Gift Guide 2023: White Elephant Gifts

Dec 4, 2023

Santa Swap.  White Elephant.  Secret Santa.  Whatever you call it, trading gifts with coworkers and acquaintances who you may not know very well can be a little stressful.  

At a gift exchange, it’s important to play to your strengths.  Some people are great at a funny gift.  Others can pick something so cool that it becomes the talk of the party.  That’s not my skill set.  My gifts tilt toward utility.  Here are a list of gifts under $25.

This Slice utility knife is the ultimate box cutter.  The ceramic blade lasts longer than a metal blade.  The design is safer and easier to use than a standard knife, and because the blade only protrudes a short distance, you’re unlikely to damage anything in the box.

Gift swaps come in both boozy and dry varieties.  These cocktail mixers from Thoughtfully Cocktails are good for both.  The brand makes several different versions, but these tropical sips are a crowd pleaser.  These mule mixers are also nice option.

This small vacuum is a great gift.  We use ours to vacuum up coffee grounds, but it’s a great option for cleaning crumbs of your desk at work.  

This cookbook is a fun option for a gift swap.  From easy weeknight dinners to baked goods, it has a little bit of everything.  Other cookbook options include Snoop Dogg’s cookbook and the recipes of Disney parks.

Arc Lighters, rechargeable, smokeless lighters, are a nice stocking stuffer or gift swap item.  I have several and they’re extremely useful.

Great kitchen basics are always well received.  They also never go to waste.  Graza Sizzle single origin Spanish Olive Oil is a nice option.  Other choices include Maldon salt, any Spiceology product, or the good balsamic vinegar.

These rechargeable hand warmers are a nice gift.  I use them on walks with my daughter.  Several friends keep them for outdoor sporting events.  If you commute, they’d be great on a walk to the Metro.

My go to gift for a Secret Santa is a nice notebook and pens.  It’s useful and something you can give to anyone.  These Paperage notebooks are nice and affordable.  I prefer this spiral notebook because it lays flat when I’m writing.

Kyle’s go to gift for a swap is always lottery tickets.  This year, he’s also providing a scratching tool from Amazon.

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  1. Laura says:

    Ah yes, Abra’s well-documented love of vacuums on full display! <3

  2. Rachel says:

    Great list, Abra! I LOVE those arc lighters, so much handier than stubby little matches or lighters that burn you when you light a well-burned jar candle.

    Another idea: my favorite secret santa/white elephant gift is a squishy/packable camping blanket. Even if you have a non-outdoorsy crowd, many people spend time sitting around an outdoor fire pit, and this kind of item is perfect for that kind of activity. Also great to stow in the trunk of your car. https://a.co/d/0uIWrFM

  3. K says:

    Sweater shaver or other tool? This is a little bit of a stretch, but does anyone have a recommendation for a sweater shaver thing? The sweater I need it for is from Loft and mostly cotton. Lovely color, nice style, but the pils are insane. Thanks!

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