The holiday season may be full of Nativity scenes, twinkle lights, menorahs, reflection on the good (or bad) behavior of ourselves and others, and general angelic brouhaha—but White Elephant is for the rest of us hellish little biatches. White Elephant is Satan’s time to shine, because it’s your chance to pluck presents that fly deliciously close to the gates of hell, making everyone at the holiday party wonder what you ever, ever did to deserve a wonky Garfield toy. We have never felt so seen; we have never felt so cursed.
The best White Elephant gifts should feel joyful, irreverent, and hand-crafted from the dankest corner of your intrusive Freudian thoughts. They should whisper, “You do need a Shrek butt plug, Jedediah,” and give you permission to lean into the comfort of a blanket that looks like a burrito, a mask that looks like a Furby, or a coffee mug in the shape of a recycling bin. These are not presents for the idle, the boring, or the weak. They are the presents for hot, lazy, selective people. They are White Elephant gift ideas that will make you seem worldly, yet mysterious—and you won’t have to break the bank… well, depending on how insistent you are on dominating the energy of the exchange.
A lot of the best white elephant gifts under $30 are, shall we say, “interesting” enough to cause physical altercations at the actual event, so prepare to watch the world burn and the attempts to swap to escalate to unforeseen, gladiatorial levels.
Welcome to the metaverse
What, you thought we still bothered with shoes? C’mon now. Free yourself from your feet prisons and rock these socks-with-sandals socks to your next formal event. Or, go full sock-ception and wear socks-with-sandals socks, with sandals. [Scratches head.]
Where’s the butter sauce?
The catch of the season. Please present these lobster slides to your giftee on a tray of fries, drizzled in a lemon garlic butter sauce when the tide is high and sea creatures sing.
Choo choo, eh?
Just look into those big, cold, dead eyes and tell us that you don’t want some alone time with Thomas the Spank Engine. We know—you can’t.
Real Gs move in silence like…
…Cursed Garfield. This uncanny valley stuffed animal of dubious origin is just freaky enough to earn a spot on our White Elephant smackdown showdown. If we can’t convince you, hop on down to the product description, which reads, “The fat orange cat dumb but cute.” We (respectfully) concur.
Putin as a shrimp, because why not?
One of our editors recently copped this for his fridge, and he has no regrets. We don’t really get it, but we're pretty sure that isn't the point.
There’s a cult forming around this chicken bag
Oh, you haven’t heard of the chicken bag? You should leave the coop more, Brad. Anyone would be clucky (sorry) to tote this eggcellent (not sorry) bag around town. Just live your truth—even if your truth is the chicken bag.
A tiny burger puzzle
OK fine, so it isn't cursed—in fact, it's adorable. But there have to be some presents in the pile that everyone will fight over.
Just add nut milk
There's something appealing and yet troubling about these candles that look just like a bowl of cereal—kind of like a parallel-universe version of the meticulously detailed Japanese fake food that's a true art form.
Alright, let’s wrap it up, folks
Now is the time of year where becoming a blanket burrito is 100% acceptable—and honestly, encouraged.
A whole new meaning to “swamp ass”
Yes, Ma, there’s a whole cyberverse of Shrek-inspired sex toys, from penis strokers in the shape of the iconic ogre’s ear, to anal plugs (which really takes more of a Classical/Greek inspiration) for your swamp. We asked the originator of the trend, “Why?” and he told us, in not as many words (he didn’t), “Because you know you want it.” There is many a Shrek-inspired plug in the Etsy swamp:
Mmmmm. There’s no better way to start your day than downing a bright blue can of hot recycling sludge, thanks to this very interesting mug. Your White Elephant counterparts will agree.
The golden throne
Novelty mugs really do dom the White Elephant game; they’re always at an accessible price point, and always unhinged. Why wouldn’t you want to slurp your morning whiskey from a golden toilet?
The time for IBS pride is here
This is a great shirt to wear to literally any gathering where you want people to know that you refuse to be ashamed of your irritable bowel syndrome, from funerals and christenings to divorce proceedings and arraignments. (Judges love it!)
So realistic it should smell like mustard
Enough is enough, people—we’re putting
Christ hot dogs back into Christmas, along with a handsome deviled egg, a steamer full of dumplings, a worryingly realistic stick of butter, and other delicious-looking Cody Foster vintage-inspired food ornaments.
A pillow that knows all your neuroses
“Cushion Your Dreams” with this plush pillow shaped like the oft-referenced psychoanalyst who made us all feel weird about our parents, Sigmund Freud.
An ambient potato light
Nothing but love and respect for my president, the Smoko potato lamp. If you stare into its
suds eyes for 45 minutes straight, you’ll see The Creator (spoiler: god’s just another potato).
Grateful Dead lights (to leave up year-round)
Going down the road feeling festive? You bet they are. These Grateful Dead string lights will bring them that Jerry Joy throughout the darker months of winter.
Honorable mention, if you're ready to commit: a hairless Furby
Yes, it's $75—which is more than is typically spent on what is essentially a joke gift. But are you here to rock this White Elephant gift party, or not? And if the answer is an emphatic "yes," how else can you really up the cursedness quotient than by introducing a viscerally naked Furby into the mix?
However if you must keep your pursestrings tight, this affordable Furby mask is also an option:
Now get on outta here—you’ve got some stampeding to do.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.