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A white elephant gift exchange is a party game that often takes place at the holiday season. The term white elephant refers to a gift whose maintenance costs exceed its usefulness. It is based on the legend of the King of Siam gifting rare albino elephants to courtiers who displeased him,that they might be ruined by the animals' upkeep costs. These days white elephant gifts are to be humorous, gags, and meant to entertain. The concept is fun but finding the right gift at the right pricepoint can be stressful. This gift guide is for those of you attending a white elephant exchange, looking for the white elephant gift ideas under $25 that are gender neutral, good for a broad range of ages and personalities.
In general, I recommend not buying white elephant gifts that are related to alcohol, have drug references, or are food (or food related, like bacon-printed socks). While you may find it funny, others may find it against their beliefs, their culture, or their recovery. All the suggestions below have free shipping; I chose most with Amazon with Prime shipping so you can get it to your home or office in time for your event!
This moldable putty changes color in the sunlight, glows in the dark, and with the included blacklight can glow when you “draw” on it. It doesn’t dry out and receives rave reviews from people young and old. While it’s not something anyone needs, it’s a fun thing to have on a desk to play with when trying to find inspiration or survive a boring conference call. $15.00 via Uncommon Goods.
This mini version of a shop vac is a functioning vacuum for your desk that sits at only 4” in height. With two attachments that will catch all the crumbs that fell in your keyboard while working through lunch. $19.99 via Amazon.
Speaking from experience, LEGOs are still fun when you’re an adult. I may claim to be helping Emerson do a LEGO set for the first time but really I’m enjoying myself. This LEGO set of Venice, Italy features the Rialto Bridge, St. Marks Basilica, St. Mark's Campanile, St. Theodore and the Winged Lion of St. Mark, and the Bridge of Sighs. The included booklet contains information about the designer, architecture and history of each structure, as well as historical facts about Venice and its architectural heritage. $21.99 via Amazon.
This is the kind of present that will be enjoyed at the party, be a blast on New Year’s Eve, and can be passed on to kids for a fun distraction. Get your inner raver on with these light-up LED gloves with seven colors and six modes of flashing lights. Even better, batteries are included! $13.99 via Amazon.
The Chia Pet is always a white elephant classic. I chose Kermit the Frog because everyone loves him (and my dad’s name was Kermit so it’s a personal fave), but there’s plenty of versions out there that may better fit the culture of your workplace or your circle of friends. $12.67 via Amazon.
Friends or coworkers young and old will enjoy the retro vibe of this lunchbox. Star Wars is a safe bet, but this link also has lunchboxes for Pac Man, Star Trek, Doctor Who and more. $13.00 via Amazon.
With her trademark red and white polka dot bandanna and determined look, Rosie is ready to you’re your friend or coworker to success! Comes complete with a full color display window box with short history of the Women Ordinance Workers. $21.49 via Amazon.
This squirrel feeder inspired this gift guide when I randomly came across it when searching for a different gift. I read the reviews how people found it so ridiculous, it actually worked without harming any animal, and some purchasers put it outside their office windows that I knew I had to add it to a white elephant gift list! $14.95 via Amazon.
These pillowcases have been a weird and wonderful item on the internet for a bit. The reviews on Amazon make it even more ridiculous and awesome of a gift. Whoever opens this will think WTF but it will spark a lot of conversation. I chuckle just thinking about it. $9.02 via Amazon.
Where we’re going we don’t need roads… but in this day and age we need our Smartphone charged to enjoy the journey! Inspired by Back to the Future, this Flux Capacitor wall charger can juice up two devices at once. $16.99 via ThinkGeek where shipping is free for orders $75 and more. Amazon has a car charger option for $17.39 with free Prime shipping.