Legend has it the rare albino elephant was sacred in Thailand and each new white elephant became the property of the king. It was forbidden to kill such an elephant or to use it for work, so whenever the king wished to punish an obnoxious underling, he'd present him with one of these useless pale pachyderms.
Even if the story isn't true, it certainly encompasses the spirit of modern White Elephant Gift Exchanges. More like a swap meet for unwanted, weird andregifted atrocities, a White Elephant is tons of fun and makes a great party ice-breaker.
If you're stuck without a present, Coupon Sherpa has compiled 14 gift ideas that will be stolen and re-stolen and re-stolen at your next party.
1. Set of batteries with a tag reading "toy not included." - Find discount batteries at, logically enough, Batteries.com.
2. Swingline Red Stapler: A perfect gift for an office White Elephant. Fans of "Office Space" will proudly display this red beauty on their desks.
3. Hillbilly Briefcase: Sew the legs closed on a large pair of men’s underwear. Cut two "handles" out of cardboard and glue them inside the band of the underwear.
4. Bottle of Wine Glass: Worried about having a few too many at the Christmas party? This oversized glass will make sure you're one and done.
5. Home-Made Electric Dishwasher and Dryer: Duct tape an extension cord to a dish cloth and hand towel.
6. An 8 x 10 framed and autographed photo of yourself: Alternately, have the same photo silk-screened onto a T-shirt. For ideas, check out BustedTees.com.
7. Ceramic White Elephant: It's just too cliché, but you know this gift will pop up at future White Elephant exchanges.
8. Bridesmaid's Dress: The formal-wear section of thrift stores abound with these pastel monstrosities.
9. Expendable Piggy Bank: Fill with pennies and add a cheap hammer.
10. Snowman Poop: Put some mini marshmallows in a zip-lock baggy with the following note, "This party is fun, but here's the scoop. I was a cheap gift giver so all you get is snowman's poop!"
11. Red-Neck Travel Pack: Fill a brown paper bag with a pint of cheap booze, a pack of smokes and a lottery ticket.
12. Chia Obama: The Chia people will turn anything into a Chia Pet.
13. Survival Kit: A gas mask, duct tape and a bottle of water.
14. City Dweller's S'mores Kit - Box up some candles or tea lights, an old pronged fork, marshmallows and chocolate graham crackers.
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