If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, Robb Report may receive an affiliate commission.
The term “white elephant” was first used in the 1800s in reference to a king of Siam, now modern-day Thailand. According to legend, he’d give rare albino pachyderms to unpleasant courtiers who couldn’t afford the animal’s upkeep—a grand gift in theory, but impossible to maintain in practice.
Now, white elephant gifting signifies a swap party, a fun exchange of items that range from fun and humorous to practical. Some have price caps, others have themes, but the gist remains the same: participants draw numbers and then, in turn, either select one of the wrapped gifts anonymously placed in a pile or steal one that was already opened. It definitely can get very competitive, depending on the selection, but everyone can rest assured that they won’t leave empty-handed.
Indeed, a white elephant party has gained praise for its blanketed “good for anyone” focus—especially when all involved bring practical goodies. When cooler months approach, it’s best to steal blankets, slippers, coffee mugs and hand warmers. In the summer, beach towels, sparkling wine, sunglasses and bucket hats are great options. Regardless of season, it’s a great way to stock up on essentials. And if you need help finding selects to wrap up and put in a pile, we’ve gathered 30 white elephant gifts—all of them grand and certainly easy to maintain.
Best White Elephant Gift for the World Traveler
Nue Co. Functional Fragrance
Long-distance traveling can leave us dehydrated, stressed and tired. For the world traveler in your life, Nue Co. has created an idiosyncratic formula to alleviate some of that—with a special blend of green cardamom, bergamot, cilantro and palo santo. Spray these sustainably-sourced ingredients on pulse points when you’re feeling stressed, and with 30 minutes, the connection between cognitive function and your olfactory system will activate, impacting your emotional state for the better.
Best White Elephant Gift for the Hat Wearer
Jacquemus Le Bob Artichaut Bucket Hat
Hats are often an overlooked accessory, but for those that love them, the shape, style, and color options can be endless. For the hat wearer in your life who seemingly has every style, here’s something fashionable and functional. Jacquemus has unveiled a suite of cool hats for all seasons, with the Le Bob Artichaut hat topping our list. It features a large brim with a frayed edge, the brand’s name above the forehead and an adjustable drawstring chin strap.
Best White Elephant Gift for the Art Lover
Pop Art Style by Julie Belcove
Pop Art Style is a perfect library addition for the art lover in your life. Penned by Robb Report’s own Julie Belcove, the title details enticing stories from the art world, when creators like Andy Warhol ruled the scene. From the first wave to its recent impact on today’s era of product development, social media and more, the tome perfectly illustrates the lasting appeal of Pop Art.
Rémy Martin XO Cognac
This holiday season, celebrate with the very best: our cellar Master’s signature Cognac, Rémy Martin XO, an opulent blend of hundreds of eaux-de-vie.
Best White Elephant Gift for Dawdlers
Some gulp down their coffee or tea in one sitting, taking in all the heat before it dissipates. Others like to cradle their drink, sipping it gradually throughout the day. The latter, usually, have to microwave their mugs or just deal with a lukewarm beverage. But no longer! Thanks to Ember, dawdlers can now enjoy a hot cup of joe at their leisure—and have it stay hot. The brand has created a device that’ll keep beverages at a user’s desired temperature.
Best White Elephant Gift for the Over-Stressed
Mount Lai Jade Tension Melting Massager
Back-to-back meetings, deadlines, egos: the work day can be extremely stressful. Double that if family responsibilities are in the picture. This is why it’s important to take breaks to calm the nerves. And if you know someone that needs to alleviate all that pent-up tension, gift them a jade massager. The tool deeply kneads the skin and muscles, helping soothe any anxiety caused by crazy office and home dynamics.
Best White Elephant Gift for the Hot-Tempered
Dyson Pure Cool Link Tower TP02 Purifier Fan
Dyson revolutionized vacuums by offering designs that were equal parts chic and effective. The same could be said of the brand’s electric fans, which will circulate purified air like none other. It really does offer the best of the best. And if you know someone that gets hot easily—and gets cranky as a result—the buck stops at this sleek device.
Best White Elephant Gift for Stylish Timekeepers
Fornasetti Viso Wall Clock
Time is money, and if you know someone that likes to keep on a schedule, there’s no better gift than a stylish clock—especially one from Fornasetti, one of the premier purveyors of home décor and furniture. The brand’s designs take old-world styles and make them fresh and modern, always offering more bang for your buck.
Buy Now on Neiman Marcus: $368
Best White Elephant Gift for the New Homeowner
MAX ID NY Ghost Highball Glasses
This set of highballs from Maximilian Eicke’s label MAX ID NY is truly other-wordly. Part of the Ghost collection, these blue glasses feature a solid base and geometrically-designed sides that are equally parts edgy and fancy. Ideal for the new homeowner in your life, this gift will truly bring new life to a cocktail.
Best White Elephant Gift for the Hotel Hopper
Malin + Goetz Best-Sellers Travel Set
In 2004, Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz founded the apothecary and skincare company MALIN+GOETZ. Aimed to provide uncomplicated skincare for everyday users, they set out to make a line that was clean, streamlined and effective. Over the years, they have consistently sold out their top products, most of which have remained unchanged since their launch over 18 years ago. Now, they’ve combined all these products into a collection of minis. For the hotel hopper in your life (who rarely uses low-quality products while traveling), the set—housed in recyclable aluminum tubes—includes a grapefruit cleanser, a vitamin E face moisturizer, a bergamot hand and body wash, vitamin B5 body moisturizer, peppermint shampoo and a cilantro conditioner.
Buy Now on Malin and Goetz: $34
Best White Elephant Gift for the Card-Only Carrier
Montblanc Meisterstück Meisterstück Leather Cardholder
We all have a friend that never carries cash. Whether it’s a night out at the bar or a day of shopping, they’re always reaching for a card. Enter Montblanc’s Meisterstück wallet—the perfect white elephant gift for the man that just needs the bare minimum before walking out the door.
Best White Elephant Gift for Minimalists
Mejuri Gold Beaded Ring
Dainty and simple yet bold and unique, the Mejuri’s beaded ring will excite any minimalist. But if they chose to change their MO and pile of the bling, they can easily get more of these these 14K gold rings and stack them.
Best White Elephant Gift for Day-Trippers
Longchamp Le Pliage Bag
Taking a day trip typically requires minimal packing; all that’s needed is a compact bag to fill all the essentials. Longchamp’s iconic Le Pliage bag is perfect for this scenario. It’s a light, foldable canvas bag that features a leather strap and trim, two flat pockets and a zipped and snap closure.
Best White Elephant Gift for the Homebody
Baccarat Flora Biseau Bud Vase
Everybody loves a vibrant bouquet of flowers, but not all of us are home enough to appreciate them. For the homebody who loves to spend their weeknights and weekends chilling on their couch, we’re loving Baccarat’s crystal Flora Biseau Bud vase. Weighing over a solid pound, the vertical beveled-cut item is a gorgeous gift for those that want to rest in a cozy place filled with florals.
Buy Now on Saks Fifth Avenue: $190
Best White Elephant Gift for the Workout Partner
Prada Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Typically known for its chic garments and accessories, Prada has ventured into the market of functional workout gear. For the gym buddy who motivates you and keeps you focused, we recommend a white elephant gift that can keep them hydrated in style: the Prada 350 ml stainless steel water bottle. With an exterior embossed logo, the black bottle features a snap-hook and removable ring, thermic properties and a screw-on lid.
Best White Elephant Gift for the Makeup Artist
Givenchy Les Accessories Couture Beauty Lipstick Case
Applying makeup on the go has never been easier than it is today, with mini products, travel cases and makeup mirrors. For the makeup artist who has everything, we’re highlighting the unisex Givenchy Les Accessories Couture lipstick case. Available in ten hues and three styles with the brand’s name on its cover, the leather case is adorned with a 4G emblem and silver-toned metal rivets.
Buy Now on Saks Fifth Avenue: $15
Best White Elephant Gift for the Winter Warrior
Loro Piana Baby Cashmere Gloves
If you’ve recently moved to a cooler climate, getting used to freezing temperatures is a new experience. For the new winter warrior in your life, someone who commutes outdoors or wants to keep cozy on a cold night out, Loro Piana’s baby cashmere gloves are a luxurious treat. Made in Italy, the plain-knit gloves, available in four colors, are inspired by the brand’s dedication to tailoring, featuring a ribbed trim with leather.
Best White Elephant Gift for the Bold Best Friend
Spinelli Kilcollin Solarium Silver Ring
Founded by the L.A.-based husband-and-wife duo Yves Spinelli and Dwyer Kilcollin in 2010, Spinelli Kilcollin has garnered attention for its eye-catching conjoined stacked ring style, each held together with circular connectors. For your best friend who’s bold and expressive, we’re loving the Solarium ring, which features thin-gauged bands and connectors made of sterling silver.
Buy Now on Moda Operandi: $960
Best Gift for the Host
Gucci Herbarium Oval Tray
For the host with the most, we recommend gifting Gucci’s oval tray. Crafted from white Richard Ginori porcelain, it features the brand’s Herbarium motif—a whimsical touch on toile de jouy. Inspired by a vintage fabric, the piece is designed to be a serving dish or tray, welcoming guests into your abode with style and class.
Best Gift for the Faux Plant Collector
Birds of Paradise Live Plant
We can’t all have a green thumb, which is why faux options exist. But if you want the real deal, Birds of Paradise, a plant native to South Africa, is easy to care for. This option can stand one-to-five feet out of the box, and only needs minimal sunlight and watering.
Best Gift for the Blowout Bar Regular
Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer
The Revlon Salon one-step hair dryer and volumizer hot brush is an incredibly effective, at-home blowout solution for both men and women. Available in two colors, the tool features a nylon pin and tufted bristle brush head styler at the end of a six-foot power cord. With three settings and powered with over a thousand watts, it is the next best thing to going to an actual salon.
Best Gift for the Stay-at-Home Dad
Toms x Krost Mallow Mule
Being a home parent means trekking around the house with unlimited responsibilities. For the dad that does it all, a trusty slipper shoe with both comfort and outdoor functionality is necessary. Capturing these qualities is a pair of fluffy mules from limited-edition collaboration between Toms and Krost. With a textile upper and a RMAT outsole, the slide-on shoe is available in two colors and benefits Peace First—an organization that supports young people around the globe who lead social change with digital tools, community support and start-up funding.
Best Gift for the Exclusive Home Fragrance Fanatic
Le Labo x The Metropolitan Museum of Art Candle
Fragrance brand Le Labo, has recently teamed up with The Metropolitan Museum of Art to create a special limited-edition, hand-poured candle. Made up of 62 ingredients, it marries the visual arts and the world of luxury scents. On its exterior, art patrons can appreciate a painting from 1908 entitled “Underneath the Cork Oaks” by Henri-Edmond Cross.
Buy Now on The Met Museum Store: $92
Best Gift for the Sentimental Friend
Oscar de la Renta Letter Necklace
For a friend that recently had a baby or got married, wearing an initial of the new perion in their life is a comforting sentiment. Oscar de la Renta’s gold-plated necklace, dotted with tiny Swarovski crystals, offers every letter of the alphabet and is designed to dangle on a long chain.
Best Gift for the Photography Buff
Leica d-Lux 7 x A Bathing Ape x Stash Special Edition Camera
Over the years, camera technology has grown to unimaginable heights. Leica—a leading brand in the world of both tradition and contemporary advancements—knows that leap well, and has balanced its new-age approach with collaborations fit for cool cats. For the photography buff in your life, we’re shining light on the brand’s latest limited-edition camera made in collaboration with A Bathing Ape and Stash. Limited to 1,850 pieces worldwide, the urban D-Lux 7 model features a camouflage foil exterior and a 17-megapixel sensor camera with 4K post-focus modes and video recording.
Best Gift for the Espresso Drinker
Illy Art Collection Biennale 2022 Espresso Cups
Entitled “The Milk of Dreams,” Illy’s latest line of espresso and cappuccino cups, which celebrates 30 years of the company’s Art Collection series, was curated by Cecilia Alemani, who sourced images from the 2022 Venice Biennale. They include works by Giulia Cenci, Felipe Baeza, Precious Okoyomon, Aki Sasamoto, Cecilia Vicuña and Alexandra Pirici.
Best Gift for Headliners
Jacquie Aiche Bezel Finger Bracelet
The California-based jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche gained early acclaim thanks to names like Rihanna and Beyoncé. For your friend who wears the same jewelry day after day and never takes it off, we recommend her finger bracelet, featuring one small bezel diamond at its center. Available in three sizes in either 14K yellow, rose or white gold, the piece is an iconic addition to the jewelry box. It’s definitely for headliners.
Buy Now on Jacquie Aiche: $650
Best for the Master of Ceremonies
Krug Rosé 23ème Edition Champagne
There’s always that one guest at a shindig that corals everyone together, raising their glass to toast to whatever is being celebrated. They are often the life of the party, the master of ceremonies with a bubbly personality that never fails to entertain. Similar sentiments could be said of this delicious rosé chamagange from Krug. Indeed, they’ll definitely appreciate raising their glass with this drink inside.
Best Gift for the Cool Friend
Oscar & Frank Made in Japan Black Sunglasses
Who better to influence our style choices than Beyonce? Recently, Queen Bey wore Oscar & Frank Made in Japan sunglasses, a style that features, rubber-coated screws and anti-reflective inner lens coated to prevent rear glare. The latter will coming in handy, because this design deserves to be in the spotlight.
Buy Now on Oscar and Frank: $230
Best Gift for the Early Bird
Brother Vellies Bodega Coffee Mug
The UN- and CFDA-backed label Brother Vellies was founded by Aurora James in 2013 to preserve artisanal craftsmanship in Africa. Recently, it launched its Bodega line, featuring a collection of small-batch goods from around the world, including wooden combs, ceramic jewelry dishes, silk scarves, woven bags and more. For the early bird in your life, we’d recommend gifting the brand’s At Home mug—handmade in Oaxaca, Mexico by female ceramicists—which will make a great addition to your morning routine.
Buy Now on Brother Vellies: $35