To save this word, you'll need to log in. Log In Definition of white elephant 1 : an Asian elephant of a pale color that is sometimes venerated in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar 2 a : a property requiring much care and expense and yielding little profit b : an object no longer of value to its owner but of value to others c : something of little or no value Did You Know? The real white elephant the kind with a trunk is a pale pachyderm that has long been an object of veneration in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar. Too revered to be a beast of burden, the white elephant earned a reputation as a burdensome beast, one that required constant care and feeding but never brought a single cent or paisa or satang or pya to its owner.
White elephant gift exchanges are all about the luck of the draw and, well, steal. If you want to win over friends, family, and coworkers, or at the very least give everyone a good laugh at this year's holiday party, show up with one of these white elephant gifts. Since there are a few different ways to approach this annual gift exchange, we've rounded up a list of white elephant gift ideas that include downright hilarious gag gifts , useful household finds, and office-friendly picks that'll cause an all-out stealing war. But, really, the the weirder okay, more unique the gift, the more fun the party will be. While you're at it, think about the other gift exchanges — Secret Santa , Dirty Santa , you name it — you have planned for this holiday season because you'll probably find a few crowd-pleasing ideas on this list. Just sayin'.
What Makes the Best White Elephant Gift?
A white elephant gift exchange ,  Yankee swap  or Dirty Santa  [nb 1] is a party game where amusing, impractical gifts are exchanged during festivities. The goal of a white elephant gift exchange is to entertain party-goers rather than to gain a genuinely valuable or highly sought-after item. The term white elephant refers to an extravagant, impractical gift that cannot be easily disposed of. The phrase is said to come from the historic practice of the King of Siam now Thailand giving rare albino elephants to courtiers who had displeased him, so that they might be ruined by the animals' upkeep costs. While the first use of this term remains a matter of contention among historians,  one theory suggests that Ezra Cornell brought the term into the popular lexicon through his frequent social gatherings as early as Each participant supplies one wrapped gift, usually of similar value. The first person opens a wrapped gift, and the turn ends. When a person's gift is stolen, that person can either choose another wrapped gift to open or can steal from another player. The game is over when everyone has a present.
A White Elephant Gift Exchange is a popular Christmas event where people vie to walk away with the best present. The White Elephant game is played by a lot of different rulesets — some dead simple and others confusingly elaborate. Here are the basic rules:. Alternatively, someone can draw names from a hat, or the order can be set by the organizer prior to the event.