The Best White Elephant Gift Ideas for Your Office’s Holiday Party

It’s that time of year where less work gets done as people count down the days before the office breaks for the holidays. 🎄

Now let’s address the elephant in the room: your work’s holiday party. It likely includes a white elephant gift exchange or secret santa. Secret santa gifts are better if they’re personalized, but some of the below gifts might be a good fit for your giftee!

During white elephant, nothing feels better than bringing the best gift that everyone fights over. The competition, the laughter, and the good-natured envy is all a part of the fun. (It’s also equally as entertaining to bring a gift that no one wants.)

Why Is It Called White Elephant?

Simply put, a white elephant is an item that costs more to maintain than its actual worth or usefulness. With this definition in mind, most white elephant gifts are something silly, fun, or impractical. It’s only natural that some gifts during the exchange are going to be more desirable than others, but that's the fun of it.

The term white elephant is said to come from a Siamese tradition where receiving a white elephant as a gift was a form of punishment from the King. While these creatures were beautiful and sacred, they were also incredibly expensive to care for, often causing financial burden for the recipient. This forced them to pretend gratitude, akin to many of us during the holiday season when receiving less-than-ideal presents. (We’ve all been there.)

How Does White Elephant Work?

The rules to white elephant are simple:

  1. Everyone brings a wrapped gift and places it under the tree (or on a table).

  2. Each attendee draws a random number to establish the order for choosing gifts.

  3. The first person selects a gift and opens it.

  4. The next person can either chose a new gift from the pile to unwrap or steal a gift that has already been opened.

  5. This process continues until everyone has a gift!

Some rule variations for white elephant include:

  • a cap on the number of times a gift can be stolen (e.g. 3 times max)
  • no stealing allowed (we don’t like this rule)
  • time limits (which can help if people take too long to decide what to do)
  • wrapping gifts in multiple layers, so each time the gift is passed around a new layer is unwrapped until it’s eventually revealed
  • creating a challenge that the person stealing has to complete in order to successfully steal the gift (e.g. singing a christmas carol)

White Elephant Gift Ideas

Don’t know what to bring to your work’s white elephant gift exchange? We have some fun, weird, and practical gift ideas for you — these are all work appropriate, of course!



Duck Light

Imagine this little duck keeping you company at your desk while you work. We’re sold.

Buy The Duck



Everyone loves stickers. Put ‘em in a really big box to fool your co-workers.

Buy Stickers


Pickleball Paddles

Get someone in your office hooked on this thrilling sport.

Let’s Play Pickle, Ball


Garlic Crusher

Kitchen tools with only one function suck — a garlic press is an exception to that rule.

Eat More Garlic


YETI Water Bottle or Tumbler

Because let’s be honest, no one at the office is meeting their water intake goals.

Stay Hydrated


Pizza Socks

If your office loves pizza as much as we do, these socks will be a hit. 🍕

Don’t Eat These


Foot Peel

Help prepare your coworkers who are going somewhere sunny for the holidays. Pair it with some sunscreen and ear plugs for the plane ride.



A Cookbook

You could buy any cookbook that’s under $25, but we recommend something funny like Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook.

Get Cookin’



Headlamps are insanely useful, but no one has one. Let’s change that.

Light It Up


Mini Waffle Maker

Everything is cuter when it’s smaller. The same thing applies to waffles.

Make Mini Waffles


Corn Candle

It’s shaped like corn, but apparently smells like bluebells. Pair it with another food candle (like this cheese candle) or with some fancy matches.



Bear Mug

One word: cute! Pair it with some tea or coffee for a complete gift.

Bear-y Adorable


This Thing

IT’S A CRAB AND IT HOLDS YOUR SPOON. We are ordering this immediately.

Need It


Friendship Bracelet Kit

Do you actually… get along with your co-workers? *gasp* Get this kit and become BFFs. (P.S. - this is also perfect for the Swifies in your office.)

Friends 4Ever


Fridge Organizers

We guarantee that at least one person in your office will want this.

Get Organized



If you live in a dry climate, you’ll go through a full tub of this in the winter. (Aquaphor is also great!) Pair it with some lotions and lip balms.

Say No To Dry Skin


The Last Dab: Xperience

Hate your co-workers? Get this. No one will want it. Chaos will ensue.

Hot Hot Hot


Desk Space Heater

Is there someone in your office who’s always cold? They’ll probably fight to get this gift.

Stay Warm



It’s a fun game that makes you use your noggin’. That’s why it’s on this list.

Crack the Code


Scrub Daddy

It’s the sponge that smiles back. Pair it with the Scrub Mommy and the Eraser Daddy for more cleaning goodness.

Get Scrubbing


Tiny Hands

Why? Just for fun.

So Smol


Serpentine Plant Pot

Have people in your office with green thumbs? Get this cute pot!

Grow Something


Bob Ross by the Numbers

Discover the joy of painting by recreating Bob Ross masterpieces, but miniature.

Happy Little Trees


Cleaning Putty

Apparently this is all the rage. This helps clean those hard to reach places in your car and the crevices in your keyboard.

Good Goo


Ring Holder & Jewelry Tray

An actual white elephant. How meta!


How to Wrap Your White Elephant Gift

There’s nothing wrong with wrapping your white elephant gift normally, but if you want to spice things up a bit, here are some fun ideas:

  • nest multiple boxes inside of one another
  • put a very small item in a large or medium sized box to mask what the item actual is (bonus points if you add something to change the weight and make it realistic)
  • put your gift in a balloon that they have to pop
  • wrap the item to look like a different item (e.g. wrapping a book to look like chair instead) this can be done with cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls, and other materials to “sculpt” how you want it to look
  • put your gift in a piñata
  • re-use what you have — newspaper, flyers, a scarf, etc. to wrap your gift

We hope that this guide gives you some A++ ideas for your work’s white elephant! Have fun. :)