DIY White Elephant Gift Ideas

Need a good gag gift for a White Elephant party? Then, check out these DIY White Elephant gift ideas. They only take a few minutes to make, and don’t require you to be a crafting genius.

Dime n’ Jewelry

Dime n' Necklace
Dime n' Necklace. Erin Huffstetler

Surprise someone with a dime n’ necklace, a dime n’ ring or a pair of dime n’ earrings. This gift is easy to pull off. Just super glue a dime to an inexpensive necklace, ring or pair of earrings, and you’re done. Try the dollar store for cheap jewelry options. They even sell super glue.

If you want to make this gift seem even fancier, tuck it inside a nice jewelry box.

Used Gift Cards

Used Gift Cards
Used Gift Cards. Erin Huffstetler

Have a bunch of gift cards with teeny tiny remaining balances? $.68 for a coffee shop. $1.37 for a home improvement store. $2.11 for a department store. Use a permanent marker to cross out the original amounts. Then, write the new balance on each card; and wrap them all up together.

If you happen to have a bunch of empty gift cards lying around, another option is to wrap them up with one card that actually has a balance, and include a note that says, “Only one of these gift cards actually has money on it.”

Extra Dough

Cookie Dough
Cookie Dough. istetiana/Moment/Getty Images

Wrap up a tube of cookie dough, and include a note that says, “Everyone needs a little extra dough around the holidays.”

You could also do the same thing with a container of kids’ play dough, or a box of pre-made pie crust. Any dough will do.

A Zip-Tied Gift

Zip Tied Gift
Zip Tied Gift. Erin Huffstetler

Wrap up a gift with wrapping paper. Then, wrap it up again with layer after layer of zip ties. To unwrap the gift, the recipient will have to cut through all of those zip ties. That’ll be annoying for them, and amusing for everyone who gets to watch.

To make the gift even funnier, make a package of zip ties the gift.

The dollar store is a cheap source for zip ties, if you don’t have any on hand. You may want to include a pair of scissors with the gift, so they’ll have a way to open it..

All-Natural Bubble Bath

All-Natural Bubble Bath
All-Natural Bubble Bath. Erin Huffstetler

All-natural products are all the rage these days, so a bottle of all-natural bubble bath is a gift that’s sure to be much appreciated. To whip up a batch, fill an attractive bottle or jar with dried beans, and finish the whole thing off with a nice label. Be sure to include instructions so the recipient knows how to use it. Something along the lines of, “Cook and eat one hour before your bath.”

Cold Hard Cash

Cold Hard Cash
Cold Hard Cash. Erin Huffstetler

Give the gift of cold hard cash. It’s something everyone wishes they had more of this time of year. To put this gift together, just drop some change and a couple small bills into a freezer-safe container (preferably one with a lid); fill it with water; and pop it in the freezer. Once it’s fully frozen, wrap up the container, and it’s ready to give. Include a card that says, “Thought you could use some cold hard cash to help you get through the holidays.”

Scratched Lottery Tickets

Lottery Tickets
Lottery Tickets. cveltri/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

Tuck a note inside a card that says, “I bought you $25 worth of lottery tickets, and scratched them for you. You didn’t win anything.”

Or take things a step further, and fill a box with scratched lottery tickets. Just ask someone you know who plays the lotto to save their losing tickets for you, and you won’t have any money tied up in this gift.

Earthquake Detection Kit

Bobble Head
Bobble Head. Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Earthquakes are serious business. Make sure one doesn’t go undetected by creating a handy earthquake detection kit for one of your friends. To create your kit, drop a bobble head doll in a bag or box, and create a label that explains your gift. Be sure to include detailed instructions on how to use the device. After all, scientific equipment can be difficult to figure out.

Have a permanent marker or paint pen handy? Then, it might also be fun to write “Earth Quake Detection Device” across the base of the bobble head.

Portable Important Decision Kit

Important Decision Kit
Important Decision Kit. Erin Huffstetler

Forget careful thought and consideration. If you have an important decision to make, a simple game of rock, paper, scissors can sort it out for you. No one should ever be without these vital decision-making tools, which is why everyone needs to carry a portable decision kit.

To make one for someone, start with an empty mint tin. Then, fill it with a tiny pair of scissors, a small notepad and an itty bitty rock. Finish the whole thing off with a spiffy label.

A Big Box of Nothing

Big Box of Nothing
Big Box of Nothing. Erin Huffstetler

Put all of your wrapping skills into wrapping an empty box as nicely as you can. Use fancy paper, and include a big bow, so the box looks really enticing. Then, add a gift tag that says, “For the Person Who Has Everything.” They’ll be in for quite a surprise when they open it and discover that the perfect gift for the person who has everything is absolutely nothing.

Season Tickets

Seasoning Tickets
Seasoning Tickets. Erin Huffstetler

Use a free ticket printable to create a really authentic-looking set of season tickets to a fake event, complete with seat numbers and barcode. Then, hide the words, “Not good for anything.” somewhere in the fine print.

Or create a fake set of plane tickets, and add “Round trip ticket to nowhere.” in the fine print. There are lots of variations on this idea that could work. So, have some fun with it.

Hands-Free Cellphone Holder

Hands-Free Cellphone Holder
Hands-Free Cellphone Holder. Erin Huffstetler

Place an elastic headband in a bag, and create a hang tag for it that says, “Hands-Free Cellphone Holder.” Include a picture of someone using the device (i.e. using the headband to hold a cellphone against their ear) to demonstrate the usefulness of the gift.

Pet Dust Bunnies

Pet Dust Bunny
Pet Dust Bunny. Erin Huffstetler

Use some dryer lint to fashion a couple “pet” dust bunnies. Add googly eyes and whiskers to complete the effect. Then, stick them in a bag with a label that explains what they are. You might also want to include some care instructions, or a warning that they multiply quickly.

Rules for a White Elephant Gift Exchange

White Elephant
White Elephant. Frank Ramspott/Digital Vision Vectors/Getty Images

New to White Elephant gift exchanges? Here’s how they typically work:

Everyone brings one wrapped gift to the party, the funnier and tackier the better.

All of the gifts are placed on a table as guests arrive.

Then, names or numbers are usually drawn to determine who gets first pick, second pick and so on.

The first person selects a gift off the table and opens it.

Then, the next person goes. They can either choose to steal one of the gifts that have already been opened, or select a new gift off of the table to open.

If your gift gets stolen, you get to choose another gift off of the table or can steal another person’s gift.

The game continues, until everyone has opened a gift, and usually involves lots of stealing. Since the first person didn’t have a chance to steal a gift during their turn, they’re often given a chance to do that after the last person has gone. This usually sets off another big round of stealing.

At some parties, a limit is placed on how many gifts can be stolen each round, or how many times each gift can be stolen . Often the limit is placed at three steals. You may want to adopt these rules, if your party is under a time restraint.

Regardless, the house rules should be explained at the start of the game, so everyone understands how the game will unfold.

If you’re the one hosting the White Elephant party, be sure to invite lots of people. The game is a lot more fun when lots of gifts are involved.