• Gift Ideas
  • Sep 27, 2022
  • 6 min read

Secret Santa, Yankee Swap, and White Elephant Gift Ideas

  • Did you know that Americans spend, on average, just under $1,000 each holiday season on gifts for friends and family? With the costs of gifts and other holiday items increasing, it pays to plan ahead. This includes finding the right White Elephant gift ideas for every price range.

    Whether you're looking for a funny White Elephant gift that will make everyone laugh, or something a little more stylish, we've got you covered. Prices range from under $10 and up to $50, so there's something for everyone! 

    Keep reading for our top picks that are sure to be a hit at your next gift exchange or Yankee Swap.

    The Rules of Gift Exchanges

    Whether you grew up calling it Yankee Swap, White Elephant, or Secret Santa, gift exchanges all work in pretty much the same way.

    The Secret Santa rules are simple: everyone draws a name out of a hat (or online generator), and that person becomes their Secret Santa. The catch is that you can't pick your name, so you have to be creative with your gift. 

    Yankee Swap is similar to Secret Santa, but with a twist. The gift you bring must be wrapped. Then, at the party, everyone puts their gift in the middle of the room and takes turns choosing gifts. Once you've chosen a gift, you can either open it or "swap" it with someone else's gift. 

    White Elephant is another gift exchange game that is similar to Yankee Swap. The only difference is that the gifts don't have to be wrapped. However, you typically choose a number out of a hat and then select gifts from the pile in that order.

    However you and your loved ones decide to play the game, one thing's for sure; you'll need a great gift!

    White Elephant Gift Ideas Under $10

    Trying to find Secret Santa gift ideas or White Elephant gift ideas on a budget? Honestly, some of the best gift ideas are under $10. Here are just a few of our favorites from this year's long list of top gifts.

    Mini Microphone



    If you've been on TikTok or Instagram in the past few months then you've likely noticed the emergence of a fad where people speak into mini microphones. Better yet, you've (hopefully) seen videos of pet owners asking their dogs and cats to "speak" into these little microphones.

    Regardless of how you or the gift receiver decide to use a little microphone, they're a great gift idea if you're on a budget. And honestly, they work pretty well if you're trying to record audio for a social media video or even for a small podcast.

    This top-rated mini microphone comes in at just $9.99 and is available in a variety of colors!

    UNO Dare


    Card games make for great gift ideas for any type of holiday gift exchange simply because they're budget-friendly yet packed with fun. They're also often versatile in that regardless of who ends up with the gift, they're sure to be able to get some use out of the card game.

    This year, everybody is raving about UNO Dare. It's similar to the classic UNO game you know and love but features a bit of a twist. On wild cards and +2 cards, you have the option of being dared to do something instead of drawing cards.

    This adds an element of insanity to an already intense card game. Plus, UNO Dare is currently under $7 over at Amazon.

    Adult Coloring Books

    If you're playing Secret Santa and know who your gift is for then we suggest looking for an adult coloring book with a theme that you know that person will love. These days, there are coloring books for just about everything.

    Whether the receiver is interested in kittens, space, vintage tattoos, or tarot, there's a coloring book out there for them! 

    Our favorite? This mandala coloring book is a great option as a generic choice and comes in at just $5.99.

    White Elephant Gift Ideas Under $25

    Have a little more cash to spend on the gift exchange? You can find amazing gifts for well under $25 (although, if you're allowed to, you might even find that you have enough money leftover to purchase two!).

    Here are some of our top picks for the best White Elephant gift exchange ideas between $10 and $25.

    Desktop Vacuum Cleaner

    With a lot of people still working from home these days, a mini desktop vacuum cleaner is a great option for a good yet practical gift. They make for an especially great gift idea for those participating in White Elephant gift exchanges at the office.

    These high-powered mini vacuum cleaners come with a variety of interchangeable parts that allow you to clean out the nooks and crannies on your desk. Plus, they're cute and novel which is often the idea when looking for a great gift swap idea.

    These top-rated mini vacuum cleaners are currently just $14.99 on Amazon and come in at least three colors to choose from.

    Film Camera

    Seeing as everybody takes a lot more photos around the holidays, a film camera is a great gift that anybody is sure to get good use of. Not only that, but these types of cameras are totally in right now as the film aesthetic takes over social media.

    While you can find a variety of these different types of cameras, we suggest getting a reusable one that will allow the receiver to continue to get some use out of it after their first roll is all out. Purchase the camera and a roll of film and gift them together.

    Or, if you need to stay under $25, simply purchase this Kodak M35 reusable camera for under $23 and let them get the film on their own so they can choose the style.

    Misfortune Cookies

    Gag gifts often make the best holiday gift exchange items simply because they're great regardless of who receives them. If you know that your group has a bit of humor and will enjoy funny gifts, think about getting some misfortune cookies. 

    These darkly humorous fortune cookies are similar to the positive, uplifting ones you get at a Chinese restaurant. However, the main difference is that they're not uplifting at all. Instead, they're dark, negative, and often downright funny. For example, one cookie reads, "Happy? It won't last long!"

    Put a smile on everyone's faces with these misfortune cookies from Pechkeks for just under $19.

    White Elephant Gift Ideas Under $50

    If you're able to increase the budget a bit, you can find a variety of amazing White Elephant gift exchange ideas for $50 or less. This is the budget range that allows you to find the best gifts. Feel free to splurge on any one of these great gift ideas.

    Cocktail Kit


    Nothing says "happy holidays" like a complete cocktail kit, right? After all, it's a gift that will keep on giving! 

    The best cocktail kits for gift exchanges are ones that are elegant yet generic enough to ensure that any person will enjoy using and displaying them. 

    This 10-piece cocktail kit, for example, comes with a stunning bamboo display along with a shaker, strainer, jigger, tongs, and more. You can choose from different colors, too, including black, copper, silver, or gold. The price tag? Under $43!

    Hazel & Creme Chocolate Gift Basket

    Not sure what to get someone for your upcoming holiday gift exchange? Worried about trying to find the perfect gift idea for a group of very mixed individuals? Chocolate is always a great idea!

    A chocolate-covered graham cracker and assorted chocolate mix is great for anybody at your gift exchange. Not only will they hopefully enjoy the sweets, but it's a gift they can take back home to enjoy with their loved ones.

    Hazel & Creme sells a high-rated assorted chocolate box for just $42.99, but if you browse on Amazon for chocolate gift boxes and gift sets then you'll find plenty of options depending on what kind of chocolate gift basket you're looking for.

    Fleece Blanket

    Again, this is one of those gift ideas that can work for anybody whether you're participating in Secret Santa at the office or are playing Yankee Swap with a group of friends from college.

    During the colder winter months, anybody is sure to get good use out of a cozy fleece blanket. The key to this gift lies in choosing a high-quality blanket, however, as you want to ensure the receiver will be able to get good use out of it long after just this holiday season.

    If you're looking for the best blanket, this fleece blanket comes in over 20 colors and two sizes. Plus, it has great reviews and comes with a price tag of just under $33.

    Organize a Virtual Secret Santa with GiftList

    Now that you have a good list of the best Secret Santa, Yankee Swap, and White Elephant gift ideas, are you ready to organize your virtual gift exchange? At GiftList, we've made that easy for you.

    You can organize a virtual gift exchange from our easy-to-use platform at giftlist.com. GiftList gift exchanges are most similar to a Secret Santa. We allow you propose recommended gift budgets, invite friends and family, set RSVP and gift exchange dates, and add items to your wish list. We handle all of the logistics for you including matching each participant with a Secret Santa and revealing gift givers on the gift exchange date. You can even send a thank you note to your Secret Santa with our free, custom eCards -- just remember to attach a picture of you and your gift.

    Ready to give it a try? Click here to create your free GiftList account today.