The white elephant gift exchange can be quite fun and costs so little
WiseGEEK defines it as:
WiseGEEK defines it as:
A white elephant gift exchange is a popular holiday party game in the United States, with many variations in name and game play. Generally, white elephant parties need a minimum of six participants, although the larger the group, the more entertaining and protracted game play will be. White elephant parties can result in vicious rivalries between players trying to get sought after gifts. The goal of a white elephant party is usually entertainment rather than gain, however.
All attendees of a white elephant party are expected to bring one wrapped gift. Traditionally, a white elephant present is something unusual, somewhat useless, or inconvenient. Trinkets, strange knick knacks, unidentifiable kitchen items, and the like are typical white elephants, and guests are asked to wrap them nicely and to leave no identifying markings on the presents. Part of the white elephant game is often a series of guesses as to who brought which present.
Usually, attendees draw numbers or cards to indicate player order. Strategic white elephant players try to end up somewhere in the middle of the game. The white elephant gifts are piled in a central location, and game play begins when one person opens the first gift. The contents are displayed to the room, and the next player’s turn begins. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-white-elephant-gift-exchange.htm
When I have had these parties before for yuletide it went like this: Everyone is told to bring an unwanted gift from the previous Xmas. We always went crazy on the wrapping. As the people got to the party we'd put a number on each gift. Later when the party seemed to be going, we'd have everyone pick a number & go and get the gift wearing the corresponding number tag.
Then we'd all gather round the biggest room in the house and send two dice around the "circle" 3 times while the packages were still wrapped. People took turns rolling the dice and if anyone who got doubles on the dice were entitled to exchanged their wrapped gift for one they liked the look of better than the one they already had.
After the three goes we'd all unwrap our presents and then go round the circle telling what you'd got & showing it off like it was the best gift in the room. [There is always one gift that everyone wants, one year in ours it was a foot spa and in another a yogurt maker] Once that best gift or two is established you send the dice around again 3 times and if you get doubles you get to choose to swap anyone with the gift they have. Once that's done, so's the game. People are then allowed to exchange their gifts privately if they want to.
The best thing about these kind of get-togethers is that you can do it quite cheaply if everyone each brings something and their gift.
I have been trying to get people in England to appreciate this game for some years now, unfortunately the English do not really care for organised games at their parties. If you have any variations on this that you can share with me, please contact me on Facebook or Twitter and I will add it to this post.
Please share at will!---Gabrielle 2011