The top 31 Gift Exchange Titles

Posted by PartyWeDo on Saturday, February 19, 2011

The top White Elephant Gift Exchange game names…

how-to pages for white elephant gift exchanges There is a debate as to what is the most popular multi-player holiday game. Many suggest that the White Elephant gift exchange is the title of the most popular game. Others say that it is the Secret Santa gift exchange.  Then there are the many other gift parties that do variations of the gift swap activity and they each have a name and a following of loyal players.White Elephant Party gifts

Because we sponsor an online version of the traditional white elephant gift party, we have decided to do some research and get to the bottom of this once and for all.  Our recreation specialists were tasked to discover and list each of the gift exchange game titles, using the internet.   Then we asked the research department to find a way to find a winner and rank the popularity of the different gift parties.

What we found is that there is a bunch of ways that people describe the gift exchange activity and yet many of the rules are the same. You can find all the gift exchange rules.

Other names for White Elephant Gift Parties

Yankee Swap

Scottish Gift Exchange

Chinese Gift Exchange

Chinese Christmas

Chinese Auction

Thieving Elves

Dirty Santa

Dirty Secret Santa

Thieving Secret Santa

The Present Game

Rob Your Neighbor

Dirty Christmas

Pollyanna Swap

Cajun Christmas

Devil’s Santa

Backward Auction

California Swap


Snatchy Christmas Rat

Gift Grab

Cutthroat Christmas

Nasty Christmas

Parcel Pass

Redneck Santa

White Elephant Gift Exchange

Rob a Santa

Grinch Exchange

Left Right Exchange

Scotch Auction

The Grinch Game

Eskimo bingo

NOTE:  If you know of other names, please add them in the comment box at the bottom of this page and we will add them to our listing and do the ranking.

After we had the list of White Elephant exchange party titles, we assigned the research staff to find a way to rank the names on a list, from most played to the least played…

That left them scratching their heads….  The problem is that these are played in homes, churches and offices everywhere, and so who do you, ask?


They used Google!

They used a Google Keyword Research Tool to discover how many people made a search for each of these titles within the last 12-months.  The idea is that if people are searching for the word, they must be searching for the party, right?  Well, right or wrong it is how we have ranked these gift exchange parties. We recorded the Global Average Monthly Search results for each of the gift exchange titles and got a ranking.

Google Keyword Ranked the Names

Google keyword ranking for white elephant parties

So here are the results of this highly scientific study of the most comprehensive list of White Elephant Gift Exchange game names…

NOTE: Some search results had less than 20 and did not record on the Google tool.

Secret Santa = 135,000 per month average searches
White Elephant Gift Exchange = 18,100
Yankee Swap = 9,900 (Popular in the NE)
Parcel Pass = 9,900 (Popular in England)
Chinese Auction Game = 9,900
The Grinch Game = 2,900
Chinese Gift Exchange = 2,900
Pass the Present = 1,600
Left Right Gift Exchange = 1,300
Dirty Santa game = 880
Nasty Christmas = 720
Rob Your Neighbor = 320
Chinese Christmas Game = 320
Redneck Santa = 320
Pollyanna Gift Exchange = 320
Dirty Christmas Game = 140
Gift Grab Game = 110
Dirty Secret Santa = 91
Grinch Exchange = 73
Thieving Secret Santa = 58
Thieving Elves = 46
Eskimo bingo = 46
Pirate Gift Exchange = 28
Backward Auction = 22
Scottish Gift Exchange = Did not record
Cajun Christmas Swap = Did not record
Devil’s Santa = Did not record
California Gift Swap = Did not record
Steal-a-Thon Game = Did not record
Cutthroat Christmas = Did not record
Rob a Santa Game = Did not record
Scotch Auction game = Did not record
Snatchy Christmas Rat = Did not record

The winner is Secret Santa with 135,000 average monthly searches, with the White Elephant Gift Exchange coming in second at 18,100 searches..  To be completely accurate, the Secret Santa activity is not really a game, but an activity mostly used to share gifts with individuals in a larger group.  Many of the others on these lists involve a gift exchanging party game. It should also be noted that the Chinese Auction Game is usually used as a fund-raising event for charities, but it did get 9,900 average searches in our study.  The Parcel Pass game is very popular in England and the Yankee Swap is a very well known replacement for the white elephant gift party in the Northeastern US..

We hope that this exercise in gift exchange party research will be helpful as you attempt to find great ways to share gifts with family and friends.  We think that you should try some of these out and then let us know how they went. We would also invite you to try out an Online White Elephant Party call AlbinoPhant. Our family has played this gift exchange party for several years and it perfect for groups that live too far apart to gather in one place, so they gather on the internet and share gifts and fun.

Our recreation experts have begun the process of compiling all of the rules, ideas and suggestions for each of these gift parties you see on this list. We will catalog them HERE as we get them organized, so you are welcome to return often and find out more about the white elephant gift exchange and its many fun cousins….

If you would like some other information on these titles we have linked to sites that are sharing more details.

Just click on the title.
Yankee Swap:
Scottish Gift Exchange:
Chinese Gift Exchange:
Chinese Christmas:
Chinese Auction:
Thieving Elves
Dirty Santa:
Dirty Secret Santa:
Thieving Secret Santa:
The Present Game:
Rob Your Neighbor:
Dirty Christmas
Pollyanna Swap:
Cajun Christmas:
Backward Auction
Snatchy Christmas Rat:
California Swap
Gift Grab:
Cutthroat Christmas:
Nasty Christmas
Parcel Pass:
Redneck Santa
White Elephant Gift Exchange
Rob a Santa
Grinch Exchange:

Left Right Exchange:

Scotch Auction

The Grinch Game
Devil’s Santa:
Eskimo bingo:

Do you know of any other variations?  Please leave us a comment and share your ideas…

Categories: White Elephant Gift Exchange Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “The top 31 Gift Exchange TitlesComment RSS feed

  • Jesko
    February 20th, 2011 5:35 pm

    Where exactly is the facebook like link ?

  • Robyn
    December 25th, 2016 10:58 pm

    Our family call it “the Robin Hood gift Game” or “Merry Mens’ Christmas” since robin hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor it’s the perfect title.

  • Val Colenso
    November 16th, 2018 1:27 pm

    I pastor two churches, and the Women’s Group does this every year. Believing that the language we use really does make a difference, I wanted to replace “Chinese gift exchange” with something that didn’t employ negative racial or ethnic stereotypes that could be used in a church setting (thus, no Dirty Santa, etc.). In my research I finally found a name that fit the description of what they do and yet was not offensive – Legal Steal. Kris Kringle Legal Steal, to fit the season.

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