The Best White Elephant Gifts, So You Can Absolutely Win the Holiday Party

The holiday season may be full of Nativity scenes, twinkle lights, menorahs, reflections on the good (or bad) behavior of ourselves and others, and general angelic brouhaha—but White Elephant is for the rest of us hellish little biatches. White Elephant is Satan’s time to shine, because it’s your chance to pluck presents that fly deliciously close to the gates of hell, making everyone at the holiday party wonder what you ever, ever did to deserve a wonky Garfield toy. We have never felt so seen; we have never felt so cursed. 

The best white elephant gifts should feel joyful, irreverent, and hand-crafted from the dankest corner of your intrusive Freudian thoughts. They should whisper, “You do need a butt plug shaped like London’s Gherkin skyscraper,” and give you permission to lean into the comfort of a blanket that looks like a burrito, a mask that looks like a Furby, or a coffee mug in the shape of a recycling bin. These are not presents for the idle, the boring, or the weak. They are the presents for hot, lazy, selective people. They are white elephant gift ideas that will make you seem worldly, yet mysterious—and you won’t have to break the bank… well, depending on how insistent you are on dominating the energy of the exchange.

We’ve found presents for every budget, and a lot of the best white elephant gifts under $30 are, shall we say, “interesting” enough to cause physical altercations at the actual event, so prepare to watch the world burn and the attempts to swap to escalate to unforeseen, gladiatorial levels. 

Welcome to the metaverse

What, you thought we still bothered with shoes? C’mon now. Free yourself from your feet prisons and rock these socks-with-sandals socks to your next formal event. Or, go full sock-ception and wear socks-with-sandals socks, with sandals. [Scratches head.] 

Where’s the butter sauce?

The catch of the season. Please present these lobster slides to your giftee on a tray of fries, drizzled in a lemon garlic butter sauce when the tide is high and sea creatures sing.

For the person obsessed with viral pimple popping videos

Every friend group has one: The hot, psycho person who stays up way too late watching pimple popping videos on TikTok. This Spot Popper toy is super popular on Amazon, and will futher induldge their urge to squeeze until midnight. Plus, as one reviewer writes, “the refill paste is just off-white Vaseline, which makes for cheap and easy replacement.”

A whole new meaning to “swamp ass”

Yes, Ma, there’s a whole cyberverse of Shrek-inspired sex toys, from penis strokers in the shape of the iconic ogre’s ear, to anal plugs (which really takes more of a Classical/Greek inspiration) for your swamp. We asked the originator of the trend, “Why?” and he told us, in not as many words (he didn’t), “Because you know you want it.”  There is many a Shrek-inspired plug in the Etsy swamp:

Choo choo, eh?

Just look into those big, cold, dead eyes and tell us that you don’t want some alone time with Thomas the Leg Engine. We know—you can’t. 

The gayest rom-com hat ever

Under the Tuscan Sun is pure, undiluted 2003 serotonin. What’s not to love about 113 minutes of Diane Lane renovating an Italian villa, Polish people throwing flags, and Sandra O and Kate Walsh being gay for each other?? Cop this hat from the film, and hope that your bi-wife crush picks it.

Meesa swole

We believe in Jar Jar supremacy in this house. Put some respect on our bro’s name with this iPhone case of a ripped Mr. Binks, and let the world know it. That’s what Vin Diesel meant when he said “family.”

So realistic it should smell like mustard

Enough is enough, people—we’re putting Christ hot dogs back into Christmas, along with tinned fish (so hot RN), a steamer full of dumplings, a worryingly realistic stick of butter, and other delicious-looking Cody Foster vintage-inspired food ornaments.

Real Gs move in silence like… 

… Cursed Garfield. This uncanny valley stuffed animal of dubious origin is just freaky enough to earn a spot on our white elephant smackdown showdown. If we can’t convince you, hop on down to the product description, which reads, “The fat orange cat dumb but cute.” We (respectfully) concur. 

There’s a cult forming around this chicken bag 

Oh, you haven’t heard of the chicken bag? You should leave the coop more, Brad. Anyone would be clucky (sorry) to tote this eggcellent (not sorry) bag around town. Just live your truth—even if your truth is the chicken bag. 

This one’s a gag

The CDC loves this gag ball face mask. (Well, it should.)

Just add nut milk

There's something appealing and yet troubling about these candles that look just like a bowl of cereal—kind of like a parallel-universe version of the meticulously detailed Japanese fake food that's a true art form. 

Reduce, reuse… 

Mmmmm. There’s no better way to start your day than downing a bright blue can of hot recycling sludge, thanks to this very interesting mug. Your white elephant counterparts will agree. 

The time for IBS pride is here 

This is a great shirt to wear to literally any gathering where you want people to know that you refuse to be ashamed of your irritable bowel syndrome, from funerals and christenings to divorce proceedings and arraignments. (Judges love it!) 

A pillow that knows all your neuroses 

“Cushion Your Dreams” with this plush pillow shaped like the oft-referenced psychoanalyst who made us all feel weird about our parents, Sigmund Freud. 

An ambient potato light

Nothing but love and respect for my president, the Smoko potato lamp. If you stare into its suds eyes for 45 minutes straight, you’ll see The Creator (spoiler: god’s just another potato).

Grateful Dead lights (to leave up year-round)

Going down the road feeling festive? You bet they are. These Grateful Dead string lights will bring them that Jerry Joy throughout the darker months of winter.

For your Ask Jeeves roleplay

Did you find what you were looking for? Did you enter the right [redacted] into the tool bar? Try again, champ. This time, with more lube.

Alright, let’s wrap it up, folks

Now is the time of year where becoming a blanket burrito is 100% acceptable—and honestly, encouraged.  

Honorable mention, if you're ready to commit: a hairless Furby

Yes, it's $75—which is more than is typically spent on what is essentially a joke gift. But are you here to rock this white elephant gift party, or not? And if the answer is an emphatic "yes," how else can you really up the cursedness quotient than by introducing a viscerally naked Furby into the mix?

However, if you must keep your purse strings tight, this affordable Furby mask is also an option:

Now get on outta here—you’ve got some stampeding to do.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.


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