We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

The Best White Elephant Gifts Under $20

A blanket is draped over a chair, a french press is full of coffee, and water bottles sit on stones.
Eddie Bauer/Bodum/Nefeeko

If you’re headed to a holiday party or family gathering this year, there’s a good chance you’ll be participating in a white elephant gift exchange. As people compare gifts during the game, you want yours to be the most desirable.

The person who gives the gift everyone wants gets a lot of bragging rights in a white elephant gift exchange. Even if you don’t score what you want, at least you can say your gift-purchasing powers are top-notch.

If you need a little bit of last-minute inspiration, though, we’ve assembled a list of items anyone would want that are actually useful—and better yet, they’re all under $20.

A Portable Charger

A portable charger hits the ground.
Anker

We’ve all been out and about only to realize our phone, tablet, or computer is barely charged. Help someone avoid a dead device with this power bank anyone at the white elephant party can use.

When fully charged, it can charge an iPhone 12 twice, a Samsung Galaxy 1-1/2 times, and an iPad mini once before needing to be recharged. The only thing to keep in mind, though, is the USB-C port is an input only. Other than that, this is the perfect gift.

Anker Portable Charger

Never have a dead battery again.

A Collapsible Water Bottle

Four water bottles sit in water.
Nefeeko

Speaking of on-the-go, this collapsible water bottle is perfect for anyone who loves outdoor activities, like hiking, water sports, or just working out outside. It can be condensed and easily stored while out, and then expanded into a larger bottle.

Plus, it can store both hot and cold drinks, so whether it’s summer or winter, this bottle will come in handy. Throw in a sturdy metal cap to keep your drink enclosed and a carabiner for easy carrying, and it’s the perfect gift.

Nefeeko Collapsible Water Bottle

Hot and cold drink storage.

A Throw Blanket

Several blankets are draped over furniture.
Eddie Bauer

This Eddie Bauer blanket is the perfect gift to keep someone warm through winter. With one side of fluffy popcorn fleece and the other a smooth fleece, it’s the perfect blend of fabrics. It’s got a cozy faux shearling trim and a neutral camel and white pattern that’ll work with any décor. Plus, at 60 x 50 inches, it’s the perfect size for snuggling on the couch.

Eddie Bauer Ultra-Plush Collection

Perfect for cozy winter nights.

A Metal Straw Set

A metal straw is in a glass cup.
VEHHE

Never miss a sip with this set of reusable metal straws. There are five straight straws of varying heights, five bent straws of different heights, two cleaning brushes, and a carrying case.

Made from food-grade stainless steel, these are all dishwasher safe, and they won’t oxidize or leave a metallic taste. Basically, they’re perfect. Throw them in a bag or backpack, and you’ll be able to feel good about all those iced coffees you’ve been drinking.

A French Press Coffee Maker

A person makes coffee in a french press.
Bodum

This is the gift we would want! This French Press makes 34 ounces of perfect coffee every time. It’s also BPA-free, has a stainless-steel plunger, and is dishwasher safe. Basically, it’s perfect for any coffee lover in the group who might not already own a french press.

A Travel Mug

A person holds a mug up in front of mountains.
Sunwill

Whether they’re a coffee or tea drinker, everyone needs a quality travel mug. This one from Sunwill features a classic mug design with a handle and can hold up to 14 ounces.

With vacuum-insulated technology, it keeps hot beverages warm for up to three hours and cold drinks chilled for over nine! It’s also burn-free and sweatproof to prevent any nasty condensation.

Sunwill Coffee Mug with Handle

Comes in a variety of colors.

A Desktop Memo Pad

A desktop memo pad and calendar.
Bliss Collection

Who doesn’t want to be a bit more organized? This memo pad-meets-weekly-calendar is ultra-convenient. You can list your daily events and appointments in the calendar section, add to-dos at the bottom, track up to six habits, and set goals for the week.

Basically, it has everything anyone could need for daily planning, and thanks to its minimal black-and-white design, it’s gender-neutral, as well.

Bliss Collections Minimalist Weekly Planner Tear Off Pad

This all-in-one desktop organizer is ideal for those looking to be more productive.

A Portable Utensil Kit

A set of holographic utensils is set on a table.
ACukCuk

Whether someone works in an office or is a big outdoor activities person, on-the-go utensils make an incredibly useful gift. You can also stash these in your lunch bag or office drawer.

The set includes a knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks, two straws, and a straw cleaner, all in a handy carrying case. Your lucky giftee won’t have to worry about depleting their at-home silverware by leaving it at the office ever again.

Portable Utensils Set

Perfect for camping or hiking or stashing at the office.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Two puzzles feature doughnuts and cupcakes.
Joyin

Keep someone entertained throughout the holidays with these adorable jigsaw puzzles. Each one contains 1,000 pieces that’ll stump even the most seasoned of puzzlers.

With bright, colorful scenes of cupcakes and iced doughnuts, they’re also sure to make everyone hungry for holiday treats as they put them together.

JOYIN 2 Packs 1000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle

You can't gain any weight from a cupcake jigsaw puzzle.

A First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is surrounded by its contents.
Johnson & Johnson

Is this the most exciting present you’ve ever seen? No, probably not. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good one! Everyone should have a first aid kit handy. Whether you store it in the car, at home, or in your backpack for when you go camping, these are a must-have.

This set from Johnson & Johnson includes all the basics, like Band-Aids, Neosporin, Benadryl, gauze, and Tylenol. If there are a few people in the group who don’t already have a kit, they might just fight over this useful present.


If you want to bring the best present to the white elephant gift swap, practical, yet useful, items are the perfect way to go. No matter which of these handy items you choose, your giftee is sure to be pleasantly surprised.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?