Why Weve is the Best Option for your Virtual White Elephant Gift Exchange

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The holidays are quickly approaching and even if you can’t gather in person this year, there are many ways to make a virtual holiday gathering an engaging and special experience. Gather today for a holiday happy hour and spice it up with some festive experiences like holiday games and gift exchanges. One of the most fun classic holiday party games is known as White Elephant, also known as Yankee Swap or Dirty Santa. With a little bit of prep, you can play this game virtually and have a great experience.

We’ve got all the information you need to plan your best ever virtual gift exchange. This article answers the questions:


What is a White Elephant Christmas party?

The biggest goal of any gift exchange is that everyone has fun and leaves with a gift. A White Elephant gift exchange is a bit different. It is all about stealing others' gifts and ending up with your favorite! Of course, you can always do a regular gift exchange with no-steals, but we think the stealing adds a fun dimension to your celebration.

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What are White Elephant gifts?

While everyone appreciates a thoughtful gift picked out just for them, that is not the point of a White Elephant gift exchange. The term White Elephant refers to something that is useless or troublesome and may even be expensive to maintain or difficult to get rid of.  So, a White Elephant gift is more of a funny gag gift than something useful. Think things like a Bob Ross Chia Pet or a coat for your beer can.

 

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HOW DOES AN IN-PERSON WHITE ELEPHANT EXCHANGE WORK?

Before trying to plan a virtual version of a White Elephant exchange, it is important to make sure you understand the basic rules. Here are the important steps:

  1. Choose a date for your event.
  2. Before the event, choose a gift budget. Between $10-25 is usually enough for a fun gag gift.
  3. Everyone arrives with a wrapped gift and places it on a table.
  4. Put as many numbers in a hat or basket as there are people. For instance if 10 people bring gifts, put the numbers 1 through 10 on individual pieces of paper.
  5. When you are ready to start the game, everyone who brought a gift draws a number.
  6.  The person who drew #1 is the first to choose a gift. They can choose anything on the table to unwrap. Everyone is able to see what their gift is.
  7. The next person (#2) can choose to open a new wrapped gift or they can steal the unwrapped gift. If gift #1 is stolen, that person gets to choose a new wrapped gift.
  8. No one can decline a trade or hold onto their gift until a gift is locked in (no matter how much you love the pair of Beatles socks).
  9. This pattern continues until everyone has gotten to choose or steal a gift. As you have probably figured out by now, the highest number is the best position to be in. However, you can place a limit on gift stealing. For instance, once a gift is stolen two times, it may be taken out of the game and is safe for the person who now has it.
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How do you do a virtual White Elephant gift exchange?

There are a few complexities that come with doing a virtual White Elephant. First of all, you have to make sure that everyone is able to send and receive their gift. It can also be difficult to figure out the logistics of things like stealing gifts and the order of things.  You can do this manually through a platform like Zoom, but the easiest way to plan a virtual White Elephant gift exchange is to have Weve plan it.  If you choose to do a virtual gift exchange yourself, here are some things to keep in mind.


  1. Choose a date for your event.
  2. Before the event, choose a gift budget. Between $10-25 is usually enough for a fun gag gift.
  3. Make sure to gather the mailing addresses of all attendees before the exchange.
  4. Have everybody choose a gift and wrap it before party time. 
  5. Make sure everyone is present on a video platform with their camera on before you start.
  6. Determine the order using a virtual list randomizer,or simply have one person pull numbers or names out of a hat. (Put as many numbers in a hat or basket as there are people. For instance if 10 people bring gifts, put the numbers 1 through 10 on individual pieces of paper.)
  7. When it’s time, have everyone show their gifts on camera and keep them visible for the duration of the game. Another way to do this is to have everyone send a link to or image of their gift before then and show all the options in a PowerPoint presentation.
  8. Just like in an in-person event, the person who drew #1 is the first to choose a gift. They can choose anything they see and the person whose gift they chose can unwrap the present to reveal it. Everyone is able to see what the gift is and the gift should be kept in view. The host uses a spreadsheet to record the gift, the gifter’s name, and the recipient's name. 
  9. Just like an in-person event, everyone else will go in order and can choose to open a new wrapped gift or they can steal the unwrapped gift. If gift #1 is stolen, that person gets to choose a new wrapped gift.
  10. This pattern continues until everyone has gotten to choose or steal a gift. The host can track if certain gifts are no longer eligible for stealing. 
  11. The host will share the list of gifts and addresses so each gifter can mail their gift to the recipient after the party. (You can also reconvene when everyone has gotten their gift for a more official opening.)

How does Weve run virtual gift exchanges?

Want to save time and the stress of planning? “Weve” got you covered. This year, there is no need to call in Santa to make sure your team gets the gifts they want. We’ve built the tools for a gift exchange into our platform and we will take care of everything from providing lists of gift ideas for different budgets to automating the stealing and gifting process. Weve’s turn-based game works just like the real life versionwithout the piles of wrapping paper. 

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  • Before your event: choose between our two curated lists of $10 and $25 gifts that will be added to your game.
  • During the event: your team will be split into groups of 25 per room to play the game.
     
    • First, the order in which guests get to pick their gift is determined. 
    • After the first present is revealed, the next person in line can either select a new gift or steal any already opened gift. On our platform, a gift can only be stolen two times before it is considered locked. 
    • At the end of the game, every attendee has a present. (And they do not just get a screenshot; they actually receive those presents!)
  • *After the exchange: Weve will send you a list of assigned gifts for each guest and links so you can purchase and mail them.

What should you consider in the budget for a virtual White Elephant party?

  • If you plan a virtual gift exchange on your own, make sure you take into account the price of the platform you use plus the cost of gifts for each guest. And if you are mailing gifts, make sure to take shipping costs into account.
  • If you use Weve, there is a service fee for the platform and the cost of the gifts is separate. You can book an ala carte experience or add it onto an existing game.

How do you make a White Elephant more fun?

Keep up the fun by playing more games before or after your gift exchange. Weve has a variety of 60-minute game shows to keep things festive. Book a virtual holiday party that “yule” remember for years to come. We’ve got big things planned from timely trivia to fa la la la lip sync battles. Choose between our winter, New Year’s and holiday-themed experience to celebrate the winter solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or anything in between.

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  • Get ready to play winter, holiday, and New Year themed:
     
    • Trivia
    • Pictionary
    • Fact Match
    • Where in the World
    • The Price is Right - Gift Edition
    • Scavenger Hunt
    • Awards Show
    • Gift Exchange
    • Scavenger Hunt
    • Categories
    • Festive Photo Booth
    • Jolly LipSync Battle
    • Ugly Sweater contest - by request 

If you are still wondering, how do you make a virtual Christmas special, here are some other ways to customize your holiday party. 

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  • Welcome Videos: Kick off the party with prerecorded or live greetings and get-hyped speeches from executives, Santa, or anyone else in or outside of your company. 
  • Raffles: Plan giveaways and hand out gifts—no chimney required. Use our raffle feature for prizes and holiday surprises during your event. All attendees are automatically entered and can watch via a live broadcast as winners are chosen at random. 
  • Employee Awards Ceremonies: Show your employees some love because strong company culture is a holiday gift that keeps on giving. Use our live broadcast feature and pull awardees onto the virtual stage to recognize their accomplishments. (Victory speeches optional, but always encouraged.) 
  • Custom Content: Think outside the (gift) box. Customize your experience with trivia about your company or coworkers. Showcase your company colors and logos on Weve’s platform, too.

 

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Ready to party? We work hard to make your planning process easy. We hope our virtual gift exchange ideas got you thinking about your upcoming holiday parties. If you have some of your own ideas in mind, we’re excited to hear them. Visit https://weve.co/ and reach out to our sales team to start planning your holiday party. 

 

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