How to Find the Perfect White Elephant Gift

How to find the perfect white elephant gift

The white elephant party is a tradition in our home. We have been hosting this party (almost) every year for the past 15 years, and by now our friends are getting pretty savvy as to what makes an excellent white elephant gift. Coming up with new and creative ideas is always part of the fun. The most important thing to remember when choosing a white elephant gift is that it should be something that makes everyone laugh, groan, or at least smile a little. Here are our top ideas to help you find the perfect white elephant gift, including ten different categories of great white elephant gifting, with sample ideas for each. All the specific gifts you see can be found on, so you know you can get them and get them fast.  Have fun!


1. Something Retro

Is there a toy that brings back special memories for you? Chances are that this will pull at the heartstrings of at least some of your friends. For my husband and his pals the big ticket item one year was the classic Mattel hand-held electronic football game. Wow! I thought we were going to have some tackling on our family room floor to get a hold of this gift. Another big winner was the Stretch Armstrong doll. (*A note here that it does seem to be the guys who are secretly very attached to the toys of their youth.)

Mattel Football

Stretch Armstrong

Retro Atari Games

2. Something with the Potential to be Really Great

Our favorite idea for this category is lottery scratchers. These can stand alone or be a fun incentive topper for any other gift. It’s up to you if you want to tell your guests that they can’t scratch the tickets until all of the swapping is over. One year someone brought fake lottery tickets so the person who wound up with the gift thought she won a million dollars for a few sweet minutes.
A shotski makes a great white elephant gift

3. Something  Handmade

This is a wide open category. You might bring something really cool, or really not-so-cool.  The best handmade gift that has ever shown up at our party is probably a shotski. This was made by white elephant gift idea -- the shotskisuper gluing shot glasses to an old ski. The fun of this gift is filling all the shot glasses and then having people line up to do a “group shot” together. We have this hanging on the wall in our game room during the off season.


4. Something Embarrassing to Wear

white elephant gift ideasOkay, so this category lends itself immediately to underwear. Funny boxers, huge granny panties, and racy Christmas lingerie are all good ideas. You might also go with an ugly Christmas sweater (these are super popular these days) or a funny tee shirt. The possibilities are endless. Extra bonus if the gift recipient poses for a picture in their new attire!

5. Something You Know Will be Secretly Coveted by at Least One Person

Do you know anyone at the party with a favorite hobby, activity, or other life love? Cats maybe? Golfer? Needlepoint enthusiast? These can be great inspirations, and you can bet that they will be sought after by at least one person.

Potty Putter

Funny Cookbooks

Themed Ornaments

6. Something You Just Want to Get Rid Of

Do you have a giant teddy bear from last year’s county fair sitting in your attic? Lace doilies from grandma’s house? Really annoying toys that the kids have outgrown? A white elephant is a great excuse to clear out your closets and find that “special something” that is just taking up space. (* This is the best category of gift for those who really hate shopping.)

7. A Special Treasure from Goodwill

This category is my personal favorite because I love poking around Goodwill to find something that makes me smile. There are no rules here. I have found a pink bowling ball with matching case and shoes which was a big hit, a Jane Fonda workout tape and leg warmers, a traveling bar set and many more treasures that are sure to be white elephant hits. Look below for more great Goodwill inspirations!How to find the perfect white elephant gift

white elephant gift ideas







8. Something Slightly Racy

This one can easily tie back to the underwear category, or it can also branch out on its own. For example, one year a DVD on the art of belly dancing with matching symbols was highly sought after. Another year a friend who is a plastic surgeon brought actual silicone breast implants to the party. (Unfortunately assembly was not included.) The Kama Sutra or anything vaguely suggesting male genitalia are also gifts sure to lead to giggles and blushing.

9. A Snuggie

When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a Snuggie. These days they come in all kinds of colors and patterns and they are super versatile! They are the gift that everyone loves to hate (but probably secretly loves.)

10. Something that will Make You Laugh

You can find so many great gag gifts these days that are sure to be good for a chuckle, and in the end that is the best quality of a good white elephant gift. Here are a few inspirations that I might put on my short list for our next party.

How to host a great white elephant party --tips, directions, invitations, and more!Do you Want to host your own white elephant party? Be sure to check out our white elephant party ideas page, with tons of ideas on how to play, and hints to make your party extra successful!

4th of July Treats!

4th of july ideasAdd extra sparkle to your 4th of July by giving out some goodies to enjoy while watching the fireworks!

Every year we get together with family friends to celebrate the 4th of July. It’s such a great,
all-American day, with picnics, barbecues, rodeos, and of course, fireworks!  To make the evening even more special and keep the younger crowd busy while waiting for the fireworks to start, we like to send everyone off with a bag of goodies. Here are some ideas for making and filling your own bags 4th of July treats:


Start with plain craft paper bags and decorate them with patriotic ribbons, stickers, markers or free 4th of July printables. (We found these at My Sister’s Suitcase.)

Add any combination of the following 4th of July party treats:

  • 4th of July favorsGlow in the dark necklaces (these are also great for keeping track of the people you came with once it gets dark!)
  • Cracker Jacks
  • Peanuts
  • Water or pop (Click here for some cute printable water bottle labels like the ones in the picture made by Tea Party Designs)
  • Candy (we chose big lollipops so they would last a while)
  • Bubble gum (you can often find red, white, and blue gumballs which look pretty if you put them into small cellophane bags tied with ribbon)
  • 4th of July ideasSparklers
  • Pinwheels
  • Bubbles

If you want to get more elaborate, you might consider making up tee shirts or ball caps to commemorate the day.

4th of July Party If you want even more great 4th of July party ideas and inspiration for 4th of July treats, take a look at the 4th of July party page on Creative Party Themes.

5 Must Have Graduation Party Favors

graduation party favor ideas

It’s almost graduation time! Time to celebrate the completion of the time spent at school and get ready for the adventures ahead! If you are planning on hosting a party to honor a special graduate, or if you have lots of wonderful grads to remember, here are 5 must have graduation party favors that are sure to do the trick!

Graduation Favor Boxes

Graduation Hat Favor Boxes

I love these little hats! You can fill them with a note, candy, confetti, or other small gift. They would look great on a party table or they could be a perfect “special something” to give to all your grad’s friends to let them know you were thinking of them.
Personalized Scalloped Party Labels

Personalized Party Labels

These fun labels come in an assortment of colors and styles to match any party theme. Then you can customize them even more with a name, a date, and a message. These would make great accents on your invitations, thank you notes, or party favors. (The picture shows labels for a baptism, but you can design them for your graduation party).
Class of 2017 Black Stadium Cups

Class of 2015 Stadium Cups

If you are hosting a graduation celebration, you are going to need cups. These Class of 2017 stadium cups are perfect because they go with classic graduation party décor, they are unique to your party theme, and best of all, they can be saved as a party souvenir (they make great pencil holders for college dorms)!

Class of 2017 Black Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies JarA Jar of Cookies

I think this personalized Class of 2017 jar full of chocolate chip cookies is an amazing idea for a graduation gift! I have so many kids that I would like to do something for, and not only are these cookies delicious, they are also reasonably priced, which makes them perfect for party favors or small gifts for groups of grads.

Great Books

I saved my favorites for last! Books are always a great gift for a graduate, and there are so many fun titles out there to choose from! Here are a few of my favorites:

1001 Things Every College Student Needs to Know Believe Book Oh The Things You'll Need Book


thumb_graduation_page1 For more graduation party ideas, be sure to check out our graduation party page, or follow us on Pinterest!

Follow Creative Party Themes’s board Graduation Party Ideas on Pinterest.

Graduation Party Ideas

Graduation Photo Booth Props - Black and Gold Decorations from

Graduation Party Photo Booth Props Kit 

It’s springtime, and that means it’s almost time for graduation! Do you know someone special who is graduating this year? Will you be planning a graduation party? Here are some graduation party ideas and fun new graduation party supplies that we love for 2015.


Photo Booth Props — Photo booths are a great idea to capture memories at a graduation party, prom, Senior lock-in or other school event. We found this fun 20 piece photo booth prop set at Big Dot of Happiness. It comes in silver or gold and has everything you need to set up an amazing photo booth.

Keys to Success Open House Pack For 60Personalized Graduation Party Ware — If you are hosting a grad party, you will definitely need lots of tableware for drop in guests. We found a variety of great options at, including these fun personalized party supplies.

If you would rather hang some photos of your grad instead of putting his picture onto your party plates, here are a few other great decorating ideas.

Tassel Worth The Hassle - Gold - Graduation Photo Garland Banners
Graduation Photo Garland
Graduation Photo Yard Sign - Grad Party Decorations
Graduate Photo Yard Sign
Graduation Party Photo Table Confetti - 27 ct
Graduation Photo Table Confetti


Signature Graduation Cap
Another idea at graduation time is to keep a memory of all the special friends, teachers, and relatives that have been an important part of your grad’s school days. I love the idea of creating a keepsake at your graduation event. One easy idea is using a graduation signature mat frame and have all your guests write their well wishes on it. Another fun twist on this idea is putting out a signature graduation cap for friends to sign.

Finally, adding some special touches to your party can go a long way towards making it truly memorable. One new idea we found this year is graduation cap bottle toppers. These can make any beverages look extra special.  Giving your guests graduation bubbles or other graduation party favors can also be fun.

Graduation Cap Party Bottle Toppers
graduation party ideas

For many more great graduation party ideas, be sure to visit our graduation party page at