The Daily Northwestern

Impress friends with winning white elephant gifts

Mark Ficken, Reporter

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Alas, you’ve been pulled into another white elephant gift exchange. Are you trying to erase those horrible memories of white elephants past? You know, the one where you were left with one dirty sock while all your friends walked away with riches beyond compare? If you want to win white elephant this year, you’re reading the right article.

To win white elephant and become the king of Christmas, it is important to assess the group of people for whom you will be buying gifts (read: competing for the title of supreme white elephant gift giver). Here are a few examples of the right gifts for each group:

The Engineering Crowd: Minecraft creeper mug

This combines the two things that make an engineer’s world go round: Minecraft and extreme caffeinating. Now you can bestow upon your fellow players the Holy Grail of white elephant gifts. Up late studying for your multivariable calculus final? Can’t wait to log on and destroy some creepers with your trusty pickaxe? Now your gift receiver can turn to his or her mug and ask why he or she would ever choose such a major in the first place, instead of just becoming famous on the Internet.

Price: $14.99 on Jinx

The Pre-Professional Crowd: Med School/Law School/MBA degree in a box

Be sure to anger all your pre-professional friends and amuse everyone else with these boxes that promise to “provide a complete education” in whatever field you choose. Who knew law school, med school, or business school was that easy? The gift comes with a fill-in-the-blanks degree upon completion. You know, so it can go on your resume.

Price: $14.95 on mental_floss

The Party Hard Crowd: self-censoring black bar sunglasses/bottle opener ring combo

Help save your friends from the terror of waking up the morning after and being identified in all those embarrassing photos of their fourth keg stand. At the same time, tell them you’re not judging their life decisions by providing them with an easier way to open another bottle of whatever bottom-shelf booze is available. This gift says to your friends, “You do you.”

Price: $11.98; glasses from Amazon, bottle opener from ThinkGeek

The “We refuse to be lumped into one stereotypical group” Group: Shark with Frickin’ Laser Pointer action figure

Because why not?

Price: $12.99 at ThinkGeek

Another crucial part of winning white elephant is the presentation. The wrapping needs to look professionally done, period. If you can’t wrap, then get your friend to do it for you. Offer him or her anything up to and including your firstborn child.

But just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean that something sinister can’t lie beneath the guise of ribbon and wrapping paper. A few classic favorites include but are not limited to: multiple layers of wrapping paper, multiple boxes, a lockbox and bag of keys (my personal favorite), duct tape, glue or any combination of the above. Make your recipient work for your $15. That could have bought you two drinks at Norbucks … or something.

Or, if you just don’t want to go to all the effort, you could get a $10 Starbucks card and a $5 bag to shove it into like everyone else.

Email: markficken2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @mark_ficken

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