

1. Set a price limit for the gifts. Typically, $10-20 works great! And, if you’re interested, keep with a fun theme! Gift themes can be as general as ‘holiday’ – or they can be silly, or specific (like for the retro White Elephant party theme we chose).

2. The gift-giver’s identity should stay a secret. To ensure this, a fun tip for party arrival is have attendees place their gifts in baskets by the door, so no one sees who brought which gift.

3. Number pieces of paper. Have 20 guests? Number 1-20, and have each guest take a number. The guest who picks number 1 goes first; picks a wrapped gift + opens it. Then, number 2 can steal (swap) that gift or pick a new one (and so on…) If the first guests’ gift is stolen, they pick from the pile.

Simple, right?! Guests will have so much fun playing the game, and YOU can even have fun shopping for your White Elephant party gift.

White Elephant Gift ideas


Funny White Elephant Gifts


1. Silicone Wine Glass or Cup Holder Cupholder for The Bath Tub & Shower – Who doesn’t need this?! HA! Such a fun (and pretty useful!) gift idea.

2. Lux Lipstick Mini Pill Kit – Perfectly sized, these little pills pack a punch of juicy, gorgeous lip color! They also come in a matte palette we love.

3. Boba Tea Night Light – Who can resist that cute smile? If ya love some sweet delicious boba (bubble tea), then you’ll love this little fella keeping you company, bedside…or maybe even a night light in the kitchen for late snacks :)

4. Golden Girls Chia Pet – They have the whole gang! Such a funny one…

5. Baby Yoda – Everyone will be fighting over this cutie!!

6. Probably Wine Mug – I mean, right?! When is this not true! … they also have Probably Beer and Probably Whiskey :)

7. Drinking Animals Coloring Book – They say coloring is a way to relax and this is such a fun concept with animals drinking cocktails :)

8. Carry On Cocktail Kit Moscow Mule – This is one gift I would definitely fight for!

9. Office Colors Colored Pencils – Which color are you? No matter which character from The Office you most identify with, you’ll find the perfect color + a funny theme from this beloved show. And if not, this mug is always a classic.

10. Spaghetti Monster Colander Strainer – Don’t let his pretty eyes fool you, this spaghetti monster is a straining master. And if you’re planning a spaghetti dish, this noodly master will grant your wish!

11. Cereal Killer Spoon – the perfect gift for a cereal lover!

12. Mean Girl Magnets – This magnet kit is like really pretty. Everyone needs these classic quotes on their fridge. They’re SO fetch.

13. Bob Ross Bobblehead – Ah, the joy of painting. This bobblehead figure plays 10 different wise + witty sayings from the art master himself! And if you’ve got the creative bug, he has a coloring book.

14. Pizza Flavored Candy Canes – Thinking we need to order these for the GWS office just to try! Pizza candy canes?! They also have mac n cheese, pickles and bacon!! hmmm….

With so many fun gift ideas, you’ll have everyone swapping for YOUR White Elephant surprise at the party.

Now that you’re set with a gift, it’s time to decorate!

This year, we wanted to give a fun twist to our White Elephant party with a bit of a retro theme. Picking a party theme can help you narrow down your decor, and make your bash a memorable one. And what’s more festive than a bit of retro for the holidays?! Turn on some Frank Sinatra holiday tunes, add a bunch of bottle brush trees and a few classic cocktails! It only takes a few majorly on-theme pieces to bring your party theme together.

Here’s how we created our look:


White Elephant Entertaining Decor Ideas


1. Mid-Century Rolling Bar Serving Cart – Mid-century magic! Elevate your party’s look (and theme) with this chic bar cart. Not only can you feature it at your holiday parties, but you can add it to your dining room or kitchen as a stunner decor piece! Some are round and some are square :)

2. Pink Wool Tassel Garland – We think that every party needs cute garland. We love the colors on this one – and you can use for other parties throughout the year! Bright colors paired with gold Christmas stars jazz up any space!

3. Festive Gold Old Fashioned Glasses – Keep those retro vibes going! This elegant glassware set perfectly pairs our bar cart + works to celebrate any occasion. Give a holiday toast with this perfect set!

4. Tinsel Garland – This is total retro here and perfect to add some decor for your food area, tree or around the stair banister.

5. Warm + Cozy Campfire Mug – The perfect mug for a cup of hot cocoa or to use as a display container.

6. Round Marble/Teak Wood Serving Board – Perfect to serve a decant cheeseboard on! Plus, this is great to have for any other upcoming parties.

7. Decorative Hexagon Wood Tray – Now this is polished. This contemporary serving tray will steal the show at your holiday party as guests pass around cheese + other delicious treats. The modern design is impressive and spacious enough for glassware and bottle of bubbly!

8. Old Hollywood Gold Cheese Tools – Every party needs some cheese + every block of cheese needs a chic knife! You can’t go wrong with these simple + chic gold cheese tools.

9. Gold Starburst Paper Straws – Every cute cocktail needs a cute accessory! These gold straws come in a variety of different festive patterns, and are biodegradable! Win-win.

10. Collapsable Pop Up Tinsel Christmas Tree – This puppy is 5 ft high! The coolest, pop up tinsel tree for your party (will travel). And it’s just as sparkly as you always dreamed it would be.

11. Bottle Brush Christmas Trees – These retro-colored Christmas trees would make for the perfect party centerpiece arrangement, or mantle decor! Play around with this palette, or maybe have some rainbow tree fun!

12. Retro Vintage Style Christmas Elf Figurines – these guys are so cute! Perfect to deck out your food buffet or above your fireplace!

We hope that was helpful for throwing a last minute fun party for friends and/or family – or if you just needed an idea for your office white elephant party! Happy Holidays!!