How to Host a White Elephant Party

friends holiday pajama party cheers


One of my favorite holiday traditions is getting my best friends and family together for our annual White Elephant pajama party. Have you ever hosted a white elephant party? It’s a great alternative to Secret Santa… and way more fun, if you ask me! The rules are pretty simple.


How to Play: White Elephant Gift Exchange

  1. Determine a gift price limit. We usually stick to $30 or less.
  2. Each guest brings a wrapped gift.
  3. Display all of the wrapped gifts in the center of the room or playing area.
  4. Draw numbers to decide the order you’ll be selecting gifts. (Only those that bring a gift can participate.)
  5. Player #1 chooses a gift and opens it. Player #2 can choose to steal that gift, or choose to open a new gift.
  6. If your gift is stolen, you choose a new gift. You must wait one turn before stealing a gift that was stolen from you.
  7. After the last gift is stolen, Player #1 has the option to steal one last time.
  8. Take turns guessing who purchased each gift!


To make things more festive, I request that everyone wears holiday pajamas. We all bring a favorite dish or dessert, and I serve up signature cocktails. This year I treated my guests to the Kahlua Cold Brew Martini (partly because I need all the caffeine to make it through the rest of this year. Ha.) Coffee lovers will appreciate the sweet java-infused flavor, while the hostess will love that it only requires three simple ingredients. Here’s how you can make it at home…


Kahlúa Cold Brew Martini

  • 1 part Absolut Vodka
  • 2 parts Kahlúa
  • 3 Parts Cold Brew
  • Espresso Beans for garnish

Pour ingredients into a shaker over ice and shake vigorously to create a thick layer of foam. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with 3 espresso beans. Enjoy!


hostess mixing cocktails at holiday party wearing red silk sleep shirt pajama


rules for hosting a white elephant gift exchange party

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