What is white elephant gift exchange? Simply put, it's a Christmas party where each guest brings a funny, unwanted, GAG or cute gift. The idea is for everyone to walk away with a random gift, but first, they will have to fight for them. Not literrally of course. The process of swapping gifts is fun, energetic and full of excitement. Gift exchange adds much needed laughter and fun to the Christmas party.
You might be wondering why they call it the "white elephant" exchange. How did this name even came to be? Without going too deep into history, the basic consensus is that it all relates to an old tradition of kings to gift each other and sometimes their subordinates gifts of burden. A white elephant was rare, expensive to care for and of not much use other than being a financial drain on the person who received it as a gift.
In the beginning of the twentieth century when groups of people started exchanging Christmas gifts, a name was coined for this event and it stuck. Today, white elephant gift exchange represents of the most anticipated, fun and exciting days of the year!
The main point behind the white elephant gift exchange apart from the obvious entertainment value, is that buying gifts to large number of people is not practical. We already have family to take care of and Christmas shopping can get very busy. If everyone at the office, a large family or friend group bought each other gifts, each person would have to get every single person a gift. It's just not feasible. White elephant fixes the problem by having each person bring only one gift and walk away with only one while at the same time introducing a fun game to play and enjoy the evening.