White elephant gift exchanges, during which participants reveal and steal one another’s randomly assigned gifts, are one of the most fun events of the holiday season. Though they are traditionally held in-person, it’s simple to host these festive parties online, as you adhere to social distancing recommendations and celebrate the holiday at home. Check out this 4-step plan to an awesome white elephant gift exchange – online!
Step 1: Set a Date and Pick a Platform
After you’ve arranged your guest list, reach out to your family members, friends, and/or colleagues to settle upon a convenient date, time, and the platform you’ll use to meet up (like Zoom or Google Hangouts). If your group is large, consider sending out a questionnaire-style email asking attendees to select their most convenient dates and times, so you can make your decision from there. The same goes for the platform – simply ask which platform your participants prefer and pick one.
Step 2: Have Guests Purchase Gifts and Draw Numbers
Just like the real thing, a virtual white elephant party only works if everyone brings a wrapped gift to the party. Whether you’re exchanging gag gifts or more meaningful ones, decide upon a reasonable price point and type of gift and have every guest shop for and wrap a gift for their mystery recipient. Around this time, you should also draw numbers for your exchange. To keep things a surprise, use a website like White Elephant Online or Secret Santa to randomly assign numbers to invitees.
Step 3: Host Your White Elephant Exchange
When the big day arrives, have guests show up to the conference call with their video settings on and their wrapped gift at the ready. After some chatter, ask guests to hold their gift up to the camera as guest number one picks the most desirable gift. The person who bought the chosen gift should unwrap the gift on-camera and show it to the group. Then, proceed with guest number two, following the rules of the game as you go (or making up new ones).
Step 4: Exchange Addresses and Send
Once everyone’s gift is claimed, exchange mailing addresses, so that participants can send their respective gifts to the new, rightful owners. To make this process easier to manage, gather a spreadsheet of everyone’s names and addresses before the party. Add the name of the gift they’re receiving later. Then, simply send the gift you purchased along in the mail and prepare to receive your new gift, too!
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