Man opening Christmas gifts

Many companies and families host White Elephant Gift Exchanges now instead of purchasing gifts for everyone. It’s much more economical, but it’s also a lot of fun and brings quite a bit of entertainment to the group.

If you’ve never participated in a White Elephant Gift Exchange before, the rules are pretty simple. Each person brings one unmarked, wrapped gift. Everyone draws a number. Then everyone goes in order, picking a gift either from the stack of gifts or stealing from another party goer. Most people follow the rule that the gift can only be stolen three times, but the rules vary by group.

So what type of gift should you bring to a White Elephant Gift Exchange? Again, it will vary by the group of people. There will usually be a price range your gift should be within, and it will either need to be a classy gift or a gag gift. Some parties have a mix of types of gifts – those ones are a blast to participate in because you never know who will get stuck with the gag gifts.

With the trend to go green, eco-conscious gifts are sure to be a hit at your next White Elephant Gift Exchange. Here are 5 white elephant gifts that are environmentally responsible and sure to please.

Homemade Beauty Products

There will be plenty of ooh and aahs when the unwitting guest opens the box of handmade beauty products. It’ll likely be a gift that gets stolen more than once!

Sugar scrub cubes
Sugar scrub cubes. Image courtesy of Marilyn Sherman

Tasty Homemade Treats

Do you have a signature homemade recipe like canned jam or fudge? How about wrapping that up for the gift exchange? Just make sure it’s something people will enjoy! Of course a rock hard fruit loaf will get a laugh if your exchange leans towards the gag side of gifts.

Popular Gift Cards

Gift cards are always popular at White Elephant Gift Exchanges. Nothing gets wasted when the recipient gets to choose their own gift.

Experience Gifts

Instead of giving something tangible, why not give the gift of an experience? Choose a gift certificate for lessons, a play or a personal favor and watch that gift become a hot commodity at the party.


Ever receive a gift that was awesome and well thought out, but just not something that’s right for you? Set it aside to re-gift at a gift exchange. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right?

In addition to choosing a greener gift, another way to make your White Elephant Gift Exchange even more eco-friendly is to suggest everyone wrap their gift in reusable gift wrap! It’s a gift that comes with the gift.

Wine stopper regift
Wine stopper. Image courtesy of hmmlargeart

How will you green your next White Elephant Gift Exchange?

Feature image courtesy of Alexander Baxevanis

By Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.