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When it comes to gift swapping games like White Elephant, Yankee Swap, or Nasty Christmas, the master gifters must first forget everything they know about holiday gifting.
Gone are the cashmere scarves, Belgian chocolates, and those porcelain baby angel figurines Aunt Sharon collects. In their place, Ron Swanson’s Pyramid of Greatness, cookbooks punctuated by expletives, life-size cardboard cut-outs of your face, and door stoppers with “HODOR” emblazoned upon them.
Gift swaps reward the niche, novel, and irreverent, with bonus points going to those who can check the boxes of funny and useful. So, below, we rounded up 55 last-minute gifts that are perfectly primed for this occasion, and, admittedly, perhaps no other.
Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days’ time, so don’t stress too hard about your last-minute shopping – just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.
Below, you’ll find 55 of the best last-minute White Elephant gifts under $US50 on the internet.
Looking for more gift ideas?Check out all of Insider Picks’ holiday gift guides for 2018 here.
A parody cookbook
Useful, funny, unexpected, and – dare we say it – provocative … this spoof cookbook is one of the best conversation starters and White Elephant gifts under $US15 you’re likely to find.
A funny meme-inspired card game for adults
What Do You Meme is the second wave of whatever Cards Against Humanity was – and it’s really fun. The game is currently backordered on Uncommon Goods until December 27, so order from Amazon if your exchange is before Christmas.
A 2019 calendar celebrating only the cringe-worthy awkwardness of timeless family photos
Matching outfits, terrible stage direction, and a collection of 365 photos that will make you recoil in either recognition or secondhand embarrassment.
A calendar of dog-shaming photos
Whether they also have a dog whose diet consists of chair legs, car keys, and their favourite pair of slippers, they will get a kick out of this dog-shaming calendar.
Note: Expected to arrive after Christmas.
An adult colouring book full of swear words
Adult colouring has had a resurgence in recent years as a great de-stressor (Kate Middleton is a fan). But before then, humans used swearing as the next best thing. Why not pair the two together for a truly balanced catharsis?
An PopSocket Pickle Rick from “Rick and Morty”
Know a fan of “Rick and Morty”? They will love this Pickle Rick PopSocket from one of the show’s most recognisable episodes.
A pillow that immortalises their best friend (who isn’t you)
If you’re shopping for a pet parent, you can probably stop here. Not many novelty gifts are guaranteed a prominent spot in your friend’s apartment, but this one probably won’t leave the living-room couch. Plus, in the days of dog and cat Instagrams, it’s not too hard to find your own mini album of options.
Note: Expected to arrive after Christmas.
A gift that immortalises their best friend (who is you)
Michael Scott once said that gifts were great because you can point to them and say “Hey, man, I love you this many dollars worth.” This gift also says “I love you this huge.”
Porcelain dinner plates that celebrate the fact that beards feed themselves, like Venus Flytraps
In a stroke of pure genius, “Food In My Beard Face Plates” were born. Have a friend who’s got a Civil War, Lumberjack, or 19th-century Russian author beard that’s known to take a few accidental morsels home with him? Say no more.
Socks that mimic some of the most famous paintings in history
Klimt, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Munch – the gangs all here. Whether they’re an art buff or just love socks that are fun but still functional, these are a great $US10 gift to tack on.
A punny breakfast bowl that works especially well for horror fans
This handmade ceramic bowl is punny on its own, but it will go over especially well with any true-crime or horror fans in your life.
A saint candle with your friend’s face on it — or their pet’s
You tell your friends you love and respect them, but what have you done to prove it lately?
A gimmicky present they will actually wind up using
If you’ve ever painted your nails, you can sympathize with the hassle of finding a safe spot for an open bottle of gooey, brightly coloured polish to hang out while you work. This $US3 nail polish holder looks gimmicky, but it’s actually useful.
A kitchen towel that has a chart of beer and food pairings on it
If they’re the friend who will be brewing beer in their garage in a few months, urge along the process with this beer and food pairing towel. It will give them great ideas for foods they may want to cook to complement beers they already have, or vice versa.
An SNL-inspired parody hat
Perfect for the friend who loves the “old Kanye” and may be having a small personal crisis in 2018.
Prison Mike exercise headbands, in homage to “The Office”
The “Prison Mike” phenomena began with the quote “Do you think doing alcohol is cool?” and get better from there. These headbands are built for exercise, meaning they stay put and wick sweat – perfect for your misfit softball league.
A Nicolas Cage activity book
Join this Snake Eyes version of Nicolas Cage on puzzles, games, colouring pages, and “the best of times.”
A book full of serious scientific answers to far-fetched hypothetical questions
“What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions”, available on Amazon,$US13.99
Randall Munroe is best known for his cult-favourite stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love. In this book, he gives fans serious scientific answers to the hypothetical questions people ask him. The hilarious answers are the results of stacks of declassified military research memos, differential equations, and interviews with nuclear reactor operators, and are accompanied by his signature comics.
A Game of Thrones cookbook with a foreword from George R.R. Martin
For the Game of Thrones fan, nothing tops a cookbook with a foreword from George R.R. Martin and a bunch of recipes that bring feasts at Winterfell and lemon cake with Sansa Stark closer to reality.
A baking pan that makes edible cookie spoons
What’s more fun than dipping cookies in milk? Replacing all the silverware in your home with cutlery made out of cookies like a second grader who became president for a day.
The best Game of Thrones fandom gift you’re likely to find
No spoilers here, but your “Game of Thrones”-obsessed friends will probably consider this wooden block with a nonsensical word embossed upon it as one of the best gifts they get this year.
A funny choose-your-own-adventure cookbook
What the F*@# Should I Make for Dinner?: The Answers to Lifes Everyday Question, available on Amazon, $US9
This popular cookbook was derived from the website of the same name, and it’s a choose-your-own-adventure book of 50 solid meal ideas for the nights when they have no clue what to make.
A binge-watching survival kit for the deep Netflix rabbit holes
This binge-watching survival kit is especially perfect for the friend who’s always complaining about the thinly-veiled disapproval in Netflix’s “Are you still watching?” notification.
A card game that has you anonymously answer the question “who’s the most likely to…” out of your friends
This card game basically asks you to answer “who’s the most likely to…” out of your friends, anonymously – perfect for the next low-key night or pregame. You may also want to check out “Who in the Room” or “Never Have I Ever” in card version.
A set of “Drink Time Continuum” tumblers with prominent thinkers on them
These “Drink Time Continuum” tumblers are illustrated with some of history’s greatest minds, from Albert Einstein to Marie Curie. If your friend loves the intersection of clever wordplay, smarts, and creativity, they will probably love – and actually use – these.
The Swanson Pyramid of Greatness
Culturenik Parks and Recreation Ron Swanson Pyramid Workplace Poster Print, available on Amazon, $US9.95
For those that already live by Swanson rules or would put “masonry” and “cabins” as fundamental building blocks in their life.
A nothing-but-edge-pieces brownie baking pan
This is for the visionary who won’t accept the limitations of a regular brownie pan. In a world of these, everyone wins.
Note: This may arrive after Christmas.
A punny and entirely functional umbrella
The perfect accessory for days when it’s “raining men.”
A mug with a built-in basketball hoop
Turn hot chocolate with marshmallows or cereal into a game with this mug made by an eight-year-old kid-preneur. Plus, $US5 of every purchase supports an online resource for parents of kids with learning disabilities.
A Dr. Seuss parody reimagined for the working world
Laugh. Otherwise, you’ll cry.
A pie dish with a geeky pun baked right in
Do they love puns, maths equations, and/or pie? This popular “I eight sum pi” dish is a great intersection of them all.
A to-go sriracha sauce keychain for the hot sauce fiend
An eerily accurate poster
If they’re never further than 45 feet from a coffee pot, they will probably appreciate the gallows humour of this spot-on poster.
A tiny fan for the friend who logs 15 minutes per week complaining about the office’s temperature
For the perpetually overheated, grab a small fan they can plug into your computer or laptop for power.
Ceramic takeout-inspired dishes
Perfect for the friend whose ideal night is staying in. Or the one who says they’re five minutes away when they’re really a mile deep inside a carton of lo mein.
Hilarious, NSFW stories from American history you didn’t learn in school
From the creators of the podcast “The Dollop” comes the weird, hilarious, and true untold stories of American history – accompanied by full-page illustrations that bring each historical “milestone” to life.
All the moods of Nicolas Cage on a t-shirt
The national treasure of all T-shirts.
A hilarious NSFW card game you can play together
Most people already have Cards Against Humanity, and this extended “Red Box” version comes with 300 fresh cards to add into the mix (230 white and 70 black). The company also notes that it “transforms your deck of Cards Against Humanity into a better bludgeoning weapon against home invaders.”
A cocktail recipe book that pairs good music with good drinks
Combine two great pastimes into one with a guide of 70 albums from the ’50s through the ’00s, paired with an A-side and B-side cocktail for each one. They’re organised by mood, so they will know just what pairing to use .
A mini waffle maker for tiny waffles
This mini waffle maker is perfect for when they want to make a waffle just for them rather than a whole spread.
A Tile Mate to ring their keys or phone wherever they lost them
For the friend that has invested far too much money in key duplicates.
Abbi Jacobson’s new book
I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff, available on Amazon, $US18.30
This New York Times Bestseller comes from the co-creator and co-star of the hit series “Broad City” – and you can rest assured that if your friends have ever mentioned the show, they will love this.
A punny soap opera kitchen sponge holder
Who doesn’t love a good pun? Or cleaner sponges?
A mini flip cup game
A good-natured drinking game with friends, but make it tiny. If you’d rather try your pointer finger at Mini Beer Pong, there’s that too for $US60.
A funny cookbook made especially for hungover, demoralising mornings
This cookbook was built to handle hangovers – six types of them to be exact. Recipes are tailored to the specific hangover and are bookended by insights into hangover science, quizzes to see if you’re maybe just still drunk, and witty jokes.
A mind-blowing fusion of two beloved foods
Oreo flavored candy canes – because once humans figured out how to make fire and penicillin, they just decided to have fun with it.
A cute loose tea infuser shaped like an animal
Cute, functional, and can be paired with some great loose tea for a “more-is-more” gift.
A Slothmas sweatshirt
Merry Slothmas to all and to all a 20-hour sleep cycle, goodnight.
A plug-in that lets them control the TV and lights from the couch without getting up
Give the couch potato people what they want – and that’s the ability to control the lights, TV, stereo, and other appliances without needing to get up from the comfortable spot they fell into.
An extremely fun board game that made Kickstarter history
Exploding Kittens is basically a highly strategic version of Russian roulette with a cat theme. It was the most-backed project in Kickstarter history, and this version is NSFW.
A crowd-pleasing gag gift mug
This ceramic gag gift mug has become a bit of a mainstay in the genre, and it holds up to 12 ounces of their favourite drink.
A punny mug made by an independent artist
For the friend who loves puns, has a penchant for swearing, or appreciates a nice ceramic mug that pretty much works like every other.
The sock homage to the iconic DNA diagram
If you know someone who would wear socks with the iconic DNA diagram on them, or likes the idea that there’s a code that tells living things how to be what they are, you’re looking at the right gift.
Game night glasses
Festive game night drinks for your next friends night, whether it involves scrabble or not.
A microwavable popcorn popper
Load this microwavable popcorn maker up with kernels and pop it in the microwave for delicious popcorn without the hassle of actually doing the stovetop thing.