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Best white elephant gift exchange presents that everyone will love

These A-game gifts are sure to make you the top gift giver at the next secret exchange party.

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

Secret Santa and white elephant gatherings can be stressful and, to be honest, unsatisfying if you don't get a well-thought-out gift. And because people have diverse tastes, there's extra pressure to get the gift giving right, especially if you're buying for a co-worker you hardly know. 

Fortunately, we're going to reduce your anxiety by giving you several cool gift options to choose from, increasing the chances that your recipient will be pleased with what they receive. Our recommendations are all under $40 and can be given as gifts or kept for yourself. Check out our other gift ideas for holiday inspiration if your budget is even tighter.


Coloring books are still fun for adults. And coloring is definitely a form of art therapy. This coloring book has intricate art depicting nature at its finest. Someone in need of a little stress relief or someone who simply loves coloring will have a blast with this gift.


Comfort matters, especially for our feet. Bombas socks fit well, wash well and they're soft. When you give these as a gift, your white elephant recipient will never want to wear another brand of sock ever again.


A good desk lamp can enhance any desk, and having one that can charge a smartphone is even better. This LED desk lamp has a wireless charging pad and different-color light modes to match the intensity needed for work.


Sometimes, it's hard to figure out what you should get someone, this why an Amazon gift card is perfect -- you don't need to. Just load the card up and give it away.


If there's someone you know with a huge sweet tooth, then grabbing high-quality chocolate as a gift will certainly win them over. This Godiva holiday truffle tin has 50 pieces of milk chocolate, dark chocolate and caramel ready to be devoured.


This aromatherapy diffuser has a ton of rotating colors to give you a change of scenery in what would be a potentially drab room. What I love the most are the misting modes. The intermittent mist, my preferred choice, sprays out scent and pauses every 30 seconds to keep a continuous aromatic mist going until the water runs out.


The porcelain mug and infuser from Sweese is a thoughtful choice, especially for the chilly season. I have this tea mug (and my colleague swears by Sweese bowls), and the extra-fine infuser is terrific. I've gone through so many infusers that let my loose-leaf tea seep through that I nearly gave up. For $19, this mug's infuser brews tea easily.


One of our favorite smart plugs, the Kasa Smart WiFi Plug Mini, can turn any lamp into a smart light. The plug works with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and the Kasa app for Android and iOS lets you turn electronics on or off no matter where you are.


There's always someone who loves plants or looking to get into them. This $20 book is great at explaining the ins and outs of plant caretaking, especially for newbies. With care instructions for over 100 houseplants for every climate -- from tropical plants to succulents -- it contains practical advice for growing and sustaining plant life.

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