10 White Elephant Gift Ideas for $20 or Less

published Dec 3, 2019
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My husband’s friends from middle school (and now all the wives, too) get together every December to throw, what very well might be, the world’s most ridiculous secret Santa. The night includes a gift card swap, a lottery ticket scratch-off, a white elephant grab bag, and then boys’ and girls’ secret Santa (yes, it’s still oddly sexist for 2019). It’s a LOT and my favorite night of every year. The part of the evening that I look forward to the most, though, is the white elephant. It has a strict price limit and it’s fun to see what all our friends can find — and what people actually end up trading for. (Last year, this was the most-fought-over item; it must have been stolen a dozen times!)

Our holiday party is later this month and here are some of the wackier gifts I’m considering. (If you can’t be wacky for a white elephant swap, when can you be?)

Credit: Amazon

1. BLADE Knife Sharpener

It’s a rhino! No, it’s a knife sharpener! No, it’s both! His horn has a built-in knife sharpener that really does work. If your group is more serious about knife blades, though, allow me to suggest this bestseller.

Buy: BLADE Knife Sharpener, $16

Credit: Amazon

2. Subversive Sponges

These sponges look like little pieces of embroidered art — especially when they’re slipped into the holder/frame, which also helps to dry things out between uses. Warning: One of these does have to two curse words on it.

Buy: Subversive Sponges, $15

Credit: Amazon

3. Woodlands Bag Clip Set

How stinking cute are these bag clips? Pick up a few bags of chips on your way to the party to round out the gift.

Buy: Woodlands Bag Clip Set, $4 for six

Credit: Amazon

4. Socks in Soup Can

I’m not sure what I like better: the socks or the packaging they come in. The best part: The socks still look appropriately soupy once they’re out of the can and on someone’s feetsies.

Buy: Socks in Soup Can, $13

Credit: Amazon

5. Cactus Coaster Set

For the group who barely has one green thumb, collectively.

Buy: Cactus Coaster Set, $15

Credit: Amazon

6. MY TAI Umbrella Drink Markers

Because every drink (even water) deserves a festive umbrella. Get these for your group if even one person likes to entertain.

Buy: MY TAI Umbrella Drink Markers, $11 for six

Credit: Amazon

7. The Book of Eating: Adventures in Professional Gluttony

New York Magazine’s restaurant critic, Adam Platt, has come out with a book. It’s a culinary coming-of-age story and follows his path to becoming, as he puts it, “a professional glutton.”

Buy: The Book of Eating: Adventures in Professional Gluttony, $20

8. Sipski Shower Wine Glass Holder

Silly and yet totally practical is exactly how we’d describe this wine glass holder, which is MEANT FOR THE SHOWER. More of a beer crowd? There’s also an option that’ll hold cans.

Buy: Sipski Shower Wine Glass Holder, $16 at Urban Outfitters

Credit: The Grommet

9. Obol

Your friends who are with or without kids will fight over this smart cereal bowl. It has separate compartments for cereal and milk so that flakes never get too soggy.

Buy: Obol, $15 at The Grommet

Credit: The Grommet

10. Bagel Storage Container

If you’re doing a white elephant swap with your coworkers (and Bagel Tuesdays are a thing in your office), consider this cheeky-yet-highly-useful container. Fill it with bagels to make it extra enticing.

Buy: Bagel Storage Container, $13 at The Grommet

It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to do some gift shopping! We’re sharing our favorite picks for anyone on your list — check out all of our gift guides here!