Life·8 min read

How to Win the White Elephant Gift Exchange

Nov 18, 2019

We're bringing you tips and tricks to Celebrate Smarter this holiday season. Check it out.

The Story

White elephant gift exchanges used to be about battling it out for the funniest, most useless gift in the room. But these days, Shake Weights and canned unicorn meat just seem a little... wasteful. So, some groups are turning more toward unexpected, but useful, gifts.

Ok, like what? 

Something that won't sit under a desk or in a closet until next year. We've rounded up creative ideas other players will actually want. They're all $25 or less.

Something for the person who has a daily green juice habit...

A straw upgrade

$25.Five Two Silicone Straws

Why it’s smart: Plastic straws are bad for the environment. They’re too small to be recycled and then end up in our oceans. But paper straws are a soggy mess by the time you’ve finished your drink. Enter these reusable silicone straws that fold up into a little carrying case. Problem solved

Buy it

Something for the person who has a million hobbies…

Not-your-grandma’s puzzle

$15.Areaware Gradient Puzzle

Why it’s smart: Jigsaw puzzles help improve short term memory. This one is a simple color gradient which makes it both challenging and visually pleasing at the same time. When it's done, it looks like a piece of modern art to hang on your wall. 

Buy it

Something for the person who has Tide pens in their bag, their desk, their car…

Morning coffee that’s spill-proof (almost)

$15.Popsockets PopThirst Cup Sleeve

Why it’s smart: This reusable sleeve has a built-in pop grip (like the kind on the back of a phone) so you can keep a firm grip while getting caffeinated. Bonus: It also fits a pint glass, giving new meaning to ‘hold my beer.’

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Something for the person who waits for someone else to open the wine...

Send help

$17.99 (variable).Oster Electric Wine Bottle Opener

Why it’s smart:No more Googling ‘how to open a bottle of wine.’ This automatic opener uncorks up to 30 bottles on a single charge. Cheers. 

Buy it

Something for the person who quit coffee…

Take the edge off

$21.99.Infuser Glass Water Bottle

Why it’s smart: This glass bottle is the jack of all trades. It has a mesh basket that screws into the lid. So you can make tea (hot or cold) or infused water. The thick glass and neoprene sleeve mean the bottle won’t be too hot to hold. 

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Something for the person who wishes they had a green thumb…

The plant that doesn’t require one

$21.The Sill

Why it’s smart: This heart-shaped plant only needs to be watered once a month (a little more if it's in a bright windowsill). Plus, it's safe for pets so if your cat chews on it you don't have to worry. 

Buy it

Something for the person who always forgets their reusable cup at home…

A cup that’s actually portable


Why it’s smart: This collapsible coffee cup can hold a Grande but also shrinks down to fit in a makeup bag, purse, or pocket. So you can take it with you anywhere and say goodbye to throwaway cups. The planet will thank you later.

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Something for the person who never skips breakfast…

An egg-centric cookbook

$14.W&P Vol 1: Eggs Cookbook

Why it’s smart: This book about the ultimate protein will open their eyes to the egg’s versatility. Eggcellent.

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Something for the person who's never at a loss for words...

A vocabulary test

$12.W&P Word for Word Game

Why it’s smart: Word games stimulate the brain. This Scrabble-esque card game lets you play with words (and friends) without a screen or a board. Each card has a letter and you win points by creating words.

Buy it

Something for your glamorous friend…

A better polish

$15.Fluide 7-Free Polish in Vamp

Why it’s smart: Some nail polishes are tested on animals. And some have ingredients that are derived from animals. This polish is vegan, cruelty-free, and non-toxic. At-home manicures just got kinder.

Buy it

Something for the person whose OOO is approaching...

A mile-high Mary

$24.W&P Bloody Mary Cocktail Kit

Why it’s smart: Something to look forward to at 30,000 feet. This kit has everything you need to make a  bloody mary in flight. Just add booze.

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Something for the person who always brings their lunch..

A brown bag upgrade

$25.W&P Porter Bowl

Why it’s smart: This portable, leak-proof bowl will help save cash (goodbye, $15 salads) and the planet. Win, win.

Buy it

Something for the person who's shinning bright...

Stick it to 'em

$14.Print Works Very Busy Sticker

Why it’s smart: Depending on where you stick it, your co-workers may notice you're a gem employee. No promises.

Buy it

PS: These are editorially selected, but if you purchase, theSkimm may get something in return. If something’s out of stock, oops, it was there when we published. Thanks.

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