47 best white elephant gifts everyone will want in 2023 | CNN Underscored (2024)

Table of Contents
What is a white elephant gift exchange? White elephant gifts under $25 Lasko MyHeat Personal Mini Space Heater Dash My Pint Electric Ice Cream Maker Exploding Kittens A Game of Cat and Mouth Guajolote Prints Funny Novelty Memo Pads, 4-Pack Slice Ceramic Blade Safety Cutter Patchology Moisturizing Face Mask, 2-Pack Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Mist Caudalie Moisturizing Hand Cream Trio Perilogics Universal In-Flight Airplane Phone Mount TubShroom Ultra Dash Rapid Egg Cooker Oxo Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer Goshi Exfoliating Towel Uncommon Goods Nachosaurus Snack and Dip Set Enerface Pickleball Paddles Sneaker Balls Radial Tie-Dye Shoe Freshener Smoko Baby Tayto Potato Ambient Light Dash Mini Waffle Maker W&P DIY Craft co*cktail Kit Esarora Ice Roller Torre & Tagus Leon Nose-Shaped Eyeglasses Holder Bedsure Satin Pillowcase for Hair and Skin Silicone Floppy Disk Coasters, 6-Pack LifeStraw Personal Water Filter 30 Watt Silicone Wine Glass Holder Moleskine Classic Notebook White elephant gifts under $50 Aerlang Massage Gun Jiggy Snow Cabin by Sara Boccaccini Meadows SmartSweets Core 4 Variety Pack Truff White Truffle Hot Sauce 4-Pack Mini Set Bob Ross Chia Pet Ingrid Taper Candle Holder Set Primal Kitchen Oil & Vinegar Gift Set Boska Amigo Round Wood Cheese Board and Knife Set Lululemon Everywhere 2-Liter Belt Bag Laneige Starlit Lip Mask Trio Quince Plush Recycled Faux-Fur Throw Jo Malone London English Pear & Freesia Body & Hand Wash Hamilton Beach Dual Breakfast Sandwich Maker Urban Outfitters Noodle Bowl Set Yeti Rambler 26-Ounce Water Bottle Homesick White Elephant Candle Hydro Flask 12-Ounce Mug Blue Bottle Coffee Cold Brew Set Capri Blue Fir & Firewood Reed Diffuser Aerolatte Professional Milk Foamer With Counter Stand

It’s that time of year again, and while you’ve spent hours planning what to get your friends and family for the holidays, you’re still not sure what to get for that white elephant exchange you’re invited to. But that’s okay, because to help you out we’ve put together a list of useful and hilarious gifts that are sure to be the hottest commodity at your exchange.

What is a white elephant gift exchange?

The white elephant exchange is a time-honored tradition where everyone brings a wrapped gift and then draws a number to decide what order they’ll choose a present in. The rules can vary, but from there, you generally trade and swap gifts that, most of the time, end up sitting in the back of your closet. Everyone wants to bring funny gag gifts, but if you’ve been the person who ends up going home with a whoopee cushion, you’ll know that those funny gifts lose their appeal after the drive home.

To help you find the perfect gift that strikes that balance of funny and useful, we’ve rounded up our favorite white elephant gift ideas that your group will love. Since these gift exchanges often have spending limits, everything on our list costs $50 or less.

Need more ideas? Check out our favorite practical gifts, gift ideas for men, gift ideas for women and Amazon gifts.

White elephant gifts under $25

This 6-inch energy-efficient device is the perfect companion to a chilly fall or winter day with its ability to produce just enough heat to keep your immediate surroundings nice and toasty.

Your friend with a sweet tooth will love this electric ice cream maker, which churns up the perfect amount for one person in just a few minutes. See more of the best ice cream makers here.

Reader Favorite

This hectic game from the makers ofExploding Kittensis a pinball-esque competition that will have you catapulting balls at each other for hours.

Someone is bound to get a kick out of these memo pads, which are printed with all-too-real sentiments like “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Reader Favorite

Small but mighty, this little blade (and Underscored reader favorite) is an easy way to quickly open all those packages you’ve been getting. Plus, its ceramic blade is harder and more durable than steel.

This time of year, anyone’s skin can use a little extra TLC. Complete with smoothing resveratrol and moisturizing hyaluronic acid, these festive face masks will leave them looking and feeling fresh.

The 31 best beauty stocking stuffers that feel like little luxuries

They shouldn’t have to put their book to bed for the night just because their sleeping partner has fallen asleep. With this personal LED reading light, they can immerse themselves in their favorite literary works until the sun rises.

In the thick of cold and flu season, nothing will serve them better than this bougie Aesop hand mist with delectable scents of mandarin, rosemary and cedar that leaves hands silky soft, thanks to the addition of aloe vera.

The 41 best gifts under $25

Anyone can use a handy hand cream to pop into their purse, briefcase or pocket while on the go. This convenient set of three repairs skin and nails without silicones or a greasy film, and they’ll have one for each bag.

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This adjustable clamp attaches directly to your tray table, allowing you to enjoy the movies you’ve downloaded without holding your phone for an entire flight. See more ofour favorite products for comfortable flying here.

Read our review

The best holiday gift ideas for frequent travelers

Editor Favorite

If we’re going all the way to the practical side, the recipient of this gift might not be super excited at first, but trust us, once they plop it into their tub, they’ll be texting you how genius a present it really is. It’s even an Underscored editor favorite.

Reader Favorite

Everything you need to prep an avocado, from slicing to pitting, in one compact,dishwasher-safe tool. It’s anUnderscored reader favorite.

Editor Favorite

Goshi makes our absolutely hands-down favorite exfoliating towel on the market. It’s a gift that everyone will be fighting over.

Read our review

The perfect centerpiece for their next get-together, this Nachosaurus snack set is the best way to enjoy chips and salsa.

The 45 best gifts for teens that they’ll actually like

Inspire them to start playing pickleball with this beginner-friendly set that comes with two paddles, two balls and a portable carrying box. All they need is a court to play on!

The benefit of a white elephant gift exchange is you’re not giving someone these sneaker balls directly. If you handed it to your friend, they might take offense, but if they get it through a game, they might actually find them useful.

How cute is this light that’s shaped like an adorable potato? Do we need to say anything else?

Editor Favorite

Another cute kitchen item, this waffle maker from Dash whips up tiny waffles in a jiffy. Plus, it comes in fun colors and even a heart-shaped version.

The 49 best gifts for cooks and foodies, according to experts

This small co*cktail kit features all the ingredients you need to make an Old Fashioned (minus the alcohol). If you’re not into whiskey, there’s also a Bloody Mary option available.

Editor Favorite

Beauty lovers will be eyeing this beloved ice roller, which helps depuff your face and is a fantastic migraine (and hangover) reliever.

Read our review

This stand is a chic and functional way to store your favorite frames — whether they’re sunglasses or your trusty prescription lenses.

This polyester satin pillowcase can help reduce irritation to your hair and skin thanks to its super-smooth surface, just like silk pillowcases —but at a fraction of the price. Check out our full guide on thebest silk pillowcases here.

The 38 best cozy gifts for the homebody in your life

If someone that’s old enough to remember floppy disks opens up these coasters, they’re sure to let out a chuckle. They’re the perfect way to protect your table and your fond memories of the ’90s.

Editor Favorite

Ensure your adventurer can always have a clean drink of water wherever they go with this personal filter.

Read our review

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Wine lovers are definitely going to grab for this wine holder, which sticks to your bathroom wall so you can enjoy that bubble bath with a glass of pinot.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with an old standard, like this classic Moleskine notebook that’s available in 22 colors, including basic black.

White elephant gifts under $50

Those with constant aches and pains haven’t known bliss until they get their hands on a massage gun with 20 variable speeds and six different attachments to target sore spots without having to book a pricey appointment at the spa.

The 45 best gifts for Dad

Is there a puzzle enthusiast in your group? If so, why not gift one of these beautiful puzzles from Jiggy that can double as a framed art piece when completed?

We all love a sweet treat, but many of us can do without the sugar high and incoming headache. Enter SmartSweets, which makes a highly giftable variety pack of crave-worthy candies in nostalgic varieties from peach rings to sour gummy bears.

Truff makes the blandest of dishes turn into chef-approved works of art, so be sure to allow your giftee to dress up their meals on the go with this mini white truffle hot sauce set.

If you can’t help yourself and want to get a funny gift, at least get something the recipient can put on their desk as decoration, like this hilarious Bob Ross Chia Pet.

Holiday gifts under $50 you’ll wish you thought of sooner

Serving to both display candles and elevate your decor, these minimalist and mismatched candle holders are the perfect addition to any tablescape, bookcase or coffee table.

Everyone knows a good quality oil and vinegar elevates any meal while functioning as a seriously practical gift. Complete with balsamic vinegar, organic extra virgin olive and avocado oils, this giftable set gives them everything they’ll need to add a certain je ne sais quoi to their recipes.

This cheese board and knife set won’t only make entertaining that much more efficient, but it’s sophisticated enough to display on a kitchen countertop or bar cart.

Rocking this ultra-popular and editor-favorite waterproof belt bag is the best way to go hands-free while toting around more belongings than you thought possible, thanks to its large 2-liter capacity and several compartments.

Complete with nourishing and hydrating ingredients like vitamin C, coconut oil and murumuru and shea butters, these three dermatologist-approved lip masks will allow them maintain pillow-soft lips right ahead of mistletoe season.

Available in two stunning neutral hues, this sustainable faux-fur throw is the perfect way to help them add a warm and welcoming vibe to their space while allowing them stay warm in Arctic temps.

This luxurious fruit- and floral-scented wash can follow them from the bathroom sink to the shower, leaving skin feeling soft, supple and smelling beyond incredible.

The exchange will be fighting over this breakfast sandwich maker, which helps make the morning a little less stressful.

This painted bowl is the perfect way to enjoy all your favorite noodle dishes. it comes ready with bamboo chopsticks and a whimsically shaped chopstick holder. Plus, it’s available in three different designs.

Best Tested

If you want to give out something really nice, try this insulated water bottle from Yeti. Winner of our top spot in the best water bottles test, this sturdy bottle will soon become part of their daily essentials.

Is there a more perfect white elephant gift than this? This candle carries all the best scents of the holidays, with notes of candied orange, cardamom, gingerbread cookie, clove and Champagne. Basically, it’ll smell like a holiday gift exchange every time they light it.

The person always drinking coffee will love this insulated mug that keeps their drink hotter for longer.

Editor Favorite

Coffee gifts are great choices for someone you may not know well. Blue Bottle Coffee products is a favorite among our staff, and the brand offers a large selection of giftable items, like this cold brew set.

The person who needs some help relaxing this holiday season will love this calming diffuser set, which smells like a blend of green apple, clove, fir and pine needles

Nordstrom’s holiday guide is live: Here are the items you should buy

Any latté enthusiasts at your exchange will love this little milk foamer, which helps them quickly and easily add a little frothy luxury to their morning brew.

47 best white elephant gifts everyone will want in 2023 | CNN Underscored (2024)
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