The White Elephant In The Room

Every year, our LA fam does a Yankee Swap – or White Elephant depending on your pref – and every year, I secretly try to buy the gift that everyone wants to steal. I don’t even care if that’s selfish. I just want people to be pleased with their gifts, okay. So in my attempt to find a stellar present, I do some research on items under $20 that would be good in a Yankee Swap situation. And I don’t know what it says about the gift-givers on the internet, but basically everyone wants to hand out joke gifts for Yankee Swap. I don’t believe in that. Sure, it’s funny at the party, but if I can’t use it outside of said party, it’s no good to me. Not even sorry about my need to win a practical present. Yankee Swap is like Russian Roulette, y’all.

In hopes to sway people away from the gag gifts, here’s a list of real Yankee Swap/White Elephant items that people will actually want – and hopefully fight over – at your holiday party.

Trader Joe’s gift card

Everyone needs groceries, and the mere fact that somebody else is paying to keep you from being hungry is one of the best gifts that can be given.

Mystery Chocolate Box

I love those presents that when you open them, it’s not what you thought it was on the outside – not judging a book by its cover, if you will. This gift gives a whole new meaning to ‘life is like a box of chocolates’. Plus, a bonus is that you have to put those chocolates *somewhere* (in your mouth).

Dry Bar gift card

Last year, I picked this bad boy up, only to have it stolen from me, then it was stolen from that person and I think that person eventually got it back? Either way, I ended up with a cute crossbag purse I still use to this day, and a lot of girls were fighting over this Dry Bar GC.

Starbucks Bev Kicked Up a Notch

This particular mason jar is filled with hot chocolate mix, with shots of Baileys and a Starbucks gift card attached to it, but feel free to do any variation of this. Or just fill the mug with all Baileys. No judgement.

Clothes Folder

We’re all adults here. So if you want to act more like an adult, you can fold your clothes just like the Gap does!

Adult Onesie

Speaking of being an adult… if you’ve never tried it, don’t knock it. I mean look at how much fun all these folks are having.

A Game Good For Groups

The bonus of this is that you can play said game after everyone’s done with exchanging presents, and you’ll have it at the ready at future gatherings.

Movie Night Basket

I find that presents with multiple components are always a good time, and with a gift basket like this, it’s like a one stop fun shop. That Google play card can be a gift card to iTunes, Fandango or local movie theater of your choice. Don’t act like you’ve never snuck candy into a theater either.

Christmas Tree Made Out of Nips

Because you need to get through the holidays with your family.

Scratch Off Tickets

If you decide to do this, you should probably make a deal with whoever takes it home that you get a cut of whatever money they get. Win-win.

Travel iPhone Charger

So I bought this very iPhone travel charger and it’s changed my life. Also it’s a flashlight, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Some Sort of Appliance

Even if you don’t cook, an appliance like a Crock Pot is super easy to use and as the gift giver, you can even throw a few ingredients in there to get them started!


GiftRocket is basically a gift card you can use anywhere. Say I want to give Beyonce a gift card to 7/11. I would go to the Giftrocket website, pick the 7/11 closest to the Carter home in LA, specify I want to put $20 on the ‘card’ and put in Now when B wants to go buy a Slurpee, she just goes to the 7/11 that I picked near their home (the location is verified by GPS) and she’ll get a link via email to confirm her location. The $20 goes into her PayPal account and theoretically, I just bought her $20 worth of Slurpees. It’s a little convoluted (an automatic PayPal acct is created if the recipient doesn’t have one) but it works – just ask Bey! (Don’t ask Bey.)


2 thoughts on “The White Elephant In The Room

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