Ah, the annual white elephant gift exchange—the one opportunity to shop for an outrageous gift, with no pressure to impress.
You might also know it as Yankee Swap or Dirty Santa (and the rules vary, depending on who’s setting them), but either way, this gift exchange—meant to be a light-hearted way to buy a ridiculous thing and then trade for another ridiculous thing—has been known to cause a few sore feelings.
So to avoid any kind of drama, you might be tempted to just play it straight and easy at your white elephant party—for instance, offering up that novelty holiday coffee mug your boss gave you last year. But this year, we implore you to step up your game and let your office mates or family duke it out over your gift. Why not bring something that’s utterly ridiculous—that also has some utility around the home?
1. Some butts (about it)
Have you ever wanted to “add some attitude to your fridge”? It seems unlikely, but just in case, World Market sells a set of cat butt magnets that are … exactly as advertised. If you’re a dog person, you can pick up the canine version to bring to your next gift exchange. If you want to represent a wide variety of mammal derrières, round out the collection with a set of safari animal butt magnets. Combine all three for a truly opulent white elephant offering that won’t make you look like an ass.
What to buy:
- Cat butt magnets, set of 6, World Market, $12.99
- Dog butt magnets, set of 6, World Market, $12.99
- Safari animal butt magnets, set of 6, World Market, $12.99
2. A Champagne saber
Generally speaking, weapons and alcohol don’t mix well—unless you’re talking about a Champagne saber. Did you know that sparkling wine aficionados use literal swords to bust open their bottles of bubbly? (It’s called sabrage, y’all.) If that sounds dangerous, that’s because it most certainly is. But you never become the life of the party by playing it safe.
3. This potty putter
Ever find yourself longing to be on the back nine at the most inconvenient of times? Thinking, “My urge to go No. 2 is really interfering with my hole-in-one-game?” No? Well we have to believe those people exist out there, otherwise this gem of a bathroom accessory wouldn’t exist. If you have a golf enthusiast in your midst (or heck, even if you don’t), pick up this little number. (Snazzy golf visor not included.)
4. Dad-joke bait
I’m still ashamed of the time I laughed out loud when a former boyfriend held a stud finder to his face and shouted, “Ah, got one!” But listen: A stud finder is handy, inexpensive, and totally unexpected at the white elephant gift exchange. (It could also make for an entirely earnest stocking stuffer—what homeowner doesn’t need to locate a stud in the wall from time to time?) So head to the hardware store, pick up a stud finder, and lean into the corny dad jokes.
5. This wild (horse) toilet seat
You didn’t really think we’d have a list without at least two toilet-related items, did you? We’re not horsing around; we’re pretty sure someone you know can appreciate a novelty horse toilet seat, like this one featuring five majestic beasts galloping together through shallow water.
Just imagine the glee on your uncle’s face when he receives this lavatory masterpiece during the white elephant exchange. An Amazon reviewer warns that the seat is “nice looking, but the hardware is ridiculous”—but isn’t that the whole point, if you’re in the market for this kind of thing? Go the extra mile and buy the matching soap dispenser. Nothing shows you care more than cohesive bathroom accessories, right?
6. A bloody-fine cutting board
Cutting boards are always in high demand, at least in my kitchen. But one thing my kitchen lacks is a sense of unnerving horror. Cue this cutting board: It’s a blood-red novelty item that comes complete with a vertical, dripping side piece to hang off the countertop, mimicking a pool of blood. Were you cutting tomatoes, or slicing something more sinister? Nobody will know. Pick one up to add a pint of darkness to your gift exchange.
7. A statement-making bathroom accessory
Do you want your gift recipient to be greeted by Nic Cage’s face before stepping into the shower every morning? There’s a mat for that. How about a toilet paper holder that’s an unsettling mashup between Lucille Ball and a plastic troll doll? We got you. Or, in the spirit of the holidays, pick up this shower curtain that’s both seasonal and sexy.
If none of those strikes your fancy, rest assured that your dream gift exists somewhere in the dark corners of Etsy.