Grinch Moment: Does anyone else hate white elephant exchanges?

posted 9 months ago in Holidays
Post # 2
Member
1253 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2018 - The Venue, Barkisland, UK

I definitely wouldn’t take part in that. I’ve done Secret Santa at work a few times and always tried to get something the recipient would like (it’s tended be drawing a name out of a hat) or something edible that anybody should go for.

My sister and I have started a £10 thing where that’s our limit. Last year we spent it in the £1 shops so there was some gag stuff and some edible etc, this year we’re spending it in charity shops and I’ve focused on usable things such as books etc. We also have a rule that anything can be redonated and the other can’t take offence!

Post # 3
Member
2635 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I agree.  I hate them, and think they are just dumb.  My office does this every December, and I never take part.

Post # 4
Member
1564 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - City, State

I hate white elephant exchanges. There’s no point. I don’t want to receive or give a mindless gift. I’d rather put thought into a gift for all the specific people involved than just buy one random gift that most likely no one wants. 

Post # 7
Member
566 posts
Busy bee

I hate these things too, I avoid them as much as possible. I do usually get something useful even if it’s just a £10 voucher for Amazon. Can you make some excuse like this year you’re donating to charities instead of buying gifts this year so unfortunately you can’t join in?

Post # 8
Member
856 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

This is a regular part of my DH’s extended family holiday gatherings. We refuse to participate anymore. It’s just a waste of money.

Post # 9
Member
7462 posts
Busy Beekeeper

whitecollarbee :  I only participate with my oldest girlfriends – I skip the rest. It cuts down on the number of gifts to buy and we all give pretty awesome stuff since we’re such good friends. In high school we made the rule that it couldn’t be generic soap/lotion/candle kind of crap. Some gifts are still better than others, but even if I’ve ended up with someone I don’t love it’s always nice enough that I could regift it. 

Post # 10
Member
362 posts
Helper bee

I find them to be awkward. Sure there’ll be a few gag gifts, but then sometimes there will be a really cool gift that someone is going to be salty about not getting. It also feels like it’s less about giving and more about getting. 

Post # 11
Member
98 posts
Worker bee

Can’t you suggest doing Secret Santa instead? So everybody will give a practical or meaningful present to a specific person. That’s what we do in the family and it never feels like a waste. 

Post # 12
Member
201 posts
Helper bee

kittykax :  Agreed. Stealing gifts. Someone possibly ending up feeling bad because no one’s excited about the gift they brought. Ugh. I happily didn’t participate at work last year. But I had to watch & it seemed to bring out the worst in some people. 

Post # 13
Member
47175 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I dislike them too. It’s such a waste of money, and most people participating don’t need or want for anything.

Years ago,  convinced my co-workers to adopt a family instead at Christmas. For the same amount of money, we can bring joy to someone truly in need.

Post # 14
Member
3093 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

whitecollarbee :  I think it’s worse when they are low-budget.

Having a $10 limit is a guarantee that it’s gonna just be a bunch of junk that ends up in the garbage two days later. If friends want to do a gift exchange, it should be set at $25-50, which is enough to buy something decent that the recipient will keep.

I generally despise white elephant exchanges because they’re a waste of money and the gifts are impersonal (I have always opted out of work ones), but we have done it at our “Friends Christmas” a couple of times and that was actually fun because we set it at $30ish and it is a group of friends that are all close and know each other well enough to be able to buy items that at least a handful of the group would want, so pretty much everyone left with a decent gift. There was a pretty decent variety as well. I recall there being several board games in the mix as well as Christmas ornaments, kitchen gadgets, a few bottles of liquor, etc.

Post # 15
Member
7462 posts
Busy Beekeeper

sboom :  I actually went to a $5 limit one once that had a pack of bacon as the hot gift. It was pretty hilarious. However I ended up with a drinking card game that was clearly used (it was sticky and stunk like beer) and that’s when I stopped doing yankee swaps with passing acquaintences. 

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