35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (2024)

Table of Contents
Extra hand for cooking Uncommon GoodsAutomatic Pan Stirrer with Timer Tasteful ornaments Cody Foster Ice Cream Sandwich Ornament Luxe laundry gear Capri BlueVolcano Dryer Ball Kit Cutest waffle iron in the galaxy Star WarsThe Mandalorian Mini Waffle Maker Drinking buddy Sofa StudMugworthy Sofa Stud Tiny tracker AppleAirTag Kitchen helper Hammacher SchlemmerAutomatic Jar Opener Not your normal puzzle Frank Lloyd Wright Double Sided Puzzle Pintoo 3D Puzzle Vase SPF set Supergoop!Daily Essentials SPF Starter Kit High quality hair towel Crown AffairThe Towel Oprah’s planner Oprah DailyOprah's The Life You Want Planner Self-sufficient planter SuttonSelf-Watering Planter Nourishing pout protector LaneigeLip Sleeping Mask Microwavable cookware AnydayThe Medium Shallow Dish Belt bag LululemonEverywhere Belt Bag Fancy bottle opener RevisionGold Convex Opener Gentle hand wash HomecourtNeroli Leaf Hand Wash Attach anywhere mirror Hammacher SchlemmerThe Attach Anywhere LED Mirror Gold measuring spoons Williams SonomaGold Measuring Spoons Face mask minis Peter Thomas Roth Masking Minis Kit Mini campfire ColsenHex Small Fire Pit Defrosting tray Hammacher SchlemmerThe Faster Defrosting Tray All-in-one exfoliator Hammacher SchlemmerWaterproof Electronic Massaging Exfoliator The ultimate charcuterie board RoyalHouse Bamboo Cheese Board and Knife Set Giftable greenery Costa FarmsMoney Tree Apothecary cloche Skeem Design The Match Cloche Brass picture light RAIFOOLLYMetal Art Light for Display Quirky coffee mug Modern Paperie Co.Hold On Let Me Overthink This Coffee Mug Lumsburry Build-On Brick Coffee Mug Luxury bathtub caddy ROYAL CRAFT WOODLuxury Bathtub Caddy Tray Touchscreen gloves MoshiDigits Winter Touchscreen Gloves Luxe eye masks Grace & StellaEnergy Drink Eye Masks, 24 Count Mood-setting candle HomesickEvening Unwind Candle Tailgating table CameronsAll-in-One Tailgating Table

Shopping for holiday gifts in general can be hard enough, but a white elephant game, in which each person has the choice to either unwrap a new present or to steal another’s, presents its own challenges. You need something everyone will want—including, say, a co-worker you don’t know well or people you haven’t met yet, like your cousin’s new boyfriend—and you probably have to adhere to a price limit. To help you find a gift that’s guaranteed to get stolen, we asked experts to share their surefire picks.

Extra hand for cooking

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (1)

Uncommon GoodsAutomatic Pan Stirrer with Timer

When you’re cooking at home, sometimes you need an extra hand. With this automatic pan stirrer, you can focus on the next steps in your recipe while this handy gadget stirs your sauce, stew or risotto all on its own. It has three speeds and simplifies anything that needs continuous stirring—it does the work all on its own, without any hand holding, says Miami-based innovation and technology expert Steve Greenberg, host of the YouTube gadget game show “What the Heck Is That?” They’ll think of you whenever they eat their low-effort risotto or marinara. Check out these other great gifts for chefs.

Tasteful ornaments

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (2)

Cody Foster Ice Cream Sandwich Ornament

Ice cream sandwich, anyone? Food ornaments are all the rage in holiday decorating these days, and these high-quality, handcrafted glass ones are nostalgic and delightfully unexpected, says Brenna Gilbert, New York City-based founder of lifestyle and entertaining brand Feste and champagne bar Champers. “Anything that makes people laugh when they open the box is a good idea.” Choose from items like a set of vegetables, ice cream sandwiches, bagels and more.

Luxe laundry gear

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (3)

Capri BlueVolcano Dryer Ball Kit

Three certainties in life are death, taxes and laundry. So this set of high-quality, machine-wash accessories is something virtually everyone can use. It includes three reusable wool dryer balls and fragrance oil to soften fabrics, prevent wrinkles and make it all smell nice. Made with grapefruit and tangerine essential oils, Volcano is that rare fragrance everyone seems to love,” says Corpus Christi, Texas-based decorating and DIY expert Monica Benavidez.

Cutest waffle iron in the galaxy

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (4)

Star WarsThe Mandalorian Mini Waffle Maker

Everything is cuter when mini, and that certainly applies to waffles. A favorite of Sutrathada, this 4-inch waffle maker has nonstick plates that pop out a Baby Yoda design (or Grogu, for fans of The Mandalorian) in minutes. Best of all, notes New York City-based lifestyle expert Melanie Sutrathada, it takes up very limited counter space, so college students and apartment dwellers won’t mind if it’s the gift they go home with.

Drinking buddy

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (5)

Sofa StudMugworthy Sofa Stud

Some will find this cup holder gift purely comical but others will find it useful too, says Greenberg, who loves it as a gift for couch-potato types. It’s designed with a bottom “fin” that sticks between the sofa cushions and can hold their drink upright above the surface to prevent spills.

Tiny tracker

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (6)

AppleAirTag

AirTags beat every other tracker in terms of their network size and precision, the two most important factors when it comes to finding lost goods.

At under 2 inches in diameter, this is one of the easiest gifts you’ll ever have to wrap. The recipient can attach one of these Apple AirTags to anything—even their pet’s collar—and start tracking it with the “Find My” app on their phone. People who tend to lose their keys, wallet or bag will especially appreciate it, says Kristen Gall, San Francisco-based president of Rakuten, who also uses them on luggage when she travels to alleviate lost bag stress. The tiny metal coin works by sending a Bluetooth signal that can be detected by devices with the “Find My” app; they send that information to iCloud, and then you can see the location of your missing item on a map.

Kitchen helper

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (7)

Hammacher SchlemmerAutomatic Jar Opener

Chances are, they don’t already own this handy (literally) device that can come to the rescue the next time your recipient struggles to open a jar of dill pickles or strawberry jam. Greenberg is a fan because it’s easy to use; all they need to do is place it on the stubborn lid, and it will grip it tight while two curved “legs” hold the jar’s exterior in place. Once they press the button, a motor will spin and instantly untwist the lid.

Not your normal puzzle

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (8)

Frank Lloyd Wright Double Sided Puzzle

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (9)

Pintoo 3D Puzzle Vase

Many people found a new passion for puzzling at the height of the pandemic, and it’s safe to say that hobby hasn’t died down. Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections in Glendale, Calif. suggests bringing an interesting puzzle to a gift exchange, like this double-sided option where one side features Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house and the other shows an aerial blueprint of the Fallingwater house grounds. Even more funky, this 3D puzzle becomes a vase you can actually use—fun and practical. It’s also available in seven designs. It’s also one of our favorites from the trending Google Holiday 100 list.

SPF set

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (10)

Supergoop!Daily Essentials SPF Starter Kit

Everyone on your holiday shopping list could use some SPF. Stylist Hallie Abrams recommends the Supergoop Daily Essentials SPF Starter Kit, noting that beauty and self-care items are usually a big hit at gift exchanges in her experience. This kit comes with Supergoop’s original unscented sunscreen with SPF 40, body lotion with SPF 50 and a face mist with SPF 40 that can also be used as a setting spray.

High quality hair towel

Eden Delaune, Fort Worth, Texas-based gift consultant and founder of luxury gift consulting service Bisette, recommends this hair towel from Crown Affair, which is made from a microfiber waffle knit fabric. It’s designed to protect your hair after washing and work on all hair types, from straight or wavy to curly or coiled, so pretty much anyone who ends up with it can enjoy it. Delaune likes it because it “helps cut down drying time and isn’t abrasive,” she says.

Oprah’s planner

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (12)

Oprah DailyOprah's The Life You Want Planner

We all know Oprah gives great advice, so why not try out one of her go-tos? Tami Claytor, a New York City-based image and etiquette consultant, says Oprah’s The Life You Want Planner makes a great holiday gift since “it’s a multi-functional item that combines different activities people engage in at the beginning of a new year,” like journaling and setting goals. The journal includes writing prompts, quotes and advice from Oprah herself to help you set weekly intentions, and it has a gorgeous linen hard cover. It also makes a great stocking stuffer.

Self-sufficient planter

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (13)

SuttonSelf-Watering Planter

If you know someone who loves gardening but isn’t always home to water the plants, consider buying them this self-watering planter. We included it in our list of the best gifts for coworkers thanks to its clever design, as well as its universal appeal, no matter your plant-tending skills. The planter has a subirrigation system in the bottom reservoir that lets the plant’s roots drink up water as needed, similar to how plants absorb water in a natural setting. It comes in four colors: White Dolomite, Speckled Egg, Cobalt and Canary.

Nourishing pout protector

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (14)

LaneigeLip Sleeping Mask

Self-care accessories tend to be crowd pleasers, and this lip mask that recently went viral on TikTok is a favorite among teens and 20-somethings especially, says Gall. The colorful little tub of balm is formulated with antioxidants and vitamin C to hydrate lips when applied nightly. The Peppermint version feels festive, but it also comes in Berry, Vanilla, Mango and even Gummy Bear, all of which would make great stocking stuffers too. (For more stocking stuffer ideas, check out our roundup of unique ones for men and women that are fun and useful.)

Microwavable cookware

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (15)

AnydayThe Medium Shallow Dish

Anyday’s Medium Shallow Dish is the perfect introduction to microwave cooking for someone who has mostly used the appliance to reheat leftovers or nuke popcorn. It can be used for pretty much any dish that cooks with water or steam, meaning everything from eggs to rice to fish to vegetables, and cooks much faster than traditional methods. The company’s website has plenty of recipes, so the gift-grabber will be ready to go from day one.

Belt bag

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (16)

LululemonEverywhere Belt Bag

Abrams also says practical products with brand recognition make great white elephant gifts. She likes the Everywhere Belt Bag from beloved athleisure brand Lululemon, which is designed for people on the move in need of a versatile accessory to store their phone, keys and wallet. It has an adjustable strap and is made of water-repellant fabric, and it comes in 12 colors including Terra Orange, Grey Sage and Pink Pastel.

Fancy bottle opener

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (17)

RevisionGold Convex Opener

According to Delaune, an ideal white elephant gift is a fancier version of a household item that you might not typically purchase for yourself. She cites this unique gold bottle opener from Afternoon Light as a great example, since “it looks really festive and is something that you need handy, but you probably wouldn’t buy a decorative one like this for yourself,” she says. This bottle opener is also designed to last, since it’s made from durable stainless steel and plated in 18-karat gold.

Gentle hand wash

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (18)

HomecourtNeroli Leaf Hand Wash

Hand soap is a kitchen and bathroom essential that everyone uses, so why not offer a gift-worthy upgrade? Delaune likes the Homecourt Neroli Leaf Hand Wash, since it smells fresh and the bottle looks great next to any sink. “Such a routine task is really transformed when you have a luxe hand wash like this one,” she says. The soap features argan oil, Australian hibiscus flower extract and coconut-derived surfactants, offering a formula that moisturizes and hydrates your skin.

Attach anywhere mirror

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (19)

Hammacher SchlemmerThe Attach Anywhere LED Mirror

The Attach Anywhere LED Mirror is a versatile bathroom accessory that can attach to any surface, and Claytor likes that it has two different options for power: USB and battery. “It’s accessible to people who may not be tech savvy or use USB ports,” she says, so it makes a great gift for anyone.

Gold measuring spoons

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (20)

Williams SonomaGold Measuring Spoons

Delaune recommends these gold measuring spoons from Williams Sonoma to add a festive touch to a giftee’s kitchen. “Holiday baking feels that much more special when measuring with these,” she says. Plus, they’re beautiful enough to leave out on the kitchen counter. You can also buy their measuring cup counterpart, or make it a set and get both the cups and spoons.

Face mask minis

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (21)

Peter Thomas Roth Masking Minis Kit

Claytor loves the skincare brand Peter Thomas Roth and has been recommending its Masking Minis kit to clients for years. She likes the gift set’s colorful packaging, which she says helps with presentation, an important aspect of any gift. It includes five of the brand’s best-selling masks that are designed to hydrate, exfoliate, soothe, refine and lift the skin.

Mini campfire

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (22)

ColsenHex Small Fire Pit

No space for an outdoor fire pit? No worries. Everyone has room for one of these Hex tabletop fire pits, which is like a backyard bonfire you can keep inside or take on the go. Whether adding warmth and ambience to their home office or starring as a centerpiece for their dining room table, this sleek, easy-to-use fire pit will impress whoever ends up with it. It also makes a great gift for dads.

Defrosting tray

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (23)

Hammacher SchlemmerThe Faster Defrosting Tray

The first time Claytor saw a defrosting tray was at an “As Seen on TV” store decades ago, and has since named it as a great gift for home cooks. She likes this tray that is designed to safely thaw meat up to 50% faster than other methods. Plus, the reverse side of the tray works as a cutting board with a juice groove and rubber edges.

All-in-one exfoliator

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (24)

Hammacher SchlemmerWaterproof Electronic Massaging Exfoliator

Claytor also recommends this waterproof electronic massaging exfoliator brush, which she describes as an all-in-one product that replaces numerous bath and shower accouterments. The spinning head cleanses, exfoliates, refreshes and softens the skin for a head-to-toe spa experience, making it a versatile personal care product everyone at the gift exchange will fight for.

The ultimate charcuterie board

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (25)

RoyalHouse Bamboo Cheese Board and Knife Set

Any avid host or meat and cheese lover can always use another chic serving piece, which is why Sutrathada suggests this cleverly designed, water-resistant, bamboo charcuterie board. It comes with two grooves for condiments and crackers and a set of four cheese knives—and if you want to step things up, pair it with some nice cheese and your favorite smoked meat to get them started.

Giftable greenery

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (26)

Costa FarmsMoney Tree

Plant parenting can be soothing and rewarding, so when in doubt, a pretty potted option is a smart pick, Sutrathada says. Whether you have a major green thumb or have never tried gardening, this money tree will look great on your windowsill. The 3- to 4-foot-tall plant comes in a ceramic planter pot that will go with just about any room.

Apothecary cloche

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (27)

Skeem Design The Match Cloche

Anyone can appreciate the beauty of this vintage-style container that holds 120 matches. Made of handblown glass, it has a removable cork stopper and flint—they can keep it on a countertop alongside their favorite candles for an easy, and elegant, way to light them up.

Brass picture light

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (28)

RAIFOOLLYMetal Art Light for Display

Originality is half the battle in white elephant exchanges. “We all have that friend who seems to have everything,” says Benevidez. “But do they have a rechargeable picture light? Probably not.” This 16-inch, battery-powered picture light instantly makes any art on your wall look gallery-worthy. It’s dimmable, so you can use it over a computer or mirror as well. Benevidez also recommends it for the hard-to-shop-for “home decor fanatic” in your life. “Trust me,“ she says, “because I am one.”

Quirky coffee mug

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (29)

Modern Paperie Co.Hold On Let Me Overthink This Coffee Mug

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (30)

Lumsburry Build-On Brick Coffee Mug

“Traditionally, White Elephant gifts are quirky, funny gag gifts,” Claytor explains, “but they’ve evolved into items that people would actually enjoy and use.” To pay homage to traditional White Elephant gift exchanges, Claytor likes this quippy coffee mug, since mugs are a household essential that everyone uses. For something more creative, check out the Build-On Brick coffee mug, which comes with three packs of building bricks that can be connected to each side of the mug, including its handle, plus two toys and one minifigure. Choose from nine colors.

Luxury bathtub caddy

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (31)

ROYAL CRAFT WOODLuxury Bathtub Caddy Tray

Not everyone takes baths, but this luxury bathtub caddy tray from Royal Craft Wood might change that. With slots for a phone, candle, wine glass, towel, soap and more, this adjustable tray is any bather’s dream. It expands from 29.5 inches to 43 inches, so it works for wide tubs, too. Plus, choose from seven colors including Natural (pictured), Black, Blue and Pink.

Touchscreen gloves

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (32)

MoshiDigits Winter Touchscreen Gloves

We highly recommend these touchscreen gloves for typing in cold weather, and at $30 a pair, they’re a great pick for a gift exchange. The gloves allow your recipients’ fingers’ electrical charge to pass through the material and activate their phone’s screen. Made of an acrylic/nylon/polyester blend with a soft microfiber lining, they’ll keep their hands warm while still allowing them to scroll and text with ease.

Luxe eye masks

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (33)

Grace & StellaEnergy Drink Eye Masks, 24 Count

Who wouldn’t want to receive an energizing boost to their skincare routine? These eye masks promise to reduce dark circles, cool eyes to reduce puffiness and moisturize to decrease the appearance of fine lines. This set comes with 24 pairs, so your giftee can enjoy them for months to come.

Mood-setting candle

Homesick is well known for its location- and mood-inspired candles, and this Evening Unwind scent is a crowd-pleaser. With notes of green tea and lavender, the natural soy wax candle will set the mood for self-care nights and winter days spent at home.

Tailgating table

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (35)

CameronsAll-in-One Tailgating Table

Whether you’re exchanging gifts with football fans, campers, hikers or barbecue lovers, this all-in-one tailgating table is sure to impress. Claytor recommends the product since it’s “fun and functional and keeps everything organized.” It features an insulated cooler that will keep beverages ice cold, four cup holders and a mesh food basket for snacks. The table is also lightweight and collapsible, making it easy to bring along to any event.

More gift guides

  • Great gifts under $50
  • Gifts for tea lovers
  • Gifts for book lovers

Meet the contributor

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (36)

Bellamy Richardson

Bellamy Richardson is a contributor to Buy Side from WSJ.

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (37)

Erica Finamore

Erica Finamore is a contributor to Buy Side from WSJ.

35 White Elephant Gifts That Everyone Will Fight For (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Last Updated:

Views: 6281

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Birthday: 1998-01-29

Address: Apt. 611 3357 Yong Plain, West Audra, IL 70053

Phone: +5819954278378

Job: Construction Director

Hobby: Embroidery, Creative writing, Shopping, Driving, Stand-up comedy, Coffee roasting, Scrapbooking

Introduction: My name is Dr. Pierre Goyette, I am a enchanting, powerful, jolly, rich, graceful, colorful, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.