White Elephant Gift Ideas

Americans in Toulouse (AIT) invites you to participate in our White Elephant Gift Exchange at the December Happy Hour event on the 18th at 7 pm upstairs at Carno Caffé.

What is White Elephant? 

The term actually means “a possession that is useless or troublesome, especially one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of.” Traditionally, a White Elephant Gift Exchange is to be just that, a fun exchange of silly and often useless gifts with a set of rules for the game that can be troubling to some. This gift exchange game has become especially popular at holiday work parties. Everyone who wants to participate in the gift exchange brings a wrapped gift within a given budget with no name tags on it. For our event, we suggest keeping gifts around 5 Euros each.

The object of the game is to walk away with the best gift of the bunch. Players draw numbers that assign them their order of choosing a gift. For example, No. 1 has first dibs of grabbing a gift from the pile. Once a player has chosen a gift, they must immediately unwrap it for everyone to see. Gifts can be stolen by the following players, so don’t get too attached to your newly unwrapped gift. There are various sets of the rules, but usually a gift can only be stolen three times and a player can only swap gifts three times. If your gift was stolen, then you get to choose another gift or steal from someone else. For more explanation, check out the Official White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules.

AIT’s White Elephant Gift Exchange

Despite the meaning behind the game, AIT wants to encourage everyone to bring a useful and cheap gift. Useful and cheap, is that possible? Mais oui! White Elephant gifts tend to fall under three categories: funny, weird, and nice. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Spencer’s Gifts or As Seen on TV type shops in Toulouse, which are often the Go To places to purchase gag gifts. However, AIT has some other suggestions for you on what and where to purchase your White Elephant gifts.

  1. Winter Gloves : Handy and everyone is always losing them, so good to have some spare cheap pairs around. You can find them at TATI in Balma or perhaps HEMA in Labége or Esquirol, which are both great shops for cheap trinkets.
  1. Gift Certificates : 5 Euros to your favorite cafe is like two gifts in one. A drink and an experience at a new place.
  2. Cooking Spices : Check the food section on the main floor of Midica at Esquirol.
  3. Wine : You can pretty much find a decent bottle from 5 Euro just about anywhere in France.
  4. Chocolate : Being December, many shops are stocked full of delicious chocolate boxes.
  5. American Goodies : Surprise someone with an American candy or treat that is difficult to find in France. Maybe you even have an unopened bottle of Ranch dressing of bag of Reese’s lying around your home.
  6. Candles : A nice or obnoxious scent for the holiday season would make anyone happy.
  7. Picture Frames: What makes this gift even better is putting a silly photo of yourself in it or a fun quote. Check out some 2 Euro Shops for frames or other cheap gift ideas. There’s one at Saint Cyprien.
  8. Mugs : Who wouldn’t use a mug? You might be able to find a Toulouse mug at shops like Midica or large grocery stores.
  9. Coffee/ Teas / Hot Chocolate  : Again, HEMA has some neat flavors at affordable prices.
  10. Samples of Regional Products : Many large grocery stores like Carrefour and E-Leclerc have a regional section with small jars of mustards and  Violette syrups, sugar, and oil.
  11. Lip Balm/ Hand Lotion : It’s cold now. Everyone’s dry skin could benefit some moisturizer.
  12. Crossword puzzles/Sudoko books : Look in the TABAC shops for these and other fun puzzle magazines.
  13. Socks : Practical and if you can find a really colorful or ugly pair, it makes the gift more fun.
  14. Christmas ornaments : Here’s an idea, buy a simple one and add your own design to it with paints, markers, or glitter.