6 Must Have Outdoor Gifts for the Dreaded White Elephant Party


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White Elephant, Yankee Swap, Dirty Santa—whatever you call it, chances are you’ll be attending one this holiday season. The term comes from the legend of the King of Siam, who liked to give albino elephants to courtiers who displeased him, as the gift’s maintenance cost far outweighed the usefulness.

Today, a white elephant refers to gifts—or a party swap of gifts—that are not particularly useful but may be unique or humorous. We’re expanding the definition, allowing for awesome, useful and humorous gifts. There are plenty of approaches for playing the game and even more approaches for buying a gift. Go with funny, weird, or nice and you won’t go wrong.

To make your life a little easier, we’ve gathered the list of outdoor gifts we’re bringing to our many White Elephants this winter:

1. The Nite Ize Flashlight Disc-O makes you want to “boogie oogie oogie till you just can’t boogie no more,” for all of our disco fans. If you’re looking to provide your tribe with some ridiculous outdoor midnight fun, look no further.

2. Get the mood right with the ENO Twilights LED Light String. Purple/fuchsia, blue/green or classic black/white—you’ll find the right color combination for any party. They’re perfect for setting up stars on low-visibility nights or decorating your own holiday tree in the backcountry (just remember to pack it out!).

3. Inflate this bad boy, wrap it up and really confuse your party. We’d even suggest poking holes in your package and turning on the sequence of five colored lights. The lightness to size will make the MPOWERD Luci Reindeer Inflatable Solar Lantern the talk of the gift-giving exchange.

4. The Outside Inside Free Style Croquet-Golf boasts that you can play anywhere, on any terrain. It’s a challenge that anyone would be crazy not to accept. And, with 26-inch-tall mallets, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to practice your weirdly-shaped-package packing skills.

5. Picture a pink cartoon T. rex. Cute. Now picture a pink cartoon T. rex with a T. rex-head reacher-grabber in its tiny hands. Impossibly cute? We think not. The Krieg Special K Chalk Bag – Unstoppable Pink is a thing of beauty that’s bound to be stolen and re-stolen all game long.

6. Okay. You have plenty of light-up options and silly things, but are you trying to be the practical one at the party? Do you want to give a gift that people will actually use? How about the classic (and under $25!) Sawyer Mini Water Filter. It’s the thing that everyone wants.

Check out our entire gift selection.