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The One True White Elephant Gift Exchange Ruleset

The One True White Elephant Gift Exchange Ruleset

Gifts must:

  • Number the exact number of players.
  • Be wrapped so their contents cannot be visually discerned.


  • All gifts must be placed in a location where players can see all of them.
  • Gifts may not be touched unless they are being unwrapped.
  • Players should choose a number at the start to determine the order of play.
  • Players need not reveal this number until their turn.

In turn, each player must:

  • Reveal their number.
  • Steal or unwrap a gift.
  • Never be without a gift after their turn is over.
  • Display their gift in plain view until the end of the game.

When a gift is stolen:

  • The victim must unwrap a new gift or steal a different gift in play.

When a gift has been stolen three times:

  • It is out of play, safe from theft for the remainder of the game.

When a gift is unwrapped:

  • It remains in play until it has been stolen three times or the game has ended.

When all players have taken their turns:

  • The player who went first may keep the gift they currently hold or steal a gift in play, triggering a final orgy of good fun and bad feelings.

White Elephant is over when:

  • All players have a gift.
  • The player who holds the final gift in play decides to either keep it or cannot steal another because no gifts remain in play.
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