White Elephant Gift Exchange Holiday Party

We've put together some holiday party ideas for a white elephant gift exchange at home. Keeping it simple, whimsical, and fun, the ideas here are all about gathering family and friends together for a good time and spreading some holiday cheer! 

If you've ever been to a white elephant gift exchange, you'll know it's not really about the gift giving, but rather, the fun.

While the host or hostess supplies some food and decor, guests at a white elephant gift exchange each come to the party with a little gift all wrapped up. Gifts can be anything, but they are typically inexpensive and humorous - in some cases even recycled gag gifts from home!


  • Pear Tree Greetings designed the perfect invitation for an evening of laughter, friendly battles, and good times with friends. Gift exchanges are such a favorite party activity during the holiday months for my family and their Sketched Gifts White Elephant Gift Exchange invitations offered the perfect excuse to turn the game into a big party.

  • We kept our decorations simple with color cues from Pear Tree's playful invitation. This easy to make mini banner added a festive touch to our table.

  • The table centerpiece was inexpensive and super easy to put together. We filled a long rectangular tray with roasted peanuts, and then perched a ceramic white elephant on top. Whimsical and fun!

  • Continuing the color theme inspired from our invitation helped to unify the party space, and keep things looking festive and fun, without the expected red and green. We mixed Egyptian blue and leaf green colors and patterns with our dishes, table linens and glassware.

  • We shopped for whimsical tree ornaments in these same colors and tied them to each napkin with a wide ribbon. You can add the ornaments to your tree after the party, or send them home as a favor with your guests.

  • Pear Tree Greetings' coordinating tags were just the thing to dress up our party favors. We filled small glass bottles with a caramel corn and peanut mixture for each guest, and tied it all up with a pretty bow.

  • Even the smallest details make a party more coordinated and festive. Rather than writing numbers on slips of paper, we chose to use some of our left-over decorative paper in the party colors to create number tags for the gift exchange. We simply printed the numbers on the computer, cut them out and adhered to colorful tags.

    Need a refresher on your white elephant exchange rules? We've got the rules and how to play.

Find more party planning inspirations for Holiday Party Ideas
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