The holidays usually offer (most of) us some reprieve from the chaos of everyday life, but the pandemic has added another layer of confusion and stress. Life right now is anything but perfect, and for some of us, giving a bunch of perfectly-wrapped presents may not be the vibe, or may not be feasible.
Thankfully, a white elephant party lets you revel in this imperfect mess with gifts that are so irrelevant you can’t imagine how they were made, or so genius that you can't imagine how you don't already own five of them. They take the pressure out of finding the perfect present and instead make gift giving about spending time with people you love. I still remember my first one even a decade later. It wasn’t the preppy headband set I left with that made its mark on me, but the pure, unadulterated joy of watching friends and family try to steal each other's gifts and the belly laughs that came with it.
Keep reading for 30 white elephant gifts under $25 that anyone would love—and steal.
WE'RE TAKING YOUR QUESTIONS TO THE AIRWAVES
1. Winc Wine Subscription, $20.95
If you’re exchanging with a group where everyone drinks, you can grab four bottles of wine for $20.95 during Winc’s extended Cyber Monday deal. Take a short quiz to determine your group’s general wine preferences, so your picks will be guaranteed to work for everyone.
2. Kewpie Squeeze Mayonnaise,
3. Aurora Floral Sage Wand,
If friends in your white elephant exchange have recently moved, they’ll likely want a sage stick to clear out any negative energy and vibes.
Folks who prioritize experiences over physical gifts would love to steal (or swap, depending on your version of white elephant) this pasta-making class. They’ll need to BYO their own supplies and ingredients, but you can throw in some essentials like flour, eggs, and tomatoes if you’re feeling generous.
5. Friends Peephole Picture Frame, $18
Drop in a favorite pic of your family or friends and they will be scrambling to grab this sweet memento. You could also just hang it over a peephole like how Monica has it on the show. Could this be any more thoughtful?
This cheeky mug feels apropos for anyone who’s been working from home for the last 500+ days. Because, honestly, who hasn’t been there?
7. Smoko Squishy, $14
This adorable dumpling is almost too cute to squish, but it makes for the perfect stress ball, fidget toy, or desk accessory.
Inspired by our award-winning column Big Little Recipes, this book is filled with 60 brand-new recipes that any home cook can master and with less than five ingredients to boot.
9. Tabasco Sauce Keychain, $11.88
For those who can’t eat a meal without some extra spice, this travel-sized Tabasco bottle is the perfect addition to their keychain. It even comes with a mini case for handy access.
10. Dash Mini Waffle Maker, $29.99
The only thing better than regular waffles? Mini waffles. And for those who want mini paninis or hash browns, they can make all sorts of bite-sized treats with this little countertop gadget.
11. Fotini Tikkou Visage Mug, $14
There’s something about drinking from a fun mug that makes the experience all the more pleasant. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate...everything tastes better in this whimsical vessel.
12. White Paw Plush Dog Toy,
The toy cans of White Paw include hilariously-named flavors like Mutt Mango and Waggermelon, and have a squeaker inside to keep pups occupied for hours.
13. Taco Booties, $25
For parents who can’t help but spoil their babies even during a white elephant party, these handmade booties will keep little toes toasty. The taco design is perfect for a little foodie in the making.
14. Handheld Mini Arcade Game, $25
Nostalgic gifts are always fun winners. This handheld arcade game will take them back to the good ol’ days when the only worry in the world was what prize they would get with all of their tickets.
Who doesn’t love a little pampering? This set comes with a lip balm, hand cream, body wash, and facial spray that’ll keep their skin soothed and refreshed with ingredients like calming rosewater and hydrating aloe.
16. Millennials vs. Boomers Trivia Game, $18
There’s nothing like some healthy competition to liven up a gift swap. We suggest playing this one immediately and letting the laughter erupt as guests of all ages try to understand each other’s lingo.
17. Standard Baggu, $12
Not only are Baggu’s reusable bags made of ripstop nylon that can hold up to 50 pounds and fold down small enough to fit in your pocket when you’re done, but they’re also super cute. The bags come in more than 70 funky colors and prints.
18. Sullivan Tea Shop NYC Pizza Rescue Kit, $15.75
Finally, subpar slices can be saved! This pizza rescue kit has all the necessities for any this-pizza-sucks emergencies that come their way.
19. West Elm Llama Head Planter, $15
Because no one needs a llama planter, but who wouldn’t want a llama planter?
20. Ugg Leda Cozy Socks, $18
Honestly, nothing says holiday like a pair of fuzzy socks. This oh-so cozy pair goes well with PJs, hot chocolate, and a seat by the fireplace.
21. Crate & Barrel Hydropod, $25
Green thumbs and aspiring gardeners alike will love this mess-free way to grow fresh basil in their own kitchen.
Sushi lovers will get a kick out of these porcelain bowls, each impeccably designed to look like a piece of nigiri. The bowls are perfectly sized for dipping, while the lid is the perfect spot to rest their chopsticks.
23. Milk Bar Cookie Tin, $22
Delicious, innovative flavors that tingle any taste buds, Milk Bar’s cookies are some of the best we’ve had. Honestly it would be hard to bring these to a white elephant party and not leave with them yourself.
This coloring book challenges adults to take a deep breath, relax, and channel their inner child. As funny as the title may be, it actually provides a really soothing activity.
25. Cold Beer Coats, $13.99
A prime example of finding the perfect balance between quirky and useful, this teeny-tiny coat dresses up a can of beer, soda, or seltzer and keeps their hands from getting cold.
26. Auxiwa Clip on Selfie Ring Light, $13.99
For anyone who’s on TikTok, this portable ring light gives them good lighting wherever they go.
27. Pet2 DS Cat Toast Bed,
bread bed is the perfect place for their favorite felines to cuddle up. And it’s just too cute!
Speak softly and carry a mini microphone. That is all.
29. 30Watt Bath Wine Holder
There’s never a bad time for a glass of wine, especially with this handy little gadget that keeps a cup at arm’s length from pretty much anywhere. The silicone material adheres to almost any dry, glossy surface.
With notes of citrus, wood, and warm spices, this candle will fill their space with all the cozy, sweater weather feels no matter where they are.
Choose your holiday adventure! Our Automagic Menu Maker is here to help.View Maker