White Elephant parties explained

White Elephant gift exchanges can add a spark to your holiday party. Though as the host, be prepared to throw away 150 pounds of worthless crap that your guests leave behind. (Who wants to lug home a broken scanner/copier/fax with unused magenta ink cartridge?)

Shorty and Kim recently hosted a holiday party and their White Elephant exchange went very well. We had a wide range of packages, boxes and burlap sacks that filled the spectrum of textbook White Elephant gifts. I thought it would be a public service to utilize photos from the party to demonstrate the different types of gifts you will see at a White Elephant.

The Re-Gift
The simplest form of White Elephant is the re-gift. This is a present that was given to you by someone who thought you might actually need or want it. Be sure to wipe the dust off the box before you wrap it.

{S’Mores Maker – Comes with everything you need to make s’mores except marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate and fire.}

The Re-re-gift
A classic! This is a gift that is given with the intention of having it re-gifted at a later date. The gift is usually campy and has a light on the inside of it. If you give a re-re-gift and see it sitting on your friend’s bookshelf, you have failed. If you receive the same re-re-gift back again ten years later at another White Elephant party, you have succeeded.

{Purse Lamp with Faux Fur}

The Closet Gift
Most White Elephant gifts are selected ten minutes before the giver leaves for the party. The Closet Gift is pulled from the bottom junk closet and shoved in a gift bag right before the party starts. The Closet Gift does not come in a box and is thrown in a gift bag or it is wrapped as is. This usually leads to a lot of guessing to the wrapped contents during the selection process. “Hmmmm, I wonder what is inside the gift that is Alvin with a hula-hoop shaped?” If you go to enough White Elephant parties, you can get your spring cleaning done months in advance.

{Hula Hooping Alvin with looping, audio track}

Dog Turd
This little known but enticing gift is exactly what you think it is. Be sure to put the poop in a plastic bag with the date you collected it. Labeling the breed on the bag is optional. It is customary to add a few of your unused senior pictures in the box along with the dogshit.

{Dog Turds}

Fruit Cake
Surprisingly, fruit cake is the closest evidence we have to proving the existence of God. At any given White Elephant party, someone will bring a fruit cake. But somehow, against all odds, only one person brings THE fruit cake. Usually God will come to you in a dream and request that you bring the fruit cake. It is an honor. For years, atheists have been trying to bring additional fruit cakes to nay say, but somehow these bogus fruit cakes are “accidentally” left at home or “somehow” forgotten in the car. It has been recorded that Calista Flockhart was converted to Christianity at a White Elephant party in 1992 when our Lord came to her in a dream, in the form of a sandwich, to give her the task of bringing the fruitcake.

It is customary to also give a humorous hand painted holiday sign along with the fruit cake. Almighty God, we beseech thee, Amen.

{Fruit Cake and Humorous Hand Painted Holiday Sign}

Not Useless Yet
Sometimes you have valuable items at home that will expire at year’s end. Why not share the last dying gasps of a gift’s life with a friend? Calendars are a great Not Useless Yet gift. Condoms that are about to expire are also desirable. Frozen foods and canned items are acceptable. DO NOT GIVE COUPONS, ASSHOLE.

{"365 Days of Duct Tape Fixes Calendar"}

Grab Bag
This gift is similar to the Closet Gift except that it is several smaller items tossed together. Visibly used items are the key here. You’ll want to stop at the Quicky-Mart on the way over to top off the selection of items. It’s also best to wrap the items inside a burlap sack. Burlap is the new cotton.

{Candles, Whoopie Cushion, Several varieties of mints, brass candle holder basket- All wrapped up in a burlap bag (not in photo.}

Fiber Optics
This one is sure to get traded back and forth at the party! The Fiber Optic gift is the hardest to part with, but reaps the greatest reward. The multicolored changing lights. The rush to find an outlet to plug it in. The secondary rush to find the switch to turn off the lights. The 15 minutes it takes to figure out how to take a clear photo of the fucking thing! Brilliant!

{Fiber Optic Rotating Glass Penguin Sculpture}

The Odds Beater
You don’t know that you’ve given an Odds Beater gift until it is opened. You thought it was a Closet Gift or a Re-Gift, but what you don’t realize is the receiver of this gift was at Wal-Mart just that afternoon, thinking about buying said item. There is usually a bit of jumping up and down and “Oh my Gods!” Do not mention that you thought it was a piece of shit. Try this line, “Oh I was hoping that you were going to pick mine!”

{6.5” 120 Watt (peak) dual speakers}

At the end of the night, I ended up with a DVD copy of “Badder Santa” (the unrated version) and Miss Sally received an educational “You’re it. Get Fit!” DVD. We’ve got the makings for a Grab Bag for next year’s party.


K4F said...

Juan... thanks for the holiday laugh... I am pretty sad and was glad to have something that made me smile... Family is back in russia so... I got you babe... hahaha

Kristen said...

Juan, I went to a gift-exchange party last week, and, no kidding, somebody really did give a combo closet grab bag gift. It was a bunch of used items in a canvas bag.

But the gift I received was this horrible white hippo -- an empty perfume bottle plastered with cracked and peeling heart stickers.

You have to take your sense of humor to these parties!

Anonymous said...

Miss Sally...receives the "You're It. Get Fit!" DVD. There is no order in the universe.