How To Host a White Elephant Gift Exchange

Thank you to Frito Lay for sponsoring this post!


Holiday Traditions

My single favorite tradition of the holiday season is the white elephant gift exchange my family hosts every year. The gifts range from small, yet thoughtful to silly, over-the-top gag gifts. Over the years I’ve walked away from the exchange with a set of coffee mugs, a portable cooler and a silly hat that my kids still love to play with, just to name a few. With the holidays fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to create a post about this lively holiday tradition.

I’m so excited to be partnering with Frito-Lay to share gift ideas, games and a quick and easy party recipe to make your White Elephant gift exchange a huge hit!


When my family gathers for this fun event, we usually forgo a big meal and instead bring our favorite holiday snacks and treats. My favorite is a quick and easy Reindeer Crunch recipe that’s always a huge hit! And because we are a Pepsi family, that’s always on the menu as well:)

What’s on the menu?

And because no holiday gathering is complete without great snacks, I’m sharing one of my favorite seasonal recipes! This easy, mess free Reindeer Crunch is always a favorite!


2-Step Reindeer Crunch

I’ve been making variations on this recipe for years and it’s always a hit! Over time, I’ve found that Frito-Lay products are my go-to not only because of the quality, but because of the variety I can find.

Step 1 :: I start with Indulgences by Smartfood popcorn. The dark chocolate raspberry flavor is perfect for the holidays.

Step 2 :: add your favorite ingredients! I included: 

  • Rold Gold Pretzels
  • Nut Harvest Nuts
  • Smartfood Popcorn {I used Movie Theatre Butter, other options would be Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn, Smartfood Delight Sea Salt or Smartfood Delight Sea Salted Caramel}
  • dark chocolate chips.

Add-Ons :: Don’t be afraid to get creative! Optional add-ons could be cranberries, raisins, coconut flakes or sesame sticks. Or spice things up and add cinnamon, nutmeg or sea salt. 




Simply throw it all together in a bowl and serve! I usually make extra, pack it in ziplock baggies and pass out to guests. Always a crowd favorite!


White Elephant Gift Ideas

Over the years, I’ve discovered lots of fun White Elephant gift ideas, but my favorites are easy DIY style gifts that you can put together with items you already have at home. I’m sharing a couple of my favorites today!



The first is a Spa-In-A-Jar. This is a super easy and fun gift to put together that uses a quart-size wide mouth mason jar. Its a great way to make use of all of those hotel samples I’m always walking away with! Alternatively, you can simply hit up the travel section at your favorite store and include items such as a face mask, lip scrub, foot scrub, pore strips, massage oil, perfume, hand cream, foot lotion, socks, eye mask and tea light candles. This is a gift that could also be put together with a man in mind using mini shaving cream, a razor, lotion, nail clippers, etc. 

Another gift grab favorite is a hidden cash gift. I simply place an empty toilet paper tube into a mason jar, fill the outside with candy and then add the cash inside the tube where it can’t be seen! I used jelly beans here, but you could use any candy that you had on hand.

A couple other fun gift ideas are an envelope filled with gift cards with leftover balances on them or a package of batteries with a note that reads: “gift not included”!

My family likes to make things interesting by adding games to the exchange. This dice game is a crowd favorite! I also love this printable where participants draw cards and then trade gifts based on the instructions on the card. A White Elephant gift exchange is a great way to for the whole family to celebrate the holidays in an inclusive way!



Now that the holidays are eminent, think about hosting your own White Elephant gift exchange with family, friends or even co-workers! And don’t forget your favorite Frito-Lay snacks!

What are your favorite holiday traditions? I’d love to hear!


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