White Elephant Gifts

It’s that time of year where we are getting invited to lots of parties and they all seem to be having a White Elephant gift exchange. ** (And it’s not the kind where you can bring a toilet plunger that looks like a shotgun…) What are the best White Elephant gifts under $30? Well, Geek For Hire has some ideas!

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Creative White Elephant Gift Ideas:

Portable Power:

I don’t know about you, but our family always seems to be running out of juice. That’s where a portable battery pack comes in handy. What to look for:

  • Charging ports – It’s handy to have two or more ports to charge your devices.
  • Milliamp Hours – more is always better, 10000mAh should be the minimum you consider.
  • USB-C – Do you need a USB-C port? Not all portable chargers have one. Read the description carefully.
  • Size – The most useful charger is the one you use. I keep one in my purse that is teeny. It’s a square about four inches long and ½” per side. It’s useful for 1 phone charge when my battery is running low. When I travel, I carry a slightly larger one with 20000mAh that can totally charge a device 2 or 3 times.Portable Battery Pack for White Elephant gifts
  • Weight – is it light enough to carry around? My favorite one with the most charging power feels like a brick. The one I use most often can go in my front pocket.
  • Reviews – even if you’re not buying on Amazon, it is helpful to look at the reviews there. Remember, a rating of 4.8 stars with 1000 reviews is better than a rating of 5 stars with one review.

Smartphone Screen Magnifier:

Who else is watching videos on their smartphone? A screen magnifier is a fun way to watch Netflix when you don’t have access to a tablet or laptop. Here are some things to look for:

  • Screen size – most are 12”, but some are a little larger.
  • Does it come with a flat screen or is the screen curved? Some even provide a 3D experience.
  • Does it appear to be sturdy and easily portable?
  • Speaker – do you need or want a Bluetooth speaker? This will add complexity and require power. It will probably add to the price as well.
  • Read the Reviews!

Wearable sound:

You’ve got a whole bunch of options here. I have a headband with Bluetooth speakers that I use to help me fall asleep at night. If you like to listen to music or podcasts when you’re hiking or running, a hat with speakers built right in could work very well.  Or, you also check out earbuds:

  • How will they be used? Earbuds are more versatile if they can be used to make and answer phone calls. Some are made just for listening to music or an audiobook.
  • Many earbuds come with a storage case that is also used for charging. See if you can get a set with a fast-charging USB-C.
  • Controls – can you increase/decrease the volume from the earbuds, or do you need to do that with your smartphone? How large are the control buttons? Can you adjust by feel or do you need to take it out of your ear?
  • Interchangeable buds? Does it come with different-sized earbuds to provide a perfect fit?
  • Remember to check the reviews!

Portable Cord Organizer:

One of the best gifts I gave this year was a portable cord organizer for my nephew in grad school. He loves it because it fits easily in his backpack with his laptop, and helps keep everything protected and organized. (It’s pictured below.) Here’s what to look for:

  • Weight – you want something that doesn’t add measurably to your backpack or suitcase.
  • Size – how big does it need to be? Will it hold your phone, portable battery pack, and earbuds, or just your cords?
  • Closure – Do you want a zippered case to keep everything inside or something with strong elastic to keep it all in place.
  • Remember to read the Reviews!


Have I given you some creative White Elephant gift ideas? It’s easy to get a useful item for a gift exchange with just a little bit of research. It’s a lot of fun when it’s your gift that keeps getting “stolen”. Now you know how to pick white elephant gifts everyone will fight for!

** There are so many options for gift exchanges. Whether you call it the Yankee Swap, a Chinese Gift Exchange, Dirty Santa, or White Elephant, you’re sure to have a lot of fun. Make sure the White Elephant gift rules are established in advance, with a dollar amount, process for exchanging the gifts, and a theme. Your basic White Elephant Gift exchange is where everyone brings one wrapped gift that is under a certain dollar limit. Each person then draws a number out of a hat and they select a gift in order. Each person can select one of the unwrapped gifts, or “steal” one from one that has already been opened. Here are the “official” White Elephant rules.

There’s also the White Elephant Dice Game. It’s a little more complicated – you roll the dice and follow the instructions. Rules here.


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Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. He’s the geek for you! Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly.  You can find more on our website, or give us a call at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

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