As usual, I had to look up some information on this. The white elephant gift exchange is defined on Wikipedia like this:
A white elephant gift exchange is a popular holiday party game found primarily in North America. It has many variations in both the name and the game play. Generally, white elephant parties need a minimum of six participants. With a larger group, game play may be more protracted. White elephant parties have been known to result in intensely vicious and/or playful rivalries between players trying to get sought after gifts. The goal of a white elephant party is usually to entertain rather than to gain. This game is sometimes called a Yankee Swap, Chinese Gift Exchange, Dirty Santa, Thieving Secret Santa, or Parcel Pass.
I think the key phrase here is the goal, it’s to entertain rather than gain. The term white elephant is defined as:
A white elephant is an idiom for a valuable possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth.
Most white elephant gifts I’ve seen don’t completely fit that description, but most are useless or outdated. Here’s a few gifts from a white elephant gift exchange I participated in about a week ago. Continue reading