This Family Won Christmas with Their Wholesome White Elephant Gift Exchange

Want to steal a gift? Think again.
December 27, 2018, 7:57pm
Family plays games for Christmas
Screengrabs of Adrienne Young's tweets.

We’ve all been there: you unexpectedly grab a good gift at your family or office Christmas party during the white elephant exchange, only to have it snatched away by someone wholly unworthy. You are left to pick again, and get something very meh which no one has an interest in stealing. Socks, say. Or a photo pass for a decades-old Guns ‘N Roses show someone picked up last minute at a resale shop.


Enter Adrienne Young, who manages the social media accounts for Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, and her crazier-than-yours family. They have devised an ingenious and so so pure remedy to this very common white elephant problem, and it took the internet by storm on Christmas. In their version, if someone wants to steal your boss-ass gift, they have to first beat you in a game—a unicorn ring toss, a Froot by the Foot eating contest or various odd tasks to be completed without using your hands.

Young took to Twitter to document all the adorable, inventive games her family plays each year—and some on the platform are eager to take part, even if it means marrying into or being adopted by the family. The original tweet on Young's thread has 365k likes and nearly 100 retweets!

The family has kept the tradition going since about 1999, Young's aunt Mary Dam Nguyen, who organizes the games alongside her husband Peter, told VICE.

“When we first started it, we wrote down dares of things that you had to do in order to win the other person's gift, like exchanging clothes with them, doing a funny dance, or getting tickled,” Nguyen said in a Twitter DM to VICE. “Then it started getting really gross with dares like mooning [through] the window, sniffing armpits, or eating disgusting food concoctions. The last dare we did was actually someone shooting an M&M out of their nose and someone else catching it in their mouth.”


But soon enough, the show "Minute to Win It" became popular and the family began pulling games from there instead.

“We revamped the games to fit us better and through the years we just collected items and ideas,” Nguyen explained. “We have three full bins of game supplies and have made funny and provocative names for them too over the years.”

Names like, “How long is my schlong” where players use a tape measure to get ping pong balls into a cup. Nguyen adds Peter is tasked with coming up with new games each year to keep things fresh.

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“We have a lot of friends who hear about our epic games and want to either come watch or participate,” Nguyen told VICE. “We're just so excited that everyone loves it as much as we do.”

And Young makes it clear that for all the fun of their competitiveness, there’s more to the tradition than just coming out on top. “While we love playing games, it's not about the prizes or winning,” Young told VICE. “It's just so hilarious to play these games. Sometimes we even challenge each other for bad gifts just to play against someone.”

Or, as one person on Twitter perfectly summed it up:

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Follow Arimeta Diop on Twitter.