The Best White Elephant Gift Ideas Under $25

You may be tempted to keep some for yourself.

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waThe holidays won't be the same this year, but that doesn't mean gift-giving has to be any less joyful. While the coronavirus pandemic has placed restrictions on the amount of people you can see, you may be celebrating virtually or in a small gathering. And if you're hosting a playing a game like a white elephant party, you may be looking for the perfect present.

White elephant parties go back to the days of Siam (now Thailand) where white elephants were considered sacred beings. Stemming from Buddhism, white elephants weren't allowed to perform any manual labor because they were regarded so highly. The King of Siam would gift a white elephant to courtiers who had displeased him, never alluding to just how much work goes into taking care of a white elephant.

Traditionally, white elephant gifts were meant to be lavish in both looks and size — much like the animal — while also being a little difficult to upkeep (see the theme here?). Once the U.S. and Siam began trading in the 1850s, Americans adopted the custom, changing up a bit.

And now we've turned a White Elephant party into a fun gift exchange game where everyone brings a wrapped gift, draws a number, and is able to swap and steal presents. Luckily, we’ve also come to terms with settling on a decent price instead of getting too lavish. Below, you'll find white elephant gifts for under $25.

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1. Essential Oil Diffuser

The perfect addition to your room, an essential oil diffuser is for your friends who welcome fresh scents and relaxation. This wood-coated essential oil diffuser has four timers and two misting modes that allow you to set the perfect mood.

2. Essential Oils Gift Pack

Of course, your friend is going to need some essential oils to go with their new diffuser. These six classic scents — lemongrass, peppermint, orange, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree — make a great starter pack.

3. A Mythical Infuser

For the tea and mythical creature enthusiast, this adorable infuser makes sipping fun.

4. The Perfect Gift To Keep Your Libations Hot

No one likes a cold cup. As we've all become glued to our home desks, your tea enthusiast friend will definitely need this mug warmer to keep their magical leaf elixir hot as they make it through their work day.

5. Portable Speaker

Jamming out around the house just got way more fun. This adorable portable bluetooth speaker comes in various colors that all pack the same punch. Compatible with both iPhone and Android, this speaker also has space for an aux cord and has 10 hours of battery life.

6. Socks To Get Your Roll On

Treat your sushi lover friend to a hand roll and sock roll with these sushi socks. It does not come with real sushi, unfortunately.

7. An Everyday Essential With A Twist

There are two ways to be unforgettable: Smell amazing or be the one who brings this ferocious deodorant holder to the next white elephant swap. Inside the belly of the beast of this Old Spice Bearglove figurine is its Bearglove deodorant, which has a commanding scent of citrus and spice. Just open the top half to find the scented stick already nestled inside. So really, it’s a gift within a gift. It’s hard to say which part is the star, but if you show up with a useful gift that also shows a sense of humor, maybe the real star is you. Leave it to Old Spice to give people something to talk about.

8. The Perfect Gift For Those Who Cant Keep Plants Alive

For the plant lover who can never seem to keep even the easiest plants alive, this mini cactus humidifier gives the receiver the benefits of having a fresh space while not killing any innocent plant babies.

9. Socks That Say Exactly How You Feel

For the wine enthusiast, these socks say it all so we don't have to. Nothing like pouring a glass of cab and kicking your feet up after a long day in style.

10. Booze On The Go

It's always time to celebrate, and this mini cocktail box allows you to serve up to six friends (or yourself, six times) some bubbly that will add joy to any occasion.

11. For Aligning Your Chakras

For the friend who stays connected on another level, the recipient of this gift will be in for an awakening. 2020 has allowed many to get down to earth and intuitively express their most inner thoughts, so what better intuitive aid than a starter chakra crystal set.

12. Adorable Candles

To burn or not to burn? That is the question with these cute cactus candles. Perfect to decorate your space or to give a little glow to the room.

13. A Gift That Allows You To See The Future

Look into the future with these colorful tarot cards. This deck is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye but also comes with a detailed guide on how to read the cards. Perfect for the seasoned tarot reader or newbie.

14. The Answer To Your Coffee Needs

The coffee bill has gone way down this year thanks to this baby. The recipient of this gift won't know what hit their wallet when they whip up a fancy cafe drink in the comfort of their own home.

15. A Touch Of Nostalgia

Cute, compact, and creates cute mini waffles. What more could one ask for? Treat a friend to this slice of nostalgia.

16. The Gift Of Cleanliness

For the germaphobe, this is one device we could all use in 2020. With a compartment for essential oils and three UV-C lights, sanitize your hone, keys, and more in just 10 minutes.

17. Grow Your Own Spices

All aboard the gardening train. There's bound to be one (or more) guests at your virtual white elephant exchange that have discovered their green thumb this year. This kit is the perfect start to growing the freshest herbs.

18. A Crabby Helper

The ultimate tool for the friend who is always in a pinch. For making quick fixes or simply opening a bottle of wine, this crabby tool will help get the job done.

19. A Mug That Says It All

For those who need a little help communicating before their coffee fix hits. Let the world know exactly when the right time to say "good morning" is.

20. A Gift For Your Thoughts

For the introspective friend, a journal to share their most inner thoughts as they process the wild journey that this year has been.

21. A Nice Candle

Everyone loves a good candle. With the holidays coming up, Martub Studio has released its brown sugar candle.

22. A Stylish Bag

For when the world opens again or to just organize your drawer, this compact bag will keep your essentials ready and organized.