According to Wikipedia; the White elephant gift exchange is a popular party game usually played during the Christmas season in the United States and Canada.
The wiki has also compiled the most popular rules of game play as well. Get them here.
This post is not about the rules or the definitions, but rather how to do this fun activity online.
Most people in the US and Canada play the game of White Elephant, Yankee Swap, Dirty Santa or Chinese Exchange pretty much the same way. Most join a host at ether a home or a community center for the gift exchange party. The sponsoring host sends out invitations by phone, mail or email and announces a time and location. Many hosts express a spending limit such as $25 gift maximum, and some provide a theme for the party.
What we are suggesting is that this party can be moved online and mimic most of the features that benefit attendees of traditional white elephant parties. In fact, the party communications can actually be enhanced using many of the online tools. Online versions can reach out to people all across the country and save traveling costs.
How is the online version played? Well, we have heard it played using email where images can be attached and sent. We have seen it played on social sites like Ning, where videos can become part of the fun. A commercial version is coming to Facebook, with these enhancements and plus many more.
The online variation of this gift exchange has a host or organizer, just like before. There are invitations, usually delivered by email or on Facebook wall posts. Attendees RSVP to the host, select gifts that they want to share and then make sure that the image of the gift is available for the party.
Just like the traditional white elephant exchange, the online versions build upon friendly banter and the stealing of gifts to create the fun. In the online space, the conversation shows up on the screen and the images of the gifts replace the pile of gifts in the middle of the actual room.
In the end, every one enjoys the time together as family and friends. But what is exciting about the online style gift exchange is that these events can last 2 or 3 weeks and the memories forever.
So if you are looking for a variation on the old standby, try going on online for your white elephant gift exchange this time.
Have you tried the party online?