White Elephant Gift Ideas Under $50

Every year, my family looks forward to our Yankee Swap… a.k.a Dirty Santa or White Elephant Gift Exchange. There’s always a wide array of gifts from funny to practical, and everyone has a great time opening (and, or course, stealing) gifts!

In case you’re attending or hosting a White Elephant Gift Exchange this year, Amy and I put together a gift guide full of White Elephant Gift Ideas Under $50.

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How To Host a White Elephant Gift Exchange

Before I share the gift ideas, here are the rules of a Yankee Swap/White Elephant Gift Exchange, in case you want to host one and aren’t quite sure how it goes.

  1. Everyone playing must bring a wrapped gift, generally under a certain dollar limit, and they place it in a designated area.
  2. Everyone draws a number, which determines the order of turns.
  3. The person who drew #1  for all to see. During the selection of a wrapped gift, the participant may visually inspect the gifts, pick them up, shake them, whatever they want. Feel free to ham it up and make it suspenseful.
  4. The person who drew #2 chooses a gift from the pile and opens it, and then they can keep it OR swap it for the first player’s gift.
  5. After that, each person in order gets to select a present, open it, and decide whether to keep it or swap it for any other gift someone has already opened. (I’ve also played it so that the person has to choose whether to steal or select a gift from the pile BEFORE they open the gift from the pile. It can work either way, just make sure the rules are clear and followed consistently.)
  6. The opening of gifts and swapping takes place until all the presents have been chosen. Finally, the person who picked first gets to choose from all the gifts or keep what he/she has already received. In the end, the gift you are holding is the gift you take home.

It’s a lot of fun, especially if everyone hams it up and makes it suspenseful. Some parties focus the gifts around gag gifts, but the best ones I’ve attended (and I’ve attended many over the years) are the ones that leave a lot of room for creativity. It’s more interesting when there’s a mix of gag gifts and really great gifts. That’s when the stealing (or swapping) gets a lot more competitive… and a lot more fun.

Generally there is a dollar limit, and $25 is pretty standard, so for the purposes of this posts, I kept all of these gift ideas under $50. That way, even if you’re not going to a White Elephant Gift Exchange, these ideas can be used for teacher gifts, hostess gifts, gifts for your bestie, or anyone else on your list for whom $50 is the top of your budget.

White Elephant Gift Ideas Under $50

#1. 1980’s 1500 piece puzzle // Bring back the 80’s with this fun puzzle that will have you missing your walkman and parachute pants.

#2. NEST Holiday Candle // You can never go wrong with a candle by NEST, and this limited edition holiday scent is amazing.

#3. Fred Matryoshka Nesting Measuring Cups // These measuring cups are functional and conversational!

#4. Avocado Bandaids // Um, who doesn’t want avocado bandaids?? (I’m guessing this gift won’t be stolen… but who knows?)

#5. YETI Rambler // Dishwasher safe, leak-proof, and insulated, this YETI tumbler will be their favorite.

#6. Mixology Dice // Take the guesswork out of bartending by rolling the dice and following the coordinating numbers in the recipe book and you’ll be creating top-of-the-line drinks in no time.

#7. Cold Beer Coats // Insulated to keep your drink chilly, these cute coats are a great cold weather accessory for your beverage.

#8. Rechargeable Hand Warmer // This practical gift will make your recipient so happy while keeping their hands warm and toasty during the cold winter months.

#9. Radiate Portable Campfire // This hassle-free outdoor fire pit can go anywhere, and it provides up to 3 hours of burn time.

#10. Gorilla Grip Heat and Slip Resistant Silicone Oven Mitts Set // I love my silicone oven mitts. They’re so much easier to clean than the cloth ones, and they look cool too. These come in a bunch of colors, and they’re a nice versatile gift for anyone.

#11. Cocktail Drink Bombs // There’s no need for tons of ingredients here: Each bomb contains all you need to craft mouthwatering drinks at home. Just drop into sparkling water to enjoy as a mocktail, or add alcohol for an adult beverage.

#12. 2023 Dad Jokes Wall Calendar // What sticks around for 12 months and never loses its sense of humor? The Dad Jokes wall calendar!

#13. Nod Pod Sleep Mask // This weighted eye mask will have them relaxing in no time.

#14. Ice Ball Maker // Another way to up their drink enjoyment.

#15. 80’s and 90’s Trivia Game // Party on in a blast to the past by reliving the Glory Days of the 80’s and 90’s with this fun game.

#16. Self Watering Animal Planters // Doesn’t everyone need a cute self watering planter??

#17. Windproof Travel Umbrella // This is a great gift because it’s something you don’t think about buying until you need it. The easy one-touch design makes it easy to use, plus the double vented canopy is designed to withstand strong winds.

#18. Flexi-Rods Heatless Curl Set // These clever rollers allow her to create perfect waves or curls without the heat damage!

#19. Silver Salsa Spoon Set // Each of these silver-plated spoons has the cutest sayings.

#20. Mistaken Lyric Coasters // Pick your music genre for this set of six coasters of commonly mistaken song lyrics.

#21. Glitter Heart Toilet Bombs // Drop a few glittery tablets in the bowl before you go, and the essential oils create a fizzy, fragrant force field that keeps the stank under wraps.

#22. Hot Dog and Bun Toaster // How clever is this!?! It toasts up to 2 delicious, regular-size or extra-plump hot dogs and two buns at the same time.

#23. Awaken and Refresh Shower Steamers // No time for a bath? I getcha, girl. Just place one of these essential oil-infused aromatherapy tablets on the floor of your shower, and turn on the water. The tablet will gently fizz, releasing spa-inspired scents that turn the shower into a mood-transforming spa.

#24. Beer Infused Hot Sauce // This 3-pack of hot sauce is made with real beer, and as such is a fun gift for someone who loves both beer and hot sauce.

#25. Pizza Sock Box // Because everyone loves pizza and socks… I bet you never thought to put them together!

#26. Amazon Gift Card // In my experience, gift cards are always stolen the max number of times. It may not be very original, but you just can’t beat the practicality of a gift card.

And that’s a wrap! Be sure to check out the rest of my 2022 Holiday Gift Guides, and if you have any fun White Elephant gift ideas, feel free to drop them in the comments.

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9 Responses

  1. Every time I think I am done with shopping, I see something else (this time the cold beer coats for our son in law who loves beer!) Amazon also has these.
    We used to host an Annual Yankee Swap when we lived in NH. We miss that.
    I have the matryoshka nesting doll measuring cups. Love them. They also make measuring spoons to match!
    Thank you (I think) for these ideas. I hope this is the last of my shopping!

  2. Love this list, you’ve got some great ideas! our family now just does a white elephant instead of exchanging gifts (we only buy for the kids). And just and FYI for any of you thinking about that Ice balll maker, I actually bought that last year for the hubs and I, this is a must have for anyone who enjoys scotch or whisky on the rocks, it melts slower than having “rocks” so your drink doesn’t get watered down

  3. Boy did you and Amy knock it out of the park with your ideas. I took pictures of several items and going to share the portable hand warmer with my physical therapist because her hands are always extremely cold. And after looking at your Amazon daily beauty finds, I ordered the makeup mirror. I’m hoping it arrives before we head out of town on the 28th. I hope that you have had a great day! I’m continuing to pray for Becca and Caroline’s safe travels.

  4. Great list! I’ve always played White Elephant that a gift can only be stolen twice, after that it stays with the recipient. Adds an element of strategy, I guess.

  5. Thanks for a great post with wonderful ideas. My husband, an engineer, has a fun twist on white elephant gifts. He wraps up a super strong magnet with a note explaining it as a super magnet. The plastic coated magnets work best for white elephant because they do not chip; uncoated magnets chip like cheap nail polish. They can stick their package to other gifts, which is fun. They can stick small books to my refrigerator. The first time he tried such a magnet, one of our friends, an elderly woman, drew it. She was skeptical until she absently waved it over her purse and her keys jumped out. Her eyes grew wide and she let no one steal it after that. They are really strong, so keep them away from children. You can buy super magnets at https://www.kjmagnetics.com/products.asp?cat=164 .

  6. I commented on your Facebook post about this, but completely forgot to read it! 😂 These are some great suggestions! I bought an electric hand warmer last year for my son’s soccer games, and it is amazing! Along with a portable propane heater, those are “must haves” for me. My dad ALWAYS brought batteries for White Elephant exchanges. He always said “everybody needs batteries!”

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