From the Pages of History

Stories, Pictures, Quotes & Trivia (and more) that tell the story of the world.

White Elephant


“White Elephant” is a game that’s played a lot around Christmastime. Everyone brings a not-really-wanted gift to add to the pool. Participants go in order, getting to either pick any gift fom the mix, or “steal” a gift from someone who’s already picked one. The end goal is that every one, having exchanged gifts, ends up with something they wanted.

The game is based on an old practice from history. In Thailand, if the king was displeased with someone, he would give that person a white elephant. The rare “gift” bestowed great honor on the recipient but burdened him with a huge animal that was tremendously expensive to care for and feed, impossible to get rid of for fear of insulting the king, and ultimately ruined the person.

Needless to say, today’s game has much better results than that old practice!

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