The WoW Style

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Fun, Unusual, and Under-$25: Secret Santa and White Elephant Gifts

Have you been invited to a white elephant, Yankee swap, or Dirty Santa gift party? They all involve stealing and trading gifts among a number of friends, family members, or coworkers, and they’re a ton of fun. While a white elephant party often stipulates that guests bring an unwanted, unusual, or just plain ol’ weird item to pawn off on someone else, it’s also great to bring something desirable and watch folks fight over it! We’ve selected these unique but truly cool presents for just such an occasion.

The gift items featured here are also great for teachers, babysitters, stylists, coworkers, or any other recipient you want to honor with a holiday present.

Bob Ross Self-Painting Mug


Painter, PBS host, and all-around wholesome guy Bob Ross died in 1995, but he lives on in our hearts and on our television screens — even if that screen is more likely to be a YouTube video on a laptop. Now he can join you for a coffee break with this heat-activated mug. Simply fill the mug with coffee, hot tea, or cocoa, and watch as the happy little trees appear.

Shower or Bath Wineglass Holder


Is there anything more relaxing than lounging in a nice hot bath, or soothing your aching muscles in a warm shower? Yes, in fact, there is: drinking a glass of your favorite wine while you’re doing so. The recipient of this great white elephant gift will be able to sip safely with this shower-stall or above-tub Sipski wineglass holder. It’s intended to stick sturdily, so there’s no chance of your Syrah slipping.

Lush Bath Bombs


Accept no substitutes: these are the original fizzing, foaming, fun bath bombs. Yes, you can pick up knock-off bath bombs at the dollar store, but the quality simply isn’t as good. Lush offers a variety of gift packs, so you can go all out or spend under $10 for your white elephant party. These are sure to be the most-stolen item, so prepare to feel validated.

People of Walmart Calendar


By now, pretty much everyone has gawked at the insanely popular People of Walmart website. These folks genuinely don’t seem to GAF about their appearance when they just need to grab cat litter, frozen tater tots, and motor oil — which makes for wonderful, jaw-dropping entertainment for the rest of us. Anyone who’s lucky enough gets this gift can spend a few minutes every day of 2019 shaking their head.

Royce’ Green Tea Chocolates


Haven’t you heard? Green tea is the new chai. Or the new La Croix. Or the new unicorn frappe. Well, it’s the new something, even though it’s actually ancient — the first references to green tea date back to 600-900 AD. And then there’s chocolate, which everyone loves, of course. A package of Royce’s delectable green tea chocolate is perfect if you’re headed to a party of foodies, hipsters, hipster foodies, or even just regular old people.

Anne Taintor Tea Towels

You’ve probably seen Anne Taintor stuff around, even if you didnt have a name to put to the style. She riffs on mid-century American stereotypes, updating them for modern sensibilities. Tea towels emblazoned with retro graphics and witty bon mots like “what am I making for supper? why, sweetie, I’m making whatever the hell I want served with a side of eat it or starve” or “hmm…you say tomato…I say bloody mary” make the most meta ironic gift around.

Santa Pigeon Tree Topper


This tree topper is the perfect present for the Christmas-obsessed pigeon-and-ostrich-lover in your life… or if you don’t have one of those, for a white elephant swap. You may know Archie McPhee from such novelty gifts as the finger hands, rotisserie-chicken candy canes, or Mr. Bacon’s Big Adventure board game. Even if you have been blissfully unaware of such whimsical items’ existence up until now, we guarantee that they’re perfect for foisting off on others.

P.F. Candle Co. Candles


Not to be confused with lettuce-wrap juggernaut P.F. Chang’s, P.F. Candle Co. makes high-quality candles that are beautifully Instagrammable and rich in hashtag-ready adjectives. With scents that could double as craft cocktails (“fig and jasmine,” “orange cardamom,” “oud and bergamot”), and “apothecary-inspired amber jars” (we weren’t kidding about the hashtags), these would be ideal to take to a Yankee swap party hosted by your favorite internet influencers.

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