12/16/2014 01:45 pm ET Updated Feb 15, 2015

9 Holiday White Elephant Gift Ideas

Hunting around for the best holiday white elephant gift may be one of the most stressful times of the holidays; it's hard to be unique and original on a limited budget. Whether you are the clown at work and want to give a funny gift or you totally forgot about your family exchange - you can find a white elephant gift anywhere.

The Jokester

Lottery Tickets

While it can be a fun gift if left just as real lottery tickets, you can up the ante by throwing in a fake lottery ticket. You can usually find these at stores like Spencer's. While some people are quick to spot a fake, hope that your gift lands in the hands of a gullible person. Just be ready to break the news that it's a fake if they end up crying tears of joy at winning $10,000.

Ugly Sweater

You may not score high on originality points, but if you find a really cool ugly sweater, it could make for a great time. Thrift stores would be a great place to start, but if you're still stuck you can search the web on eBay, Amazon and specialty stores like

Head Massager

So it seems like a wacky gift and people will probably give you that dumbfounded look when they read what it is, but it turns out these things feel really good. Silly, but fun and useful for those that crave the scalp massages they get from the hair salon.

The Gadget Giver

Tile App

Anyone who receives this gift will instantly thank you because who doesn't lose stuff? Whether it's your keys, wallet or purse, something always tends to get lost in the shuffle when headed to work or school ... or after a beer filled night.

Having an app handy with a GPS locator will make life seem that much easier. I'd just feel bad for the first person to open it because it will be almost guaranteed that people will be fighting over this cool new app.


By this point, everyone has a set of speakers that they can hook their phone up to, so you'll have to search a little harder for some cool, inexpensive speakers. These Jumbo PopRock Wireless Bluetooth Speakers are one creative example.

They're waterproof and can stick to almost any surface, so singing in the shower just got that much more fun. Surprisingly, the clarity of the speakers is really great for the price so it will be a gift everyone would love.

The Last Minute Go-To

Your white elephant gift may be on the bottom of your list compared to all the other gifts you search for. So what can you get if your party is tomorrow or in one hour? Here are a few of the basics:

Gift Cards

You score a zero in originality, but everyone could get some good use out of a gift card. It's best to go with a general gift card that people can use anywhere, but that's boring. Pick some fan favorites like gas, Target or Starbucks cards. Up the creativity by giving a note with the gift card with a funny saying or quote that relates.

Sports Memorabilia

This can be a great gift or a great revenge gift. Buy a t-shirt, bobble head, hat, etc. of your favorite sports team and see what happens. Either someone will love it because it's their favorite team, too, or a rival will get stuck with it, which is even better.

There's nothing better than snapping a picture of a Gator fan wearing a Seminole hat--that face is priceless. Want to make it a quirky gift? Look for some unusual sports gear - like shorts with logos all over it or some fuzzy socks.


Who doesn't want free food, especially as a college kid? Whether you decide to go the sweet route with some delicious chocolates or find a cute vintage popcorn basket, someone will be destined to want your gift. You can buy it prepackaged and pre-made or use it as an opportunity to show off your kitchen skills.


The easiest, yet most loved gift exchange idea. Nothing is better than a bottle of booze that will warm up their soul from the harsh winter. You can add a little to the gift by providing some holiday drink recipes that they can try out.

No matter what you decide to take, put your own spin on it. If it's something small, package it in a huge box with something that weighs it down. If it's something nice that you think everyone will love, wrap it a little messy and see what happens. If you can, find something creative and original, but always remember to have fun with it.

By: Kate Mueller, Florida State University