White Elephant & Secret Santa gifts

Erin Parro

The holidays are upon us and there is a lot to get done before December 25 rolls around. Learning the rules of secret Santa and white elephant games could be the last thing on the list to get done.

Here are the rules to the games and how to purchase the right gift for each of these games.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a fun and easy way for a group of friends, co-workers or family to come together and exchange gifts during the holidays.

Secret Santa can have many variations of how to go about giving gifts. Here are step by step rules to the generic version of secret Santa.

1. Write everyone’s name on a different piece of paper.

2. Toss the paper with the names written on them, into a hat or bowl.

3. Set a price limit.

4. Each person draws a piece of paper with a name on it.

5. Set a date that you will all get together to exchange gifts.

6. Purchase the gift.

7. Exchange the gift.

Here a few ways to go about choosing the right secret Santa gift.

1. Make sure it’s appropriate for the person you choose.

2. Keep it practical.

3. Consider making the gift.

4. Depending on how well you know the person you could always get something more personal for someone you know well versus something more generic for someone you do not know as well.

White Elephant

For starters, the goal of white elephant games are usually to entertain rather than to gain.

To have a successful white elephant exchange there needs to be at least six people. All attendees need to bring a wrapped gift. White elephant gifts tend to be funny, useless or inconvenient nothing expensive or meaningful.

Rules of the Game:

1. Everyone will draw a number that will determine when they will take their turn.

2. The game consists of rounds where gifts can be stolen from other players.

3. Anyone who has a gift stolen from them becomes the player and can steal from another or open a new gift.

4. Every round ends when a new gift is opened from the gift table.

Rules for Stealing:

1. Each gift can only be stolen once per each round.

2. When a player is trying to decide what to take, you should hold up your gift if it’s still eligible to be stolen. Hiding gifts is not allowed.

3. Decisions for stealing should be made as quickly as possible. If they begin to take too long and the game seems as if it will go on forever, a kitchen timer will be used to limit decisions to two minutes each.

How the Rounds Work:

Round 1: The person who drew a 1 picks a gift from the gift table and opens it.

Round 2: The person who drew a 2 can either open a gift from the table or steal the gift from person 1. If the gift is stolen from 1, then 1 opens a new gift.

Round 3: Person 3 can choose to steal the gift from 1 or 2 or open a new gift. If the gift is stolen from 1 or 2, they become the player and can either steal the gift from the remaining player or decide to end the round by opening a gift.

Rounds 4 and on: The game continues with stealing and opening until the last gift is opened.

Possible last round: If the person who drew 1 still has the same gift they opened and never had a chance to steal, one final round will be conducted with person 1 starting as the player.

Here are a few ideas for choosing a white elephant gift.

Typical White Elephant Gifts: Trinkets, strange knick knacks or unidentifiable kitchen items are a safe bet for gift ideas.

Funny Gifts: Be as sassy and sarcastic as you can when purchasing a funny gift.

The ‘Lame’ Gift: Anything that someone might buy on a day to day basis, would probably be considered a ‘lame’ gift, but others would find it useful.

The ‘Amazing’ Gift: Be the one to bring a gift that everyone is ‘stealing’ from each other.