Let’s talk about white elephant parties. Allow me to rephrase. Let’s talk honestly about white elephant parties. We really only go for the gift at the end and to laugh at how cut-throat people get over a gift that they most likely are going to regift later. Still, though, we are responsible for ensuring that what we buy isn’t that gift that no one wants and continually trades for something better. It’s nice to know that people like what you bought enough to argue over it and you want to be that person who causes that–I get it. I have been the person with the worst gift and one of the great gifts. I’ve been attending these for years now, picking up on the gifts that people value more than others. Here is what I have observed:
1. Christmas mug
How many of your friend’s cabinets look like a huge collection of mugs when you open them? I get the appeal, I do, they’re pretty and cute, each one so unique with corny phrases and patterns. A mug with a llama on it? Yes! Take advantage of our weakness to these corny little cups, pick one that’s Christmas themed and perfect for any type of person. Plus, they can be found for around 10 dollars or less, so that’s perfect for your white elephant budget.
2. Nail polish
Who doesn’t love getting a couple new colors of nail polish? I know it has become more common for people to go get their nails done, but nail polish is relatively inexpensive and could be paired with another one of the items on this list to make for an even more desirable gift. I highly recommend the gel polish, as it does last longer and it is a higher quality polish that people will recognize.
As if we weren’t eating enough holiday treats already, let’s add some more! You know that aisle in every drug-store that’s full of nice chocolates and peppermint bark? This could be your best friend. Pick out a variety of higher quality candies and chocolates–your typical stocking stuffers– and present it as a cute gift by putting it in a stocking for gifting. Not only are they getting some amazing sweet treats, but an adorable stocking as well.
You may be thinking, no Taylor, we are not giving a planner to someone as a gift, but hear me out. Maybe I’m just friends with too many type-A personalities (like myself), but a new planner is always a popular gift. I literally love planners, there are so many different kinds, and it’s actually enjoyable for me to fill in every month. Plus, I’d probably be failing all of my classes without it. We are college students, so if you haven’t gotten the memo, get a planner. After all, we’re heading into a new year soon with new possibilities–it’s time for a new planner too.
This is one of those gifts that are perfect for anyone, no matter who they are; everyone can get good use out of a journal. Something about a fresh, clean journal with new possibilities makes me so happy. I have really enjoyed the few times I have received them. Not to mention, there are so many different kinds to cater to your needs. There are even journals with drawing and writing prompts for the not-so-creative people out there, like myself. Whichever you choose, be mindful of what would please the most people.
6. Mini waffle maker
If I’m being honest, out of every item I brought to college, the thing I was the most excited for was my mini waffle maker. I use it all the time because it is just so portable, quick, and simple. Might I also add that it was only ten dollars? And it works perfectly, no undercooking or burning. The instructions are easy and straight to the point. Why should this be a gift? For all the reasons I have already named, plus the fact that it is so cute and something anyone could use. A woman brought one to a white elephant of mine before and it got fought over until the very end of the game.
Can you ever really go wrong with an ornament? They are inexpensive too–as long as you aren’t buying from Hallmark. Every year my mom buys me a new ornament to celebrate something that happened to me that year. I’m sure I’ll be finding a Starbucks ornament on the tree this year for my recent addiction to caffeine. Maybe you can’t be nearly this specific while buying for a random person, but you could guess at a design that anyone could love. For example, a pizza ornament, who doesn’t love pizza? And yes, I would know, my mom also got me a pizza ornament one year for my first job at Dominos.
Fun fact: Smells activate sensory memory in the brain, causing you to recall memories and emotions. This could be your ex’s perfume or the smell of vanilla sugar cookies and pine trees that make you think of Christmas. Let’s stick with the pine trees for this purpose. Candles are a necessity at this time of year to make a space cozy and lively. This is exactly why candles are the perfect gift to bring to a white elephant, they could never be a bad gift and will always be used.
9. Gift cards
As an avid shopper at Starbucks, I can say with certainty that their gift cards definitely take the cake. Besides, you can never go wrong with a gift card, unless it’s your significant other and they’re expecting something a little more heartfelt–then don’t get a gift card. However, if you do get a gift card, Starbucks would be a great option. This isn’t an ad, just a helpful tip from a stranger (though I’d like to think you know me through my writing). So, if you are really stuck, or just an awful gift-giver, grab a gift card, even if it’s just for Target–we’re college students, we can always use them.
10. Wine glasses
For those who prefer a glass of dry red wine to the bitter morning coffee, beautiful wine glasses would be the perfect gift. Being that we’re in college, not everyone drinks wine, but you’d be surprised by how many ladies are out there having Wednesday Wine Nights. They even offer delicate little glasses with patterns. Target would be a great place to find these for around ten dollars.