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How to Play

White Elephant

1. Each agent brings one wrapped gift to the holiday party


1.A. Try to find a gift $20 or less. If you have something that someone gave you that you don't want and it's worth more than $20, you can still use that gift.

1.B. Wrap the Gift so no one can see what it is.


2. Players draw numbers to determine what order they will go in

Alternatively, someone can draw names from a hat, or the order can be set by the organizer prior to the event.

3. Players sit in a circle or line where they can see the gift pile

4. The first player selects a gift from the pool and opens it and shows everyone what it is 

5. The following players can choose to either pick an unwrapped gift from the pool or steal a previous player’s gift. Anyone who gets their gift stolen in this way can do the same – choose a new gift or steal from someone else.

To keep things moving along, there are a couple of limits on gift swapping:

  • A present can only be stolen once per turn, which means players who have a gift stolen from them have to wait to get it back.


6. After all players have had a turn, the first player gets a chance to swap the gift he or she is holding for any other opened gift. Anyone whose gift is stolen may steal from someone else (as long as that person hasn’t been stolen from yet). When someone declines to steal a gift, the game comes to an end.

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