White Elephant Fun

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*JUST ADDED 12/15/12: You {our FAB readers} LOVED our Shave and Play Barbie idea. We’ve added a FREE PRINTABLE label for you to make your own! Just cut out and place on the box for a more realistic look 🙂 Get that label by clicking here: Shave and Play Barbie*


It’s the most, WON-DER-FUL time… of the year: White Elephant time! If you haven’t ever been to or hosted a “White Elephant” party with your spouse, you are missing out! Here are some quick tips and FREE printable invites to help you throw your own AWESOME White Elephant party!

1. So why is it called ‘White Elephant’ anyway?

In Thailand and other Asian countries, the white elephant was considered a holy being. But, the upkeep of this animal was outrageous to say the least. They needed special food, holy housing, and all sorts of special treatment. So much in fact, that usually only a king could afford a white elephant. The death of a white elephant spelled DISASTER  so these animals were pretty pampered pets. The origin of our white elephant gift began when ancient kings became EXTREMELY DISPLEASED with their assistant. They would make a gift of the white elephant to the assistant. At first, this appeared to be a great honor. But soon, the assistant would become crippled by the financial burden of the white elephant. Hence, when we give silly, ELABORATE gifts of little value, we call them WHITE ELEPHANT GIFTS. 🙂

2. How do I host a White Elephant party?

First, you need a killer invitation! Luckily, we have one you can print by clicking below! All you need to do is click the link, print, add your party details, and send about 2 weeks before your party!

{Before the party, prepare small numbered slips of paper in a basket, one for each guest}

  1. Have guests sit in a circle with White Elephant Gifts in a pile in the middle.
  2. Each person draw a number from the basket
  3. The person who drew the number 1 begins by unwrapping one of the gifts and showing it to the group. Remember: displaying and “selling” your gift is half the fun!
  4. Person #2 can now either open a new gift or steal the open gift from person #1. Then #3 follows and so on and so on.
  5. Play continues until everyone has a gift.

Optional — You may want to give the #1 person a chance to steal a different gift at the very end of the game since they otherwise do not get the chance to do any stealing

*NOTE: If your gift gets stolen, you have the option of either A) opening a new gift or B) stealing an open gift from someone else. Once a gift has been opened it can be stolen by anyone whose turn it is, with two exceptions:

  • A gift that has JUST been stolen from you is now OFF LIMITS (for you).  No stealing gifts back that have just been taken from you.
  • Once a gift has been stolen 3 times it is out of play and stays with the 3rd and last “stealer”

3. What kind of gifts are good White Elephant gifts?

Something under $10

Something so ugly that it’s cute

A nostalgic toy

Something ridiculous or useless

 ANYTHING from this store would be great: Archie McPhee

These are all HILARIOUS, inexpensive choices from Amazon:

And if you like to DIY, here is a super HILARIOUS idea from our diva, Tara:

“Last year, I created a “Shave & Play” Barbie. It was hilarious & was stolen the most times during our game! I just bought 2 barbie dolls from the dollar store, cut the hair off one & glued it on the other barbie. It was coming out from under her armpits, a little chest hair, on her legs, and I might have even put some on her face. I then put a pink cheap razor in the box with her & created a label to put on the box that looks super real. It sounds gross…. but is SO funny!”

Ok, are you ready to see this barbie?

The answer is yes, yes you do. She’s TOTALLY worth it!


Create a “Shave & Play” barbie for less than 5 bucks… she’s sure to be the hit of your party!

Last but not least, have a GREAT party!! We want to hear all about it. Come visit our Facebook page and tell us what you’re doing!

About the Author: Robin

I am a fun-loving, busy mama of 3 little cutie-patooties. I met the man of my dreams when I was in 5th grade! Had a HUGE crush on him then and I still do! I've been married to him since 2004. I work part time as a Dental Hygienist and LOVE it (PS: please floss!)! I love getting messy with my kids, throwing parties, cooking, reading, and playing outside- hiking, camping, water skiing, etc... But most of all, I love to hang out with and date my sweet hubs! Keepin' those 5th grade sparks alive, WOOHOO!

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19 Responses to White Elephant Fun

    1. Hey KP! A lot of the divas design their own printables {Robin did the white elephant invite} and we also have some amazing designers we partner up with. You can find their info on our sidebar – Leah Aldous & Merrymint Designs.}

  1. Lol…we ended up getting Barbie that night and then we recycled her at another white elephant party a few days later. She was the hit of both parties! We still laugh about the hairy Barbie!

    1. Kelly – I WISH we would have snapped a better picture! We brought a blonde version back this year. LOL Wish you could have made it to the party! We missed ya!

  2. Robin,

    I agree that the white elephant gift exchange is full of fun! Great gift ideas with the Barbie doll…

    We raised 5-kids and used this type of gift exchange to enjoy lively conversation and share gifts on a budget.
    Over the years the gifts became secondary to the socializing and now we play online, because we are separated by many miles. My husband and I even started sharing the many variations of the white elephant game that our family used over the years.

    Happy Holidays!

  3. I can’t open the printable for the shave & play Barbie. Did it get corrupted perhaps and does anyone else have it that they could post?? Thanks! =) It’s hilarious!

    1. Hi Gina! At the very top in red font you can see the link to the printable! We also have one in our store kit that we sell! Just head to the store and search for White Elephant 🙂