The White Elephant Saves the Office Christmas Party
We are having our office Christmas sendoff party tomorrow. With the economy in its present lamentable state and its nagging determination to bring down our holiday spirit, we decided to have a to inject a little humor and fun in our party. As I was presenting the idea to the group, I realized that many did not know what this was. So here is how we have done a White Elephant Gift Exchange in the past, with a few simple rules:
For the gift:
- One gift per attendee
- The gift cannot be purchased
- It must be in serviceable condition, but it something that you either don’t want or don’t need any more
- Wrap the gift
- No labeling, the gifts are all anonymous
- You may assign a minimum or maximum “value” if you wish
For the exchange:
- All attendees names go in a hat to be drawn
- The first name to be drawn gets first pick
- This first person opens a gift selected from the pile and has to keep it
- The second name to be drawn (and everyone thereafter) can pick a gift from the still unopened gift pile OR can decide to steal the gift from anyone that went before them
- A gift can only be stolen a set number of times and that is dependent on the size and the dynamics of the group. Usually one to three times
- Once every guests has picked their gift, the first person that went can now have their pick of all opened presents, that is if the gift has not yet reached its allowable “steal-able” quota.
Of course, the more humorous the gift, the more “joke” and play mileage it will have. We’ve found that the bigger the wrapped gift, the more curiosity it will create and the more varied the guests, the more varied the gifts…
We have been playing this game for years. In fact, I remember my parents hosting parties with White Elephant Parties Exchanges as the main attraction. Wikipedia mentions that these date back to 1828. I guess that the fun factor of this custom is the reason that it’s still around nearly TWO centuries later?!?!?
This year, we are having another of these gift exchanges on Christmas Eve at the house, when we open our doors to our “orphan” friends and even friends of friends. This will certainly be a great ice breaker for the guests that don’t know each other. The formula also limits the financial burden on all of us. And, another advantage is that we can almost say that this is “green” gift giving, in the sense that “no new resources were used in the making of these gifts”! So there!