Gift Guides

The Interesting Origin of the Infamous White Elephant Gift Exchange

The only time stealing is socially acceptable throughout the year is during the holidays when White Elephant is played. If you're unfamiliar with the game, it comprises of a group of people who bring silly, unique, funny gifts for an exchange. In each round a participant has the option of either stealing a previously opened gift or choosing a wrapped one from the pile. Rules vary, but you get the gist. 

Every year we play this game, but does anyone actually gift an albino porcelain looking mammal or even know why we call the game this?

White Elephant

According to historic legend, its origin stems back to the kingdom of Siam (modern day Thailand) where the Siamese King would gift an actual white elephant to those who displeased him. Knowing that white elephants were a revered symbol in Thai and Buddhist cultures, you'd think this was an honor, however, it was the farthest thing from it. In fact, these rare elephants were incredibly expensive to keep; we're talking about a 6-12 ton mammal that eats 200-600 pounds of food a day. Imagine the financial burden! 

Plus, you couldn't just slap a bow on one of these animals to regift. That would just be rude, not to mention disrespectful. 

So there you have it. The silly game we love and cherish is actually inspired by true historical events, which makes it that much more interesting.

In honor of all the white elephants who have been gifted out of displeasure in the past, here is one of our own White Elephant gift ideas for you to bring to your next office party.

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