|Troop 55 White Elephant Gift Exchange Rules
What is a White Elephant Gift? The term white elephant refers to a gift whose maintenance cost exceeds its usefulness. While the first use of this term remains an item of fierce contention among historians, a popular theory suggests that Ezra Cornell brought the term into popular lexicon through his numerous and frequent social gatherings, dating back to as early as 1828.
Gifts are typically inexpensive, humorous items, or used items from home; so clean your rooms, start looking in your closets and under your beds, or search your basement for that perfect gift you can’t wait to get rid of. All attending can play the game. If you bring a gift, you are in the game; adult or scout.
All gifts should be wrapped, placed in a bag, or otherwise concealed. The gifts are set on two tables. On one table are the scout gifts, that is, gifts brought by scouts, for scouts. On the second table are the adult gifts. Scouts and adults should choose gifts from the appropriate table.
All participants draw a number to determine their order. The participant with #1 unwraps any gift from the pile and then shows it to everyone. Each successive participant, in the order determined from the drawing, can either 1) "steal" an already opened gift (if there's one they really like) or 2) be adventurous and go for a wrapped gift from the pile. If the participant chooses to steal, the person whose gift is stolen now repeats his turn and either 1) steals another person's gift (he cannot immediately steal back the gift that was just stolen from him) or 2) unwraps a new gift.
This cycle of stealing can sometimes continue for a long time, until a new gift is chosen, at which point the turn is passed to the participant with the next number from the drawing, or whoever is next in the circle, whichever arrangement is chosen.
Since items can be stolen, the item in your possession is not yours until the game is over. However, there is a rule declaring a gift "dead" or "safe" after it has been stolen three times (fourth owner). This helps the process go more smoothly (avoiding, for example, the hypothetical scenario of the same gift being stolen by every successive participant) and limits the disadvantage of being among the first to choose gifts.
Once all numbers have been withdrawn from the hat and all gifts are opened, the person who picked first has the option of picking one more time from the table, stealing a gift, or keeping the gift already in hand. After they exchange, steal or decide to keep their gift, the turn ends and there is no additional swapping.
We hope you enjoy the unique and fun “Troop 55 Annual White Elephant Gift Exchange and Holiday Party”!