Prepare slips of paper with numbers on them and have everyone draw one.
On the first turn, person #1 chooses a gift, opens it, and it is admired by all ... you hope! On the second turn, person #2 gets the choice of "stealing" any unwrapped gift (#1's) or choosing a wrapped one. On the third turn, person #3 gets the choice of "stealing" any unwrapped gift (#1's or #2's) or choosing a wrapped one. Game continues based on the following:
1. - If a gift is stolen from you, you can steal a gift from someone else (see #3 and #4 below), or open a new one.
2. - Turns proceed until everyone has a gift. A turn is ended when a gift is opened and (hopefully) admired by everyone.
3. - A gift cannot be stolen more than once in a turn.
4. - The third "owner" of a gift gets to keep it - it is unavailable to be stolen again.
At the end of the last turn, the first person (who had no choice at the beginning) can choose to put back his or her gift and steal any gift that is still available - see #4 above. Then the gift "exchange" is started again (see #3 and #4 above) and ended when someone either chooses or is forced to take the gift given up by person #1.
Some fun tips:
Please purchase a gift that you would want or would not mind receiving in the price range of $10-15. Wrap the gift really pretty paper. It is so funny when everybody fights over a gift that is beautifully wrapped and then they open it and it is a bottle of ketchup or something!!!
Also if your gift is small wrap it up in a big box. You can even put one box in another and so on. Then the participant has to open numerous boxes. People love to choose the largest present, but then when they start opening it, they realize its all paper and boxes and a tiny little gift inside!
These are the rules for the White Elephant Gift Exchange.