Exploring The Different Names For White Elephant Gift Exchanges


White Elephant gift exchanges are a beloved holiday tradition that brings friends and family together for laughter and surprises. But did you know this amusing game goes by many other names in different parts of the world? In this post, we’ll explore other names for White Elephant gift exchanges and uncover the fascinating cultural variations that make this game even more intriguing.

Yankee Swap

In parts of the United States, particularly New England, the White Elephant gift exchange is often called a “Yankee Swap.” This name is believed to have originated from the term “Yankee,” used to describe Americans, and “swap” because participants swap or trade gifts during the game. It’s the same game with a regional twist in the name.

Dirty Santa

In the Southern United States, particularly in the South, you might hear it called “Dirty Santa.” This name adds an element of mischief to the game, hinting at the potential for participants to select humorous or unconventional gifts. It’s a playful take on the classic White Elephant exchange.

Chinese Gift Exchange

In Canada and some parts of the United States, the White Elephant gift exchange is known as a “Chinese Gift Exchange.” This name is derived from the misconception that the game has Chinese origins. However, there is no historical connection to China; it’s another way to describe this fun gift-swapping activity.

Thieving Secret Santa

In some regions, especially in Australia, the White Elephant gift exchange is humorously called a “Thieving Secret Santa.” This name emphasizes the element of “thieving” or stealing gifts from one another during the game, adding a naughty twist to the traditional Secret Santa concept.

Kris Kringle

In parts of Europe, particularly in Ireland, the White Elephant gift exchange is known as “Kris Kringle.” While in some places, “Kris Kringle” refers to a Secret Santa exchange, in others, it is synonymous with the White Elephant game. The name may vary depending on the local interpretation of the tradition.

Pollyanna Gift Exchange

In the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, the White Elephant gift exchange is sometimes called a “Pollyanna Gift Exchange.” This name is believed to be inspired by the novel “Pollyanna” by Eleanor H. Porter, where the main character plays a “Glad Game,” akin to finding joy in surprises.

Rob Your Neighbor

In the United Kingdom and some other parts of Europe, the White Elephant gift exchange is playfully referred to as “Rob Your Neighbor.” This name highlights the game’s competitive aspect, where participants can “rob” or steal gifts from each other.

Thieves’ Christmas

In certain regions of Canada and the United States, the White Elephant gift exchange is humorously known as “Thieves’ Christmas.” This name captures the essence of the game, where participants engage in playful “thievery” as they swap and steal gifts.

Bad Santa

Another alternative name for the White Elephant gift exchange, particularly in North America, is “Bad Santa.” This name suggests that participants may receive humorous, unconventional, or even slightly mischievous gifts.

Regifting Party

In some circles, a White Elephant gift exchange is called a “Regifting Party.” This name emphasizes giving away items previously received or “regifted” to someone else, often with a humorous twist.

Ready to Add a Twist to Your White Elephant, Yankee Swap, Dirty Santa, or Any Other Exchange Gift Event?

Explore Elfster’s exceptional selection of exchange gifts that will bring laughter and surprise to your gathering. Whether you’re going for a regional spin on the White Elephant game or embracing a playful twist, Elfster’s collection has something for every version of this beloved tradition. Elevate your gift-giving game with Elfster’s unique treasures that promise memorable moments.