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How to Host the Ultimate Virtual White Elephant Gift Exchange


Details make all the difference when hosting the perfect gathering – especially this year. If you’re planning a virtual holiday get-together, you’ll want to make sure no detail goes overlooked. RISE on Chauncey is here to help with our guide to hosting the ultimate virtual white elephant gift exchange.

What Are the Best Apps to Use?

Good news: There are so many to choose from! Bad news: There are so many to choose from! How do you pick just one? We recommend going with a Zoom call. Most everyone has a Zoom account and/or app at this point, so you’ll save your participants precious setup time. If you do want to go in a different direction, Skype, FaceTime, Google Meet, and WhatsApp are a few other options.

How Do I Pick the Best Time?

If your participants are strewn about the country – or globe – keep that in mind as you choose a time for your gathering. Try to time your meeting so that it’s neither too early or too late for any of your guests.

Don’t Forget the Details

Consider creating a well-crafted document – or, better, yet, an invitation – detailing all the rules and then sharing it with your guests beforehand. Be specific and include everything they’ll need – the gift budget, wrapping instructions, gift shipping or drop-off instructions and deadlines, rules on stealing gifts, etc. Evite, Facebook, Punchbowl, and Smilebox are a few options for sending online invitations.

How Do We Make This Work Virtually?

It can be done. Here’s a simple approach that’ll work for most virtual white elephants.

  • Set the time and send everyone the meeting link.
  • Let everyone know the gift budget and any theme you want them to stick to – silly, serious, Purdue University-themed, etc.
  • Determine a picking order. It’s best to do this beforehand to keep the actual exchange as simple as possible.
  • On each person’s turn, have the gift-givers hold up their unwrapped presents on the screen until the giftee makes their choice.
  • The gift-giver unwraps the present for all to see – and so they can start plotting their stealing strategies.
  • The next person takes their turn, either choosing an unwrapped gift or stealing an already-opened gift.
  • Keep going until all the presents are unwrapped.
  • Be sure to designate a person to keep a list of who choses what gift.
  • Once the fun and thievery is over, the gift-givers ship or deliver the presents to the giftees.

Where Can I Find a Great Gift in West Lafayette?

  • University Book Store – If your white elephant gifting strategy calls for Purdue gear, check out University Book Store. It’s just a couple of blocks away from RISE.
  • Dawson & Daisy Boutique – For something chic and fun, check out Dawson & Daisy.
  • Amused Clothing – This basement shop features fun clothing finds of all sorts.
  • Von’s Book Shop – Find books, comics, graphic novels, beads, music, and more at this longtime West Lafayette hot spot. It’s close to home in the Chauncey Village neighborhood.
  • Gretel’s Fine Gifts – Looking for something quirky? Gretel’s has you covered.

Explore More of West Lafayette

Visit the RISE on Chauncey Neighborhood page for more ideas on things to do and places to explore in our corner of West Lafayette.


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