White Elephant Exchange

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Written by:  shibleysmiles
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When I was younger we had family reunions at a park every summer. Though it was great seeing extended family and eating delicious, potluck style foods from  slow cookers, my favourite part was when we played Bingo. Each person that wanted to play brought a wrapped gift and set it on the table. 

We handed out bingo cards and used kernels of corn to keep track of which numbers were called. The first person to yell "Bingo!" chose a gift from the pile. The next person to win was able to choose from the pile or steal the gift the other person picked. The game continued with each winner taking from the pile or stealing from somebody else. 

We generally kept up until all the gifts were gone or we were tired of playing. The best part was fighting over a gift that turned out to be Jello boxes or a  paper towel holder.  It took me many years to realise is that this is a White Elephant exchange and it's very popular during the holidays. It's perfect for exchanges at work, between friends, and even family members. 

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White Elephant Exchange Rules

Each participant should bring one wrapped gift to be added to the community pile. There's a great debate on what items should be included. Some exchanges prefer to do actual gifts with themes such as a gift certificate to a movie rental store, popcorn, and candy in a  gift basket or coffee grinder with mugs and biscotti. While others say it's tradition to use this opportunity to re-gift items such as the tacky sweater you got last year. Others still gift  gag gifts or items that are completely useless. Whoever is organising the exchange can choose a theme. 

Pile the gifts in the centre of the room and have guests sit around them. Number slips of paper and place into a hat, with each guest drawing from it. The number on the paper determines the order gifts are chosen in. The first person then chooses from the pile, with the next either stealing the gift they chose or picking from the remaining presents. Alternatively, guests can read a story or sing a Christmas song and each time a specific word or phrase is said, the gifts are handed to the left or right.
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The rest of the game rules are decided by the organiser. You can limit the amount of times a person or gift can be stolen or add extra swapping at the end. Decide a price range and a theme for the gifts and the rest is sure to be a blast!  These days I think it would be hilarious to wrap a funny gift in a  iPad box.  

What gift would you bring to a White Elephant exchange?
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Written by:  shibleysmiles
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