Virtual White Elephant Gift Exchange

Today I want to help you host a virtual white elephant gift exchange party from home. This is a fun holiday idea for a virtual holiday girls night in! It’s an online or social-media based version of the classic Secret Santa or gift exchange.

white gifts on white background with text overlay

How to host a virtual white elephant gift exchange

If you’ve hosted a Christmas party for ladies night or for couples and incorporated a gift exchange, this year that idea may look a little different. Here are tips and ideas to host your own virtual white elephant gift exchange and still make it festive. 

These guidelines can be used for a Secret Santa party too. So plan your guest list and get ready to follow these ideas for a gift exchange party online.

Basic Rules

In a classic white elephant gift exchange, the gifts are picked one by one in a particular order and can be “stolen” by the other guests. In order to keep that concept you’ll have to do some creative maneuvering. Here’s how.

  • During the virtual party each guest has a link or image of the gift they will purchase and give away. It is a secret at this point.
  • When the first person chooses their number (#1) and picks a gift, the link or photo of that gift is revealed.
  • The second person to choose (#2) can steal that gift or choose another one, at which point it would be revealed.
  • If person #3 steals a gift from person #2, then person #2 has to pick a new gift or steal from any other person. They cannot steal back their gift from person #3 during this round.
  • The game continues until all gifts have been given out. After the party each person will have the gift they’re giving, shipped to the final recipient.

PARTY TIP: Each gift can only be stolen 3 times during the entire game. After the third “steal” it is out of play and the person with it gets to keep it.

1. Create a private group on Facebook

Facebook private groups makes it easy to invite and gather everyone together. If everyone isn’t on the platform you can utilize Zoom for face to face planning, or SignUp Genius. You can even send out an Evite for a virtual gift exchange.

If you want to do a Secret Santa approach, you’ll need to pair up gift giver and recipient within the group. You can assign each person a number and use Random Number Generator to select pairings.

2. Set a Price Range

Make sure the participants agree on a set price range – $20 – $30 might be a good range. But it’s really about whatever works for you and your friends.

Gifts can range from “gags” that are funny, or useful like footie pajamas. Or more generic like gift cards.

3. Shop online

Shopping online makes it so easy to play a virtual white elephant gift exchange. You can shop and pay online and have your gift sent directly to your recipients address. How easy is that?!

4. Have gifts wrapped

Most online shopping has gift card and gift wrapping available. Make use of this feature and have your gift wrapped accordingly.

5. Set a Virtual Party Date

This is the fun part. Choose a date for everyone to come together on Zoom and open their gifts together. A Zoom party gives you the opportunity to open your gift WITH your friends, but one at a time so each person is in the spotlight to show off their present.

6. Make it a real party

Finally, for the holiday season make this a real party experience. Pour champagne or one of these cocktails:

Make appetizers to nibble on and share the recipes with friends so they can add a little fun and flavor to their holiday get-togethers too.

Make sure to include a fun and festive atmosphere with your friends. Dress up like you’re at a cocktail party. Wear Christmas themed costumes, like those you don for a photo booth. Have props for silly poses. Just have fun with it!

Snap a couple of photos and share on social media.

Are you ready to start planning a social-media or virtual white elephant gift exchange?

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