Do you use Gift Cards at White Elephant Parties?

Posted by PartyWeDo on Monday, October 22, 2012

Gift cards in white elephant games?

Gift giving during the holidays adds a special feeling of closeness and social connection between family and friends.  If you choose to use a gift voucher for your next white elephant gift party you might find this short history lesson informative.

The History of Gift Voucher

Using gift cards in white elephant gift exchangeFor many many years, the humble gift card or voucher has been a staple gift for Christmas, Birthdays and Special occasions. For most of us, gift shopping can be nerve wracking as the pressure to get it right can be unbearable, or worse still, finding time to shop around every time there’s a birthday can be difficult. Gift vouchers have been a guilty savior for many a parent, friend and relative stuck for a present idea. It’s also estimated that 2012 will see the purchase of over $100 billion worth of gift cards. That’s a lot of gifts. But where did the idea for the humble gift voucher come from, and why are they so popular?

The first Gift Cards

The first form of gift voucher can be traced back to the UK, as is what is still known today as The Book Token. The book token was dreamed up by Harold Raymond, who was an English publisher. In the 1920s he felt sad that friends didn’t receive many books as gifts. He believed this was because gift givers feared that choosing a book was a personal thing. So Raymond started to work on a coupon called the Book Token that could be given as a gift so that the recipient could choose any book they liked. Shortly after the Book Token had become popular, the market leading chemist, Boots, also launched a voucher that could be used to buy anything from their store.

The Growing Popularity of Gift Vouchers

As gift cards proved popular and were a new way to show generosity, more and more stores began to introduce this new way of gift giving. In the 1980s, multi-store gift vouchers began to appear meaning that the person who received a voucher as a present had more choices in what they could buy and where they could spend their gift. In 2012, now 90% of stores online offer a gift voucher to buy. Although recently a trend for eco-friendly digital age gift givers has been to purchase e-vouchers, it’s now becoming more popular again to have a gift card as something to show for the purchase.

Decorated Gift Vouchers

Now that gift vouchers are competitive products, stores are finding new ways to present them and make them look more interesting to give as a gift. There are flowery printed cards, metallic cards, hologram cards and even cards that can allow us to print our own photographs on them. But still the 2d nature of the gift card means for some people it’s a boring gift.

Gift Voucher Giving in the 21st Century

To improve the experience of receiving a gift voucher, some clever designers in the US have come up with a cute way to disguise and present gift cards, but also make them exciting. Snomee gift card holders are a fun twist on the classic Snow Globe. This unique presentation would make the card more appealing within the white elephant gift exchange format. They have a section underneath the snow globe, which hides the gift card but also has space for a personal message. These clever little presentation boxes seem to be much more fun than hiding the gift card in a standard Christmas card and envelope, and as the little snow globes are collectable too, it seems like the Snomee is about to revolutionize gift card giving in the US


Lara Moreton is a lifestyle writer with an interest in vintage furniture, clothing and shopping.


Wacky white elephant gift ideas


We are passionate about white elephant gifts and white elephant gift exchange parties. We will do all that we can to make your experience with AlbinoPhant better than you can imagine.

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