December 1, 2009

The Broke Socialite's Guide To White Elephant Party Gifts

If I had a dollar for every White Elephant holiday soiree that I've been invited to this season, I could knock $10 off those fab D & G pumps below. Once you get to the party, it's always, always great but the drama which leads up to the actual swap can be ulcer-inducing. TBS to the rescue!

On average, I see that the price limit is $20 or so; this isn't so bad. I've gotten a couple of invitations with $50 gift limits...ummm, yeah, no. I had to decline (gracefully, no doubt). After all (and let's say it together again), I AM The BROKE Socialite.

What To Bring:
So, assuming the target limit is $20, I thought I'd offer some gift ideas (ohhh, you're very welcome!):

*If there are lots of cube dwellers involved in the swap, try the Cubicaller(tm), a cubicle doorbell. What a cool idea, huh?

*Nesters in the fold? Who doesn't love natural kitchen cleaners? For $11.25, Caldrea offers a sweet set with dish soap, countertop cleanser and two sponges. Doesn't the ginger pomelo sound lovely?

*If the audience is comprised of women, who doesn't love a nice wrap? Target offers a nicely weighted wraps. Opt for a neutral color.

*Desk Calendar = A Year's Worth of Inspiration.

*Amongst friends who like takeout? Isn't this the coolest? This takes organization to a whole new plane.

-Don't bring anything that you wouldn't want to receive. Simple.

-Understand the notion of gift limit. If you find a great contribution that's $15, you've saved $5. Don't be pressured to spend exactly $20.

-Be creative. Candles and wine are always nice but can be overdone in this environment. And certainly (though at a point, it may seem tempting) do not come bearing a $20 gift certificate. That's just...well...lazy.

-Don't forget to wrap the gift.

-Discreetly place your contribution on the "gift table".

-Eliminate the pressure by picking up items throughout the year and it will be breeze.

-Have fun!

Have you participated in any White Elephant parties this holiday season? Any gift ideas to share?


  1. This is great. I'm going to a Dirty Santa exchange next week!

  2. I am so glad you did this. I have a White Elephant party at work next Friday! I'm on my way to Target for that wrap!

  3. @jtbrown...awwww, so glad I could help! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. (Hmmmm...thinking of ways I can rig the gift exchange to make sure I get TBS's gift...hmmmmm...)

  5. I try to come up with something clever- like a DVD and gift certificates for two to AMC - pick a classic or an 80s fave (ideally something that somehow connects to a movie that's playing now, like maybe "Legally Blonde" since RW is in "Four Christmases" now if it's an all chick party)...Or a Blockbuster gift certificate in a "gift basket" popcorn and candy bucket...

  6. Everyone in my office has a Mac. You can never go wrong with iTunes gift card. Everyone loves music.


  7. I am in this pickle right now! Our book club is exchanging gifts and it was decided that we'd do purses. However, I've not been able to find one that is both something that I'd carry myself and in the $20 limit. I have exactly two weeks left and I'm starting to panic.

  8. My husband's family did this for the holidays a few years ago. It was a knock down, drag out kinda day. People were angry, there was some crying and lots of evil laughing. Some people clearly picked up their gift on the way to the event (from the gas station, no less - fuzzt dice, anyone?) Others spent well over $100 and the limit was $25. So very stressful. It was not fun at all!

    However, I did this at a job several years back and loved it. We had a wonderful time!

    You can also do themed exchanges like candles, ornaments, etc. Those are very fun as well.

    P.S. I am really loving your blog.

  9. there should be NO panic about these kind of parties...make it fun...w./ my friends we make it (sorta) mandatory that the gift is "re=gifted" from your house...spend no money...make it fun - we love it!

  10. We have this crap every f'ing at the office party. I go out of my way to find the worst piece of crap that I can. Hate playing this game now.

  11. Im not a fan of thes but they always happen in my workplace. This year someone purchased a $15 gifcard for a local coffee cream shop and that was the gift everyone wanted.


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