questionshas anyone ever taken part in a "white elephant…

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I've done the non-horrible version of what you are describing called Yankee Swap. People are limited to $20 or so (and buy actual, real gifts) and have the option to pick a new gift or steal a gift. It keeps going until all gifts have been opened.

What sadist in your family came up with giving only awful gifts?

The best thing I ever got from a Yankee Swap was a flash drive with pornography already on it.

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I've been part of one of those at work. Half the people went with horrible/funny gifts, half brought genuine gifts. It made for an aggressive "steal" round for the beer.

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I think it's a lot of fun. It's cool to have a mix of some good stuff and varying degrees of junky stuff.

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I avoid them like the plague. The three or four I've participated in (all more than 10 years ago) resulted in people intentionally taking gifts that other people had "received" and really liked for the expressed purpose of taking them away.

I don't find any pleasure or fun in that at all, so now I just opt out.

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I love the ones I've been to, but most of mine aren't the horrible kind either. Our book club does one with books and all of thevtrading is fun. We also do an ornament one with another gift and that is fun too. I don't like the ones where we trade for crap though.

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When I was helping with the youth group at church we did one of these every year. It was a lot of fun and the kids LOVED it. I found it a great way to get rid of things I didn't need. Some girls were really excited to get a couple of chairs. The year I got rid of an old television was a lot of fun. The 150 lbs of cat litter that I had used to weight down the back of my truck when the roads were icy were less well received...but it was fun to watch the young girl who chose the biggest gift there that year be a bit confused when she found it was five bags of cat litter.
My goal for these type of gift exchanges is to come home with less mass than I went with. I'm rarely disappointed.

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Yeah, always have had fun doing them. Haven't been part of one in a while, which is kind of a bummer.

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I have from time to time. Nothing recently. One of the most memorable featured a couple of guys who have been in the national news, recently, oddly enough.

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Whenever I do them I try to make the gift one that is highly polarized. Some people will hate it and some will love it. The look of horror when a 25-year-old guy opens up a piece of hello kitty luggage followed by the frenzy of people wanting to steal it for their daughter, and the relief the guy feels once it is out of his hands is great.

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At my one place of employment we did one of those one time and since nobody knows what present came from what person som HIGHLY inappropriate things where brought in. I think in one box there was one of those individually wrapped pickle, box of condoms, small jar of lotion, small packet of tissues, and small bottle of baby oil.

Made for a VERY funny day but that ended our gift swapping fun.

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I'm going to an ornament exchange on Saturday! It's a girls only party and a yearly tradition, always super fun.

Every exchange I've been to was more the fun gift/ornament, never been to a "horrible" one. It seems like there wouldn't be as much stealing (which is the fun part) if each gift was non-desirable.

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We do one at work every year. There's a $20 limit/suggested amount. You can do a lot of awesome and/or awful with $20. We have a big variance of good and ridiculous. I tend to do ridiculous, but also make sure there's some good wrapped up in all the crap I give.

We do swap presents, but there's no opening presents until the swapping is done, so people don't know what they're stealing when they do it. Cuts down a bit on the hateful people taking the "good presents" and all that. We always have a great time with it and it's a great way for me to get rid of some of my yearly BOC junk!

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Done a few.
They are fun if done correctly.
Think of it as group BoC.
I don't see a point in exchanging actual true junk.
If someone gave me a rusty sump pump, they'd be wearing it home.

j5 j5
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@j5: giving and getting crap is totally part of the fun for us. however, we really do make sure there's some cool/awesome/fancy mixed in with the silly/random/awful.

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Yes I have. A live mouse was not a good gift to end up receiving. I put him in a cupboard to keep the cats from annoying him/me at night after a few night. I was good about remembering to open the door/feed him for a couple months. On a side note a mouse can't live in a cupboard for a week with no food. It was a tragic day and I am still teased for the death of said mouse.

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Sounds like a fun party in most cases! I've never been to one, but my job does a secret santa every year. The problem is, we usually figure out who got who early on because it's a small group (7) and a few people blab who they got. After that, the deduction isn't too difficult. However, the present is always a surprise! I can see a white elephant party being really fun for us, but it would probably be better with more people.

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@curtisuxor: We do the same game but, down here in South Louisiana, it's called Cajun Christmas.

Just yesterday, as a recent retiree I was invited back to the Christmas party of one of my professional associations as a guest of the Board. Turns out they wanted me to emcee the ornament exchange again. I had been doing it for the last dozen years or so. That group always gives nice gifts so there are no losers.

Having said that, although the game is fun, unless everyone brings nice gifts or everyone brings white elephants, someone is going to get shafted. For several years I refused to participate at work since I always seemed to get the lone gag gif. Ending up with a box of Depends when I had brought something really nice was NOT fun, especially since someone thought it was funny and opened the box so I couldn't even return it for cash. Bah! Humbug!

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@curtisuxor: Thats the only kind I've done either. But the real question here is - did you know it was preloaded with pornography when you took it home, or not until you used the drive?