Best White Elephant Gifts (for the office)

I just started a new job this December, and was quickly thrust into the annual holiday party, which included a white elephant gift exchange. Having not attended the firm’s previous white elephant exchanges, I was unfamiliar with the type of vibe the gifts would take, whether it would be a bunch of good gifts or actual white elephant type gifts that burden the person who dared open it up. Our office manager set the following rules:  a $25 “minimum spend” and a suggestion to be more creative and not just to get gift cards and alcohol.

In an effort to assist others with their office white elephant gifts, I've reviewed what I thought were the best or most clever gifts.


Amazon Echo Dot ($29.99)
I thought this gift went over really well, because everyone was excited when it was opened and it sparked a lot of conversation. However, it was never stolen! It was one of the first 3 gifts opened, and maybe everyone just forgot about it because everyone was probably 3 drinks in by then. At this firm’s white elephant, no one announces who brought what gift, in order to save the feelings of those who might have brought a disfavored gift.  I felt that this was a pretty safe gift, something everyone would like or find a use for. Who doesn’t have an Amazon account these days? The only weird thing would be if someone brought one as a gift last year, which would then make it clear that a new person brought this.


I bought this when I was thinking about gifts that I would potentially want for myself. I don’t know that I actually would have wanted this, it’s more of a teenage girl thing, but that’s also why I thought it might be funny. It just seemed like a funny thing for an attorney to have in their office when it’s so juvenile. I’m sure they would all put juvenile sayings on their lightbox in their offices too. I could imagine certain people really liking it, but when I thought of the 60+ aged partners opening them it was a little more questionable. I still think it would have gone over okay… I will have to brave the mall again soon to return it with the hordes of other returners.


These are both useful items that people would put on their desk and actually use. The New Yorker cartoons are the perfect blend of humor and elitism and wit. I really wanted this but the steals already got maxed out before my number was called.

This is the Target version of the Swell bottle, of which I have 3. I actually did steal this gift, because it has a wider mouth than my water bottles so I thought it would be useful. Unfortunately it got stolen from me too!

I would have definitely stolen this if it was opened before my turn. It’s also about knowing your audience though, and even though the firm is in SF, you never know how liberal people truly are until you spend more than 2 weeks with them.

This is more about knowing your audience – since they couldn’t gift alcohol, they gifted containers for alcohol. Whiskey glasses were the most popular, but another weirdly popular gift was a “picnic set” that included flexible wine glasses and a picnic blanket. Know your audience!


I love mine so much that I have 3 different ones and I was assuming someone else would like one just as much. There are a lot of other options that are cheaper and maybe less feminine also, like the hydro flask and the yeti cup. And also the Swell Sip bottle that I tried to get.

I remember one year when I was younger we did a white elephant gift exchange with my extended family and my mom got a blanket and we loved it. It was a very whatever blanket that you could get from anywhere but for some reason we used it so often and for a long time. I think it was just really soft. That’s what’s fun!

Again, I don’t know these people well enough to know how any given TV show would go over, plus it would have to be something that’s not easily accessible on Netflix or other streaming platforms, and really what’s not available on those these days? Actually, I’ll tell you what. It’s the Tudors. I want to watch that series and I don’t know where to get it. If you know please let me know I would really appreciate that.

I would have loved to gift this, but I think I skew much younger than the rest of the audience and that might have made it very obvious.  Plus it’s probably far under the $25 minimum (though I think a few people refused to listen to this rule). I did realize when I went to that BSB concert in Vegas, that maybe I was a little too young for NSYNC and BSB at the time because the median age at the Vegas concert was definitely over 30. I mean I sort of knew I was too young for Nick Carter, I would always think about situations in which our 11 year age difference wouldn’t make a difference and we could be together….hahaha

That’s it. Hopefully this will help someone that’s as stressed as I was about what to bring for my firm’s white elephant exchange. And hopefully this will give me a little more inspiration for next year to bring an even better gift.

No comments