It’s your turn. You have no idea what lies beneath that beautifully wrapped present—it could be a ceramic mug or a My Little Pony. Have your fake “I love it” response ready because if you open up the worst present imaginable and are fighting back tears, no one else needs to know how serious you are taking this White Elephant gift exchange. So save the tears and find the best white elephant gifts out there.
Be the hero of Christmas this year with the best White Elephant gifts for only $10.
1. Lottery ticket (and a penny)
Imagine what it would be like for you to receive this gift. Nothing beats a free chance to win a million bucks. Even though the odds are against you, the few seconds of dreaming up a life of riches while scratching furiously with your new penny would be worth the thrill. If you don’t win anything, at least you’re one cent closer to the million you’ll make on your own.
2. Cool socks
How many pairs of boring, white socks do you own? I’ll answer that for you: too many. Throwing in a pair of hipster socks with a sick pattern is great for both guys and girls. Plus, what’s better than sliding around on your hardwood floors with new socks during Christmas break?
3. Starbucks Gift card
Let’s admit it, we’re all basic. If you add in a Starbucks gift card to the mix of gifts, you’ll surely be the most popular gifter. Everyone’s eyes will grow wide as they imagine the smell of their favorite latte calling their name. So be the hero of the party, and give someone the chance to move up in the world and go for the venti.
4. Fluffy Blanket
What’s been by your side a third of your entire life? A blanket—a warm fluffy companion that doesn’t get mad at you for strangling it in your sleep. So give the gift that won’t stop cuddling.
5. Ghirardelli Chocolate
Let’s just hope the non-human friend of yours who claims they “don’t like chocolate” doesn’t end up with this gift. Or maybe it could be good for them to rethink their life choices because if someone doesn’t like chocolate, obviously they’ve never tried Ghirardelli.
Sometimes practical gifts are the best gifts, and a calendar is a college student’s best friend. It would also be funny to watch someone carefully study the wrapped present and expect a record. Surprise, it’s a calendar.
7. Two movie tickets
It’s difficult to set aside time and money to venture off campus and go see a movie—especially when Netflix lures us into its trap so often. Plus, giving someone two movie tickets is basically presenting them with a clear opportunity to take you. Make sure the tickets are to a movie everyone knows you want to see.
8. Tervis Tumbler
You can never have too many tervis tumblers…
9. Bumper stickers
Bumper stickers are a great conversation starter for a White Elephant gift exchange. Because they are relatively cheap, you can buy a bunch of them; whoever ends up with this gift is bound to like at least one of the stickers. Plus, bumper stickers can make you the coolest cat in college if you use them to jazz up your laptop.
10. $10 bill
Everyone might assume that this gift was a mere act of procrastination. Little do they know, it was you, the sly economist, who concocted this scenario. Wouldn’t it be entertaining to see your friends wrestle with the concept of gains and losses during an innocent White Elephant exchange? Who would be willing to sabotage others by trading their gifts for the cash? It would be like watching your friends return each other’s gifts right in front of one another.
So sit back, relax and let the chaos unfold.
Looking for more white elephant gifts? We’ve got your back.
Written by Allison Ingrum.
Along with the 90s vintage fashion coming back into our lives, enamel pins are making a comeback. Cover your backpack or add style to your clothes with your own personal touch. With thousands of pins to choose from, picking the right one can make such a simple gift extremely meaningful. “I just bought a $10 enamel pin for a Secret Santa I am in,” said Syracuse University junior Bridget Slomian. “Lots of websites have really cute little pins you can get, and they are 10 or 11 dollars, so there’s pizza pins, feminist pins, cars, anything you can think of.”
Your best friend is going abroad next year and you know she has limited space in her suitcase. Being so far from home will be tough, so give her a constant reminder of you. You’ll find no better way to decorate your space, whether you are home or abroad, than with personal photos. Beyond that, think of the sentimental value of giving a friend a framed photo of you together. A normal 4×6 inch photo printed somewhere like CVS or Walgreens costs only a few cents and you can find cute frames for only a few dollars.
For many college students, this marks their first time away from home. AKA they never had to cook on their own. Even a simple little cookbook can help guide students in the right direction. Not to mention it may even help them to not completely burn down the kitchen. “The best gift that I have ever received was, my freshman year, my friend gave me Oreos and an Oreo cookbook because she knew how much I loved Oreos and it felt really special to me because she knew me that well,” said Syracuse junior Lyssa Thomas.
College students have little to no personal outdoor space, so why not bring it indoors? Surprise your friend with a Chia Pet for a major #tbt. These small, indoor plants will not only brighten their day but will also make them leave with a smile on their face each time they see it.
Nothing says staying warm and cuddling up by the fire more than a nice cup of hot chocolate. Treat your friends to a relaxing night by giving them a warm cup of love. “If I were to get a gift, I would want an assortment of hot chocolate because I love hot chocolate,” said Syracuse senior Brielle Minnefield.
“Last year I got my friend a Secret Santa gift and it was a onesie with smiley faces on it from Forever 21,” said Syracuse junior Zoe Stern. What sounds better than pajamas and a blanket in one? Get your friend a gift that will undoubtedly make them think of kindergarten. You know, the good old days when we worried about nothing more than crayons and naptime. Better yet, buy yourself a matching one and prepare for adorable Insta-worthy selfies.
17. Gas card
Have that one friend you keep forgetting to give gas money to? Is it someone driving you home for winter break? Here is your time to pay up. Really, no one will pass on this helpful gift card.
Most student living facilities place large restrictions on pets. Going from cuddling your pup every day at home to having practically no interaction with animals on campus comes as a shock for some students. You cannot bring their furry friend from home but you can give them a small, life-like pet that starts to fill the void. “One time I got a battery-operated hamster toy that came with its own ball and I always wanted a hamster growing up but this was as close as I was going to get so I hid it under my desk when we did our classroom Secret Santa,” said Syracuse junior Anna Bupp.
The weeks building up to winter break seem to always be the most stressful time of year. The overwhelming pile of work you have to do seems to never stop growing and you feel like you are ready to pull your hairs out one by one. The day simply does not have enough time in it. Give your friend a much-deserved spa day without having to break the bank. She will thank you later.
By the time you walk to class you literally feel like a human icicle. Your poorly windblown hair and now bright red cheeks just cannot warm up no matter what. During the winter, only scarves can help this situation. Even better, they never fail to be a true fashion statement and pull together any outfit. Give your friend a cute scarf and watch them receive compliment after compliment.
We all have that one friend that always uses their phone dying as an excuse to not hang out. Not only will giving them an extra-long phone charger be funny, but it will also be more than helpful. They will never stop thanking you, and they will need to find a new excuse.
*Updated on December 1, 2017 by Allison Ingrum to include white elephant gifts 11-21.