White Elephant Gift Exchange

Every year around Christmas time, people are always going through the same motions of holiday music, cookies and gift exchanges. But there are ways to spice up this pattern and step out of the same routine. For example, the White Elephant Gift exchange!

This unique and fun game will bring friendly competition and holiday spirit together. It gives a sense of curiosity and excitement for everyone.

“I’ve actually never heard of this game, but it sounds pretty fun,” says freshman Brooke Leggings.

To play the game, have each participant bring a wrapped gift of their choice to contribute. Usually, groups of six or more make the game more interesting—the more the merrier. Count how many people are in the group and assign randomly each person a number even with the number of people playing. Then, in order, each person will pick an item out of the bunch of gifts and open it in front of everyone. The person that goes after them can either choose to open a random gift or to steal the previous persons gift if they want it. Any person in any order can take an opened present, but the person they took that present from can either choose to steal another gift or to re-open a new one. The only rule to stealing gifts, is that they cannot steal back the gift that was taken from them during that turn. At the end of the game everyone has a gift and is pumped up from the adrenaline from trying to get the best present.

Not only does this game bring out a fun and different style of exchanging gifts, it’s a great thing to do with family and friends to bond.

“I play the White Elephant Gift exchange every year with my family,” says junior Sierra Savaro. “It’s really entertaining and lets me show my competitive side.”

The history of this unique game is said to have come from Ezra Cornell (as in Cornell University). He was often at parties and social gatherings and he started the term “White Elephant” to describe the kind of parties they were and the name stuck. The game became very popular throughout the United States and spread all throughout Canada as well.

So if the holidays start to seem repetitive then maybe try introducing this to the family or even in a group of friends. There’s no harm in doing something different and even if it’s not found interesting, at least a gift is gained in the process.

“I really recommend for anyone to try this game out and there’s not a single person I’ve played this with who hasn’t found it fun,” says Savaro.