Let’s address the white elephant in the room: Nobody likes picking out a gift

We’ve done the work for you and compiled this list of inexpensive ideas


Chris Woodard

The month of December is synonymous with gift-giving. Discover these inexpensive gift ideas for your next white elephant gift exchange. Graphic created in Canva by Chris Woodard.

The gift-giving season is in full effect, but mastering the season is not easy.

Here are some general rules to follow with additional gift ideas for all budgets.

Know your audience. Maybe your friends share the same music taste, love for party games or the same adult beverage. Keep your ears and mind open, and aim to get “oohs” and “aahs” from your community with the things they enjoy.

If you only know one or two people at the event, going all in on their interest can be equally rewarding. The idea is to get people stealing, not opening.

Gift ideas under $30

Want to know your friends better? For better or worse, you can accomplish this with a bit of fun with the trending game “We’re Not Really Strangers,” an icebreaker-driven card game best played while inebriated.

Watch your friends fight over comfort with a Comfy, a wearable blanket fit with a pouch for hand-warming. These one-size-fits-all cozy hoodies can be found on sale for a low price.

Do college students know how to work an iron? I sure don’t. Fortunately, it is 2022 and a steamer gets the job done. 

Gift ideas under $20

For the bearded and mustached men in your life, the Philips Norelco all-in-one set is almost everything these hairy kings need to stay well-groomed.

Treat yourself and your people simultaneously with an Allure Beauty Box. Allure is a monthly subscription that can be canceled anytime but offers full-size makeup and skincare products that easily justify the $20 to $25 price point.

Pro tip: If you use Allure or similar beauty boxes like Ipsy year-round, take unused and unwanted products and make your own box for a great low-cost gift!

Aren’t you sick of that one friend that always volunteers to take group photos but sucks at it? Give the gift of easier photography with an easy-to-use ring light for phones to lighten up those beautiful smiles.

If these gifts do not work out for you, remember the key: make it fun but unexpected. Always ask yourself, “would I steal this?”