11 Easy White Elephant Exchange Games for Work

White elephant exchange games give you a chance to test your creativity and sense of humor.

Share laughs and make great memories with your friends or coworkers with white elephant gift exchange games. These simple games for the workplace or home require only a tiny amount of prep.

Pick your favorite and get ready for gift-swapping fun.

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Fantastic white elephant exchange games for work. A Christmas tree and presents.

Here at Relaxed Hostess, we love to help you to be prepared to show hospitality and have fun with family and friends.

How Does the White Elephant Gift Exchange Work

  • White elephant exchange rules are not set in stone. You can re-gift items, bring something funny or nice.
  • You could also select a theme like “something homemade” or “a travel-related item.”
  • It’s always helpful to set a price range for the gifts.
  • White elephant gifts are usually anonymous, but nothing says you can’t label them with the gift-giver’s name.
  • The organizer gets to set the rules. Just make sure everyone knows the rules.


  1. Set a price range.
  2. Choose a theme.
  3. Inform the participants of the rules (budget, theme, size of the gift, etc.)

At the Party

  1. Everyone brings a wrapped gift to the party and places them in a designated area.
  2. Play a fun white elephant gift exchange game.

I’ll present you with several fun Christmas gift exchange games and some rules you might want to implement.

1. Draw a Number

The easiest way to do a white elephant gift exchange is the number or name draw.

At the beginning of the exchange, everyone draws a number to determine the order in which they will get to pick a gift.

Alternatively, you could write names on paper slips, put them in a Santa hat, and draw one at a time.

  1. Designate a festive area for the gifts, such as under the Christmas tree.
  2. Give everyone a number. To make it easier, the participants should sit in the order they get to go grab a present.
  3. The first player gets to choose a gift and unwrap it. Make sure everyone can see it.
  4. The following players can choose a gift from under the tree or steal an unwrapped gift from someone else. You can select a new gift or steal one if your gift gets stolen.
  5. Note: A gift can only be stolen only once during a turn. If a present is taken from you during one round, you cannot take it back during that same round. But you can take it back if you later end up in a position to pick another gift.
  6. The game ends when everyone has had a chance to pick a gift.

Consider applying additional rules to make the game more interesting and faster

White elephant gift exchange with a twist. Additional rules.

Additional Rules for White Elephant Gift Exchange

White elephant gift exchange with a twist:

  • Three Steals and You are Out: If you get stolen from three times, you are out and get to keep the gift you picked after the third steal.
  • Three Steals and the Gift is Out: If a gift gets stolen three times, the person who stole it for the third and final time gets to keep it.
  • Extra Round for the First Player: After all participants have a gift, the first player gets to swap his gift with anyone (except those who are out because of the “three steal” rules.) Then he is out. If your gift is stolen, you may steal from another player. Then you are out. Continue until someone declines to steal a gift.

2. Christmas Gift Exchange Cards

80 gift exchange cards with images of Christmas presents, gnome and a red pick-up truck

Find the guest with someone who is wearing something sparkly or has baked Christmas cookies and swap gifts… this gift exchange game is great for adults. It is fast-paced and can get quite chaotic, depending on how you play it.

This Christmas chaos is not the stressful kind but fun and exciting.

And all you need is a set of Christmas gift exchange cards stating who to swap gifts with.
There are two awesome ways to play. Which one is your favorite?

Deal the Secret Santa Gift Exchange Cards

  1. Everyone starts with a random gift.
  2. Give each player a few cards.
  3. Follow the instructions on the cards. You can do this in an orderly manner by taking turns or go crazy and do it all at the same time.
  4. Once the participants have used all their cards, they are out.

Draw a Card

  1. Put the cards in a basket or Santa’s hat.
  2. Take turns picking a card and doing what it says.
  3. The game ends when all the cards are used.

Get the inexpensive Christmas gift exchange cards and have a fun, fast-paced gift swap. (Available only in the USA and Canada.)

3. Candy Cane Spin

Candy Cane Spin Gift Exchange Game

Let the candy cane decide who gets to pick a gift.

You’ll only need a candy cane for this fun white elephant game.

  • Place the gifts in a festive spot like under a Christmas tree.
  • Decide how many rounds you’ll play.
  • Sit in a circle.
  • Choose someone to spin a candy cane.
  • Whoever it points to gets to pick a gift and open it. (Or he can grab someone else’s present.)
  • Once the player opens a gift, he should get out of the circle. If someone takes his gift, he gets back in the game.

Apply to additional rules mentioned at the beginning of this post to make the game more interesting and faster.

4. Christmas Carols

If you are a Christmas lover, you probably have a Christmas song playlist or several. That list will come in handy. But who knows, you might want to create a new one for this game.

Be sure to have as many carols as there are players, or you end up using some of the songs more than once, which is okay, too.

You could also add some less-known songs to make the game a bit more challenging.

  • Play one of the Christmas songs for a few seconds.
  • Whoever guesses the title first gets to choose a gift from the gift pile and open it. This player is out unless someone steals his present.
  • The next guesser can pick a new gift or steal a present from another player.
  • The game ends when all the songs have been played, and everyone has a gift.

5. Deck the Halls

This simple white elephant game for large groups requires two decks of cards, maybe three or four if you have a huge group.

You’ll use one of the decks as the draw deck, and the other is dealt to the participants.

Decide on how many gifts everyone should bring. You could go with one big gift or 3-5 smaller gifts.

  1. Place the gifts in a festive spot.
  2. Deal as many cards to each person as they brought gifts.
  3. Use another deck to draw a card and call it, for example, three of hearts.
  4. Whoever is holding that card chooses a gift from the pile and unwraps it.
  5. In the next round, the player whose card is called can either pick a gift from the pile or steal a gift from someone. You can choose a new gift or steal one if your gift gets stolen. (Note: a gift can only be stolen once during a turn. You can’t immediately steal back a gift taken from you.)
  6. Once all the cards are called, the game ends.

Use the additional rules mentioned at the beginning of this post to make the game faster.

6. Christmas Gift Exchange Auction (SECRET)

How to do a gift exchange auction. (an elf girl next to a huge pile of gifts)

This is a hilarious game!


  • For this game, everyone brings at least two gifts in GIFT BAGS, one silly gift and one nice one.
  • You’ll also need Christmas Cash for everyone.
  • Swapping the gifts into different bags would be best to keep the game more interesting and the gifts secret.
Free printable Christmas Cash for Gift Exchange Auction. The "money" has a fun winter scene of a Christmas gnome in front of a cabin.

Christmas Cash for the Auction

Download free Christmas Cash file and print as many as you need for your Christmas event.

How to Play

  1. Give everyone some Christmas Cash.
  2. Hold out one of the wrapped gifts. Everyone starts bidding. The highest bidder gets the gift.
  3. The winner opens the gift… if it is silly, there will be lots of laughter.
  4. Continue until all the gifts are gone.

7. Christmas Gift Exchange Auction (UNWRAPPED)

This game is best when the organizer buys the gifts, and the players pay to participate. This way, all the gifts are surprises to everyone.


  • Let the guests to know how much it costs to participate in the gift exchange.
  • Purchase various gifts based on the budget. Buy a few gifts per participant.
  • Get the Christmas Cash ready.
  • Place the unwrapped gifts in a fun Santa’s gift sack.

Suggestions for collecting the money:

  • The players send in the money when they RSVP.
  • The players purchase Christmas Cash when they arrive at the party. (Free printable above.)

How to Play

  1. The players purchase Christmas Cash.
  2. Reveal one unwrapped gift at a time for bidding. The highest bid wins.
  3. Continue until all the gifts are gone. Some guests will end up with more gifts than others depending on how much they bid on the ones they get.

8. Spin the Wheel

Spin the Wheel is a fun way to exchange gifts at work.

For this one, you want to have one of these Wheel Spinners. This spinner has five changeable wheel faces with 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 sections.


Write instructions on the wheel sections:

  • Unwrap the gift you are holding.
  • Swap gifts with someone who is wearing something sparkly.
  • Exchange gifts with the person on your right.
  • Unwrap the gift. Swap it or keep it. Either way, you are out.
  • Pick someone to unwrap the gift he is holding.
  • Everyone pass the gifts to your left three times.

If you have a lively group that is up for some tasks, you could add some challenges as well:

  • Name your favorite Christmas song and swap gifts.
  • Pretend to be Santa and pick two to swap gifts with each other.
  • Sing a part of a Christmas song, and you get to unwrap and keep the gift you have or trade it with anyone.
  • Toss five jingle bells into a cup and unwrap the gift you are holding.

How to Play

  1. Decide on how many rounds you’ll play.
  2. Take turns spinning the wheel.

To speed up the game, apply the additional rules mentioned at the beginning of this post.

9. Jingle Bell Toss

Aim right and get the gift you want.

You need wrapped gifts, plastic cups (one for each gift and a few extras), jingle bells, paper slips, and a marker.


  • Write numbers on paper slips or gift tags. And label the gifts with those.
  • Write numbers on the cups. Write “swap” and “keep” on the extra ones.
  • Place the cups a few feet from the toss line. Arrange them however you want.
  • Decide how many jingle bells each person gets to toss.

How to Play

  1. Take turns tossing jingle bells into the cups.
  2. Grab and unwrap the corresponding gift. Keep the number tag together with the gift.
  3. Let’s say someone is holding a gift number three, and you toss a jingle bell into a number three cup. If you both already have gifts, you’ll swap them. If you do not have a gift yet, you get to steal gift number three, and the other person receives an extra jingle bell to toss..
  4. If you toss into a swap cup, you can swap with anyone.
  5. If you toss into a keep cup, you are out and get to keep the gift you are holding.

Additional Rules

  • Three Steals and Your are Out: If you get stolen from three times, you are out and get to keep the gift you picked after the third steal.
  • Three Steals and the Gift is Out: If a gift gets stolen three times, the person who stole it for the third and final time gets to keep it.

10. Roll the Dice

Roll the Dice white elephant gift exchange game. A Christmas gnome in a red pick-up truck

Roll the Dice is a popular Christmas party game. It is simple; anyone can play it, and it can be done almost anywhere.

All you need is a couple of dice and roll the dice game. (Available in USA and Canada.)

  1. Decide how many rounds to play.
  2. Everyone starts with a random gift.
  3. Take turns rolling the dice and doing what the game says.

11. Christmas Cheer

Holiday Cheer Gift Exchange Game. Stand and trade places if...

How cheerful is your Christmas?

The gifts stay in place in this fun Christmas cheer game, and the players move around. (Available in USA and Canada.)

  1. Place the gifts in a circle or in random places.
  2. Each player sits by a gift.
  3. Read one statement at a time. The players to whom the statement applies stand up and trade places.

Christmas Fun for Everyone

Do you have a theme for your Christmas party? How about a Christmas luau? These ideas help you to get started on planning a simple party for family, friends, or coworkers.

Serve ice cream. It’s delicious. It’s easy. You’ll love this free Christmas ice cream sundae bar printable.

Host a fabulous Christmas party at work with these 23 terrific ideas.

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