Rules for white elephant gift exchange games

White elephant gift exchange game rulesThis party game is one of the most popular gift exchanges on the planet.

Millions share fun gifts between family and friends using the white elephant gift exchange game . This party game is played with friendly groups both big and small during every holiday of the year…

That is why we boldly state that – White Elephant Rules!

Speaking of rules – The following are the traditional rules for the white elephant gift exchange.

NOTE: There some variations to these basic rules, so we will attempt to make a note when there are other options to explore. You should examine our site to find all of the unique ideas available. Trying new gift exchange games makes the white elephant party “RULE” the gift giving world even more!

Standard Game Play Rules

The game begins by gathering all players into their seats and identifying the leader of the game; usually the host of the party.

Next, 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 non-traditional white elephant gift exchange.

All white elephant gifts should be placed in the center of the seating area prior to the beginning of the game.

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. NOTE: 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 player #1 so you will need to see individual rule sheets for these games.

Most hosts require that the opened items 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, player #2 gets the choice of “stealing” any unwrapped item (#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.

Ideas for white elephant gift exchange parties
In all games there is no immediate steal-backs allowed ( person #1 cannot re-steal the item 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.

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 item (#1’s or #2’s) or choosing a wrapped one.

White elephant game continues:

1. – If a item 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 has ended when a item 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. NOTE: This is the standard rule for 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 itemavailable (not stolen 3-times) for the taking.  NOTE: There are some people who choose to not have the first person make the final selection. This is up to you.

The game then ends and everyone takes home the gift that they ended with.

There are several gift exchange games that use similar rules for game play.  These may be called Yankee Swap, Rob Your Neighbor, Chinese Gift Exchange and more. Go here for 31 gift exchange games

You are going to love this Party!