'White Elephant' Parties or 'Yankee Swap' Parties are incredibly popular. It's simple, here are the rules:

  1. Everyone brings an wrapped gift.
  2. Everyone draws a number and the person with number 1 gets to choose a gift first.
  3. Then go in order of the numbers and each person can either pick a new gift, or steal a gift from someone else.
  4. Put a cap on a gift being stolen 3 times. This means if you have the gift after the third steal, it's yours.
  • 58% of people say they've done one before.
  • 27% of people did one last year, up 14% from the previous year.
  • 62% of people say they DID NOT receive a gift they wanted the last time they played.

Here are 5 steps to throwing a successful White Elephant party.

  • The ideal number of people is 11. Any more than that it gets confusing and takes too long.
  • The most popular week to throw the party is the third week in December.
  • Make sure you cap the amount on spending. The most popular amount is $25.
  • There should be a limit on the amount of times a gift can be stolen. Three was the most popular response, although 19% said they would eliminate capping the amount of steals.
  • Don't use the 'timeout' rule. This is where you open all the gifts at first, then start the stealing the next round. This rule was voted by the majority of people to not be used.


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