Today, every life experience possible seems to be moving online; and the traditional white elephant gift exchange is no exception. The online mimic of this classic party game is changing how family and friends connect during their various life events. No longer are groups constrained by distance from hosting a Yankee Swap or Dirty Santa gift exchange, because online replacements have no boundaries. In fact, online versions
of the white elephant party have added several features that are not even possible with the traditional "at-home" style gift exchange.
Internet tools allow gift swap party goers to purchase their gifts online, then virtually wrap them in all sorts of silly wrappers that add to the fun of the party. Then, maintaining the virtual theme, these gifts are sent to an interactive playing page, just like you would do when placing all the gifts in the center of the room. From this playing page, the event unfolds in real time on every players computer screen. There is gift opening, displaying and stealing; just like before. The difference is that you never need to travel to a store or dress up for a party, and you can be as active as you want.
Online systems include a comment stream where players banter, joke and share thoughts with all of the others invited to the party. Unlike traditional white elephant parties, online enhancements allow you to change the look of your avatar, add videos to make a point and insert pictures into the comment stream that will better tell your story.
These online white elephant mimics
become social explosions that will last several days and even weeks, within larger groups. The extended time frame and ongoing activities turn the party into an engaging experience that allows every attendee to connect on a higher level than ever before.
Another opportunity that online white elephant parties afford is the out-linking to various social networks. Online party goers can share their experiences during the game with their friends on Facebook, Twitter and other web networks.
When the online party is over there is no mess to clean up and no need to get a designated driver. These systems will sort out who got what gift, which was the best shopper and recognizes who was the "life of the party".
In the end, all participants will have had a unique experience with family and friends, and will receive their gifts delivered to their doors.
The online world is changing everything, even your white elephant gift exchange!