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December Party: Holiday Hideaway and Pink Elephant Gift Exchange

Let’s be honest: It’s hard to get together with girlfriends in December. Social obligations and holiday preparations leave little time for a girls’ night out. Cookie exchanges, secret Santa swaps, and dinner parties are all time-honored ways of celebrating the holidays with girlfriends, but for the busiest among us, they just add more pressure. And we want fun–not frazzled nerves–so for December, suggests this:

Don’t get together until Christmas and Hanukah are over. Then, during that lazy, quiet week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, host a no-pressure gathering that affords your girlfriends an opportunity to "get away from it all"–from cooking, cleaning, wrapping, thinking, and entertaining houseguests. You’ll also give them a chance to get rid of one "undesirable" holiday gift with our Pink Elephant Gift Exchange. Think of this party as a girlfriend’s refuge–one that should be easy for the host as well. The idea is to simply have fun, be together, and relax in a way that you haven’t been able to do in weeks.

The setting: Comfort is key, so hunker down in front of the coziest fireplace you can find. If none of your girlfriends wants to host, a local coffee shop (or tavern) offers a simple subsitute.

The invitations: If you’re feeling ambitious, you can surely create some cute pink elephant invitations using pink card stock. How hard would that be? But, since we want this party to be super-easy, phone your girlfriends or use Evite.

Food and drink: Keep it simple. Chinese take-out and sparkling wine would be fabulous. Go ahead and polish off those leftover holiday cookies too. Diets start January 1!

Pink Elephant Gift Exchange: You’re probably familiar with "White Elephant" parties where everyone wraps up an unwanted item to exchange. The results can be hilarious as everyone fights over the prettiest-wrapped gift, only to find out it’s something really ugly or useless. Since we’re all women here, we’re calling it a Pink Elephant. Here are the rules: Everyone brings one wrapped gift. You will have to lay some ground rules about the type of gift to bring. Traditionally, a white elephant is merely something you no longer want. But, in some circles, gifts are actually purchased for this game. You know your friends. Set your own rules depending on their tastes and senses of humor. Here are a few options for a gift theme:

  • Bring a usable but unwanted gift from holidays past or present.
  • Bring a usable but unwanted item that is "female" in nature.
  • Bring a new gift with a value of $XX. (This makes it more of a chore, and we don’t necessarily recommend it. But, if you’re going to buy something, make it something "girly"–it’s a Pink Elephant party after all!)
  • Bring a gift that is pink (not just the wrapping), not to exceed $10 in value. This could be anything from a scarf to nail polish to a box of tampons!

Here’s how to play: When guests arrive, have them leave their wrapped gifts in a designated place. When you are ready to start the game, everyone draws a number from slips of paper in a hat. The girlfriend who draws "1" gets to pick a present first, and so on. Number one picks a present from the pile, but does not unwrap it. Then number two may either steal a present from number one, or pick one from the pile. If your gift is stolen, you must pick another one from the pile or steal one from another player. However, a gift may only be stolen three times, and then the fourth person must keep it. Once everyone has a gift, it’s time to reveal what’s under the wrapping paper!

Pink Elephant twist: If you want to steal a girlfriend’s gift, you must give a sincere compliment to that girlfriend or tell a funny (true) story about her.  

Other activities: Though the Pink Elephant is the main attraction of the evening (we said it was a low-key evening), you may not be ready to break up the party just yet. So play some board games, watch a chick movie, do your nails. Ask everyone to bring favorite pictures of your get-togethers throughout the year and reminisce. Be sure to take some photos at this gathering, too. If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time to assign each girlfriend responsibility for organizing a monthly gathering in the coming year.

Party favors: You’ll all be leaving with a Pink Elephant gift (and you will take it with you), so no favors are really needed.

Have a great time! Please let us know if you host your own Pink Elephant. Or, use the comments form to submit some female-bonding ideas of your own.


  1. [...] All-new celebrations are coming soon! Meanwhile, you can throw these together in a flash: Pink Elephant Party: A hilarious way to get rid of some unwanted holiday gifts Simpl [...]

    Pingback by Girlfriend Celebrations - Women, Friendship, Fun Party Ideas — January 6, 2007 @ 1:40 am

  2. I hosted a “Pink Elephant Chocolate Exchange” for my girlfriend who is a breast cancer survivor. The event takes place in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Similar to the rules that govern the White Elephant Gift Exchange, for the Pink Chocolate Gift Exchange each woman brings a box of chocolate in pink gift-wrap. Upside? You’re going home with chocolate. Downside? Thankfully, there is no downside unless you are in need of a bean steamer or some such unwanted item. Unprompted, many girlfriends arrived dressed in pink. We had salads and a chocolate desesrt buffet. Our gathering started three years ago with 8 girlfriends and has grown to a gathering of 25+ girlfriends.

    Comment by Vicki Maday — September 17, 2008 @ 7:56 am

  3. Excellent idea Vicky–I love it! Chocolate is always a good thing in my book. LOL at the bean steamer :) We’ll add your idea to our upcoming article on Breast Cancer Awareness month. Thanks for your input!

    Comment by Dawn — September 17, 2008 @ 10:26 am

  4. [...] you don’t know what a white elephant exchange is, see our article here. Basically, it’s an opportunity for some silly fun, now made better with chocolate. Thanks [...]

    Pingback by Girlfriend Celebrations - Women, Friendship, Fun Party Ideas, Girls Night Ideas — October 6, 2008 @ 7:15 am

  5. [...] December Party: Holiday Hideaway and Pink Elephant Gift Exchange [...]

    Pingback by I wish you a Pink Christmas - GenPink — December 24, 2008 @ 1:25 am

  6. [...] like to say in girlfriend land, “pink elephant”) gift exchange apply. See our article here for the [...]

    Pingback by Real Girlfriends: A Chocolate-Flavored Girls Night to Remember | Girlfriend Celebrations — August 6, 2009 @ 8:24 am

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