White Elephant Holiday Parties Are Good For Office Cultures

Blog Barista: Katelyn Cripps | Dec 5, 2018 | Workplace | Brew time: 5 min

Despite the gloomy, grey filled sky this time of year, the spirits of employees across the country are joyous, giving and bright. The holiday season is the best time of the year, spent with friends and family we love, great food, laughter and, of course, gifts.

The holiday season can bring out the best in all of us as companies generously donate to many charities, employees volunteer to help those in need, and offices rally the troops to give toys to thousands of deserving boys and girls.

But, what about the colleague next you, the person you see nearly every day?

Well, what better way to show your appreciation than giving them a gift too! A White Elephant gift that is.

Why Host One?

A White Elephant gift exchange is the perfect way to boost employee engagement. Everyone in the office can participate which makes it all the more entertaining. By hosting a White Elephant, it will be inclusive to all the holidays during this season from Christmas to Hanukkah to Kwanzaa. It is interactive, fun, and often, hilarious. It takes the pressure of gifting the perfect gift off any person.

Not only is a White Elephant gift exchange holly and jolly, but it’s also a tradition that KL&A employees have continued to love through the years. Each year, the KL&A family looks forward to our White Elephant because it gives everyone the opportunity to relax, laugh and enjoy each others’ company. The gift giving event impacts the KL&A company culture significantly. It stays in line with the values set within the workplace which is a fun, stress free environment that retains a well-balanced responsible and professional atmosphere.

How to Host One

It’s okay if you’re a White Elephant novice. It’s very similar to the Secret Santa gift exchange that many of us know with just one caveat, you’re allowed to “steal” presents. It’s wildly fun, naughty, and nice all at the same time. Here’s a great resource for official rules for the exchange.

In order to have a White Elephant, all you need is a group from your office willing to be a part of a festive and funny event. Make sure to follow game rules and gift guidelines that have been set up in the office, like a specified spending limit or any gift themes. Following rules and guides is to ensure the exchange is cost friendly, work appropriate and inclusive to everyone, even the interns. Spending limits should be appropriate, we suggest adhering to a “less than $20” limit. Remember, it’s not really about the gift, it’s about the joyful time spent with one another.

At KL&A, we make our White Elephant a mini office party during lunch hours. Hosting the exchange during lunches has little to no cost for employees, or employers, because it doesn’t affect “working hours.” Lunches could be covered by your employer (this year KL&A is serving up some excellent pizza), or an employee lead potluck (homemade anything is always delicious), or employees could BYOL (although cost effective, it’s not really that fun).

Be sure to invite everyone in the office with a set date, time and a brief description of what the anonymous, wacky gift exchange is all about. When it comes time to party, don’t forget to throw on some holiday music and a cozy, fake TV fireplace. Then, enjoy the food and the laughter. And, if you’re really feeling festive, then come wearing your favorite ugly sweater!

What to Give

Stumped on what to get? Don’t worry, we got you covered. White Elephant gifts can be anything from completely ridiculous to something practical or even something fun. One of the best ways to hunt down a gift is to look at Amazon, there’s plenty of everything there. Or, you could just regift that one ugly present from your crazy Aunt Carol from last year.

Over the years, KL&A White Elephant parties have always been a riot. We’ve seen a wide variety of some pretty interesting and hilarious gifts including emergency bowties, funny desk calendars, nerf guns, and even those creepy, finger hand puppets! Whatever you decide to give, it will be great so no need to stress. For your 2018 White Elephant party, we have some ideas:

1.    Heated Gloves

There’s always that one person in your office with a blanket, am I right? This is the perfectly practical gift for the notoriously cold office.

($9.99 on Amazon)

2.    Bathroom Guest Book

Any of your guests will surely get a kick out of this book, and it provides great reading material too!

($14.34 on Amazon)

3.    Wine Bottle Glass

You might think this is ridiculous, but your wine loving colleagues will think this wine glass is straight up genius.

($9.99 on Bed, Bath and Beyond)

4.    Electric Car Blanket

For those who aren’t lucky enough to have heated seats or a glorious car starter, this gift is for them.

($17.29 on Walmart)

5.    Tamagotchi

TAMAGOTCHI!! I mean…is there anything more to say?

($19.99 on Amazon)

6.    Chopsticks

The best gift of both worlds, moderately useful but super fun for your favorite Jedi loving coworker.

($9.99 on Amazon)

7.    Bob Ross Chia Pet

Everyone loves Bob Ross. And if they don’t, well, they might just be heartless.

($20.99 on Amazon)

8.    World’s Smallest Rubik’s Cube

The smallest little distraction from anyone’s long work day.

($8.00 on Urban Outfitters)

9.    Coffee Mug Warmer

Probably one of the best gifts for any coffee snob in the office.

($9.99 on Amazon)

10.    Watch Ya’ Mouth Family Edition

It’s just good ‘ole fashion fun, whether it’s in the office breakroom or at home.

($12.79 on Amazon)

11.    Finger Yoga

Typing all day at your computer can be exhausting, say no to finger arthritis with this ridiculous workout regime.

($8.45 on Amazon)

12.    White Elephant Planters

For those of you who just don’t know what to get or love cliches, this one’s for you.

($10.99 on Amazon)


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