8 cheap white elephant gift ideas

Unsure of what to get a friend, family member or colleague for an upcoming white elephant gift exchange? If you’ve never attended a white elephant party, the popular holiday tradition generally refers to gift exchanges where presents are cheap, impractical and gifted anonymously, making them an ideal choice for budget-friendly office parties and family get-togethers.

So, if you’re stumped on what to select for an upcoming gift exchange and you’re looking for some inspiration, fret not: We’ve made gift-giving a little easier for you this holiday season with a list of white elephant gift ideas that are cheap, but also fun.

Amazon.com
A Gift (or Gift Card) From Amazon If you’re looking for a gift that’s quick and clever, peruse options on Amazon.com. Simply type in “white elephant gifts” in the retailer’s search engine, and a variety of unique and interesting ideas will come up, from classic presents (think: a $19.99 grilled cheese sandwich toaster) to inexpensive and eccentric oddities, most of which may be questionable in taste and likely ideal for a friend gathering, rather than an office gift exchange. If you’re shopping for a white elephant gift for a co-worker, consider getting an Amazon gift card, which is an easy way to save time and money and ensure the recipient receives a quality gift he or she can put to use. (Thinkstock)
Heap of colorful jelly babies / gummy bear sweets. Potential use as a background.
Sweet Treats For anyone you know with a sweet tooth, OffTheWagonShop.com specializes in odd and funny gag gifts. The retailer is worth checking out for, well, anything unusual, but they have a selection of especially cheap candy assortments you may want to consider for an inexpensive gift. For example, you can buy your friends six bacon-flavored or pickle-flavored candy canes for $5.99 per pack. Or, if you (or a friend or colleague) have ever wondered what pancakes and maple syrup-flavored jelly beans taste like, you can find out by picking up a box (made by Jelly Belly) for $2.59 per box. And who wouldn’t want to receive a box of Mister Rogers Encouragemints for $2.99? For another interesting and inexpensive gift, consider checking out the options at OldTimeCandy.com, which specializes in nostalgic treats, including candy that was popular in the ’70s. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Rupert Weidemann)
gold, jewelry, diamond beauty imprinted in a stone and metal
Tacky Jewelry or Handmade Goods If you have a friend who likes jewelry and has a good sense of humor, you could take this route. Etsy.com, the online marketplace that specializes in handmade gifts, has a webpage dedicated to tacky jewelry — as well as a white elephant gifts page. On its tacky jewelry page, you can find wacky items like a “chewing gum necklace,” featuring dangling clay that resembles, you guessed it, chewed bubble gum for $12. Tacky is in the eye of the beholder, but along with inexpensive items, you’ll likely find something your family members or friends will love to hate. If gifting tacky jewelry isn’t your thing, consider picking up clothing, artwork or another stocking stuffer from Etsy.com for an affordable and customized gift. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/DVB60)
Woman sitting on the sofa reading a book holding her coffee mug
A Coffee Mug Coffee mugs are practical and certainly fall into the white elephant gifts category, provided you search for something that you’d never buy for yourself. Type “celebrity coffee mugs” into Google, and you’ll find lots of opportunities for white elephant gifts. Anyone want a mug with actor Danny DeVito’s picture on it? You can get one for $15 at FineArtAmerica.com, or if you prefer and want to go a buck cheaper, buy a $14 mug showcasing actor Paul Rudd. You can also find novelty mugs on online marketplaces like Etsy.com, or try Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com, WorldMarket.com or another online marketplace that offers cheap gift options and low delivery fees. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/Wavebreak Media/Wavebreakmedia Ltd)
Mini rubber chicken hatching-For more rubber chicken images images, click here.  RUBBER CHICKENS
A Gag Gift White elephant gifts are all typically gag gifts, but if you’re looking for an item that’s clearly designed to make you laugh (while being useful, too), consider picking out a present from Big Mouth Inc., a company that makes a variety of unusual products, available on Amazon, including a giant beach blanket that looks like a slice of watermelon for $19.99. Another inexpensive gag gift for any golfer in your life: OffTheWagonShop.com’s exploding golf ball, available for $4.99. (After hitting the golf ball, it explodes — safely — into white powder.) (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Joe_Potato)
Man showing You Are Your Own Brand tittle on t-shirt. Personal branding concept.
A T-Shirt There are numerous websites, such as RedBubble.com, Zazzle.com, CafePress.com and SnorgTees.com, where you can buy tees for around $20 (plus shipping costs). SnorgTees.com, for instance, specializes in humor, with tees that have sayings like, “Never trust an atom. They make up everything.” Or you could get a family member or friend a political-themed T-shirt you know they’ll never want to wear. While everyone’s idea of a perfect white elephant gift will be different, the possibilities of silly, cheap and custom-made tees are endless. (Thinkstock)
Wireless speaker for mobile phone, Speaker for smartphone on white background.
A Random or Tech-Focused Gift Even if you’re on a tight budget, you could spring for an inexpensive bottle of wine, candles or electronic accessories. For example, PopSockets are popular and affordable gifts that appeal to younger gift recipients, which can easily be attached to smartphones and serve as a handle, so users can get a better grip when taking photos or texting. Plus, the handy gadget can help prevent people from dropping their phone, and is available for under $10 with major retailers, including Amazon, Walmart and Target. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/amnachphoto)
Closeup of white elephant made of porcelain, pink background
A White Elephant-Themed Gift Let’s get this out of the way: Getting someone a stuffed white elephant doll or figurine as a white elephant gift is kind of a cop-out. But you could go all out and buy “White Elephant,” a card game that was developed in 2011 and can be found for $17.78 on Amazon.com. Yes, the game is based on the concept of the infamous white elephant gift exchange, but it’s bound to be a crowd-pleaser at a work party and get plenty of use in the future. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Stefan Rotter)
(1/8)
Amazon.com
Heap of colorful jelly babies / gummy bear sweets. Potential use as a background.
gold, jewelry, diamond beauty imprinted in a stone and metal
Woman sitting on the sofa reading a book holding her coffee mug
Mini rubber chicken hatching-For more rubber chicken images images, click here.  RUBBER CHICKENS
Man showing You Are Your Own Brand tittle on t-shirt. Personal branding concept.
Wireless speaker for mobile phone, Speaker for smartphone on white background.
Closeup of white elephant made of porcelain, pink background

Read on for a list of memorable gift ideas available for $20 or less.

[Read: Best Holiday Sales to Shop Besides Black Friday and Cyber Monday.]

[See: Prepare Your Finances for the Holidays.]

[See: 12 Ways to Be a More Mindful Spender.]

More from U.S. News

12 Shopping Tricks to Keep You Under Budget

14 Money Moves You Will Be Thankful For

9 Holiday Shopping Habits That Will Make You Go Broke

8 Cheap White Elephant Gift Exchange Ideas originally appeared on usnews.com

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up