White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules Compared

Posted by PartyWeDo on Monday, June 27, 2011

White Elephant Gift Party Rules

The most complete list of gift exchange rules anywhere!

White elephant and Yankee Swap rules by PartyWeDoThe white elephant and secret Santa exchanges are the most popular gift swapping parties for groups during the holidays. Similar group parties are used by direct sales companies like Tupperware every day of the year. The PartyWeDo recreational experts monitor the gift exchange industry to assist you in finding the best ways to share presents with family and friends. Our team has collected the most complete list of gift exchange rules and suggestions available on the web. We encourage you to share these ideas with your friends and family.

On the right side of the page is a line of buttons that will take you to various white elephant and other gift swap ideas. We hope that you will try any variety of these great party games for your next group gathering.



Your Going to LOVE a White Elephant Party!

In every style of gift exchange game there is a requirement that everyone bring a wrapped white elephant gift to the party. Keeping the identity of the purchaser secret is an important part of the fun. Some gift exchange games like the White Elephant Secret Shopper game use the secret identity of each purchaser as a part of the fun so secrecy is critical. Do not put your name on the gift, and try to be as stealthy as possible with your present delivery to the party host.

It is the responsibility of the party host to collect and administer the items for the exchange. Some hosts require that all wrapped white elephant gifts arrive in a garbage bag to conceal their identity. It is recommended that hosts meet players at the door to collect the items and to keep track of how many packages are available for the exchange. Most gift exchanges require that all of the gifts are gathered together in one spot for the game-play activity. Hosts should set up the room so that all players can have easy access to the presents during the exchanging process.

Gifts are the center piece of a successful exchange party so the host must establish some rules or guidelines for the white elephant gifts.

The white elephant or Yankee Swap gifts should:
* Have a suggested price range… Hosts should set a price limit for purchases so that people don’t become to extravagant or go too cheap. Most exchange party items fall between 15 and 35 dollars each. The exception to this rule is the Bridal Gift Exchange Party or the Birthday Gift Exchange Party where pricing is not so much of an issue, because the bride or birthday person is getting all the presents anyway.
* Be tasteful… This is a very subjective rule depending upon the crowd that is invited to the party. The host should give some guidelines concerning adult themes or other embarrassing products if some of the invitees might find them offensive. Don’t stifle the creative or fun white elephant gifts from coming to the party, just be sensitive to the crowd and use common sense.
* Inspire conversation…. Creating fun banter and friendly conversation is the hallmark of a great party. Suggest to all players that they use some creativity when it comes to selecting a gift.

Here are some Gift Ideas to get your creative juices flowing from the AlbinoPhant marketplace.

15 Dollar White Elephant Gifts

20 Dollar White Elephant Gifts

25 Dollar White Elephant Gifts

30 Dollar White Elephant Gifts

35 Dollar White Elephant  Gifts


Finding gifts that are a balance between useful, desirable and just plain wacky is an art-form for the better gift exchange shoppers. Gift shopping for this type of party can be one of the most rewarding parts of the activity.

White Elephant gift parties have two schools of thought when it comes to gifts. One side suggests that white elephant gifts should come from the back of the closet or the dusty storage room. These people would love to play a White Elephant Regifting game, were all gifts are used or barely used. The other group follows a more historical perspective, suggesting that in ancient Siam white elephants were highly prized and important gifts (learn more about the Albino Elephants of Siam HERE). This group plays the gift exchange with newly purchased items. Ether way is perfectly fine and should work with any of the gift exchange rules listed here on the AlbinoPhant online white elephant party site.

The host must also decide before hand how the game playing order will be administered. A gift exchange is a turn-based activity, where players are selected randomly to take a turn in the game.

White elephant game variations…

If the host chooses the White Elephant Spin the Bottle game, then attention must be paid to the room set-up and finding a bottle to spin. Most hosts use a numbering system and a container (hat, pot, basket, or bag) to provide a random number selection system. This will require several slips of paper with numbers to correspond to the number of items brought to the game. In the Online White Elephant Party the players are selected with a computer-controlled randomizer software program.

Standard Game Play

The game begins by gathering all players into their seats and identifying the leader of the game; usually the host is this person, but it could be anyone assigned to that duty. The rules of the party should be reviewed so that everyone is clear as to what to expect during the white elephant game. Remember to pay attention to unique rules if you are doing an exchange that is not traditional.

All game play items should be placed in the center of the seating area prior to the beginning of the game.

NOTE: We will describe the basic rules of game play for a traditional gift exchange activity and try to mention where there are variation in other types of white elephant gift parties.

The leader then uses the random selection devise (bottle or numbers in the container), to identify the first player of the game.

On the first turn, person #1 chooses a gift, opens it, and displays it to all of the other players. In the case of the White Elephant Gift Auction, the White Elephant Caroling Exchange or White Elephant Left Right games there will be other requirements for person #1 (see individual rule sheets for these games. Most hosts require that the opened gifts remain in full view of all players during the game (no “squirreling-away” a desirable gift from the other players).

The leader randomly selects the next player in the gift exchange.

On the second turn, person #2 gets the choice of “stealing” any unwrapped gift (#1’s) or choosing a wrapped one from the gift pile.

If the second player “steals” the gift from person #1, then person #1 can choose a replacement gift from the pile of wrapped presents. In all games there is no immediate steal-backs allowed ( person #1 can not re-steal the gift just taken by person #2) Stealing back a gift that was once in your possession must wait at least one-turn removed before stealing it back.

NOTE:  You will discover that the most exciting and unique white elephant gifts will build the most conversation.  Usually there will be one or two stand-out gifts that will get the conversation going and will be the target of most of the stealing.  We can’t stress enough that part of the fun of the party is the finding the best white elephant gift and then watching how your friends and family react to what you purchased, once it is revealed.  Now back to the rules…

The leader randomly selects the next player in the gift exchange game.

On the third turn, person #3 gets the choice of “stealing” any unwrapped gift (#1’s or #2’s) or choosing a wrapped one. Game continues based on the following:

1. – If a gift is stolen from you, you can steal a gift from someone else (see #3 and #4 below), or open a new one.

2. – Turns proceed until everyone has a gift. A turn is ended when a gift is opened and displayed to everyone.

3. – A gift cannot be stolen more than once in a turn.

4. – The third “owner” of any stolen gift gets to keep it – it is unavailable to be stolen again. This is the rule in the White Elephant 3 Steal game, but is completely broken in the White Elephant Commando party.

At the end of the last turn, the first person (who had no choice at the beginning) can choose to “exchange” any gift with any player that has a gift available (not stolen 3-times) for the taking. There are some people who choose to not have the first person make the final selection. This is up to you.

The game ends.

The Christensen Family Tradition is Shared

Our family has enjoyed white elephant parties for many years as a way to save money on sharing presents. When our children left the nest we started playing the game online. AlbinoPhant is the online white elephant party that you can play with family and friends that don’t live close by. We have built this party game so that you host and then enjoy all of the same functions of the party that you would have at home, but with some exciting twists. If you and your guests have an email address and a computer you can play AlbinoPhant. We make the hosting process seamless and completely electronic.

This online party keeps track of your invitation list and then let’s you know who has RSVP’d to your party. You can set the pricing of your white elephant gifts for a level playing field. AlbinoPhant provides all of your guests a great gift shopping experience with markets powered by Amazon.

The game is structured just like the traditional party so you will see all the wrapped gifts and watch as gifts are opened and displayed. AlbinoPhant keeps track of who has which gift and randomly picks the turns. There is a comment area where players can express their thoughts and create lively banter. The extra benefits include picture posting and Youtube videos that will add to the fun. It is a social game that mimics everything that you would do in your living room at a regular gift exchange party. We know that you will have a great time in this online white elephant party…

If you want to give an online white elephant gift party a try you can use offer code 1234 when you host your own AlbinoPhant party.



We are always looking for unique ways to play the white elephant gift exchange party. If you have something to share, please send us an email at partywedo@gmail.com or post your idea here on this post.


If you would like some other fun ideas for gift exchanges please explore other pages on this site. Have a great party!


The AlbinoPhant site can be your resource for many gift exchange events. If you are looking for Invitation ideas or Decorations and Treats you can find them on the pages of this gift exchange resource site. We are passionate about the white elephant gift exchange system and suggest this activity for any and all gift sharing events in your world.


Categories: Party Resource File, White Elephant Gift Exchange Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules ComparedComment RSS feed

  • cialis online
    March 12th, 2013 5:59 am

    Woah this weblog is wonderful i really like reading your posts. Keep up the great work! You already know, a lot of persons are looking round for this info, you can help them greatly.

Leave a Reply