If you’ve never heard of white elephant, allow us to introduce you: the term originated in Thailand many years ago, when the King of Thailand allegedly gifted a courtier who had upset him a white elephant, as he believed the cost of upkeep would cause him financial ruin.
In short, the tradition didn’t exactly start with the lighthearted parties we know and love today. These days, white elephant is a gift exchange where participants are each assigned one person to gift a fun, low-cost item, generally under $100 and often under $25. But by now, you probably know that here at Casa de Suna, we’re all about elevated entertaining–and we don’t see any reason you can’t give your friends fabulous white elephant gifts. Read on for a few of our favorite picks, all under $100.
Basic Matcha Kit, Ippodo, $90
Matcha has been around in Japan and China for centuries, but it seems to have picked up major momentum in North America in recent years. Matcha provides a cleaner, calmer caffeine hit than coffee, and it’s packed with even more antioxidants. However, not all matcha is created equal–many are sweetened–and ippodo is a brand you can trust is providing the best of the best. Their kit comes with a ceremonial grade matcha powder, a whisk (essential for making the perfect matcha latte), a whisk stand (which helps dry out the whisk properly, which is crucial given that you can’t pop it into the dishwasher), a sifter and a bamboo tea ladle.
Kanju Interiors Betty Tray, $90
This artisan African tray was handwoven in Zimbabwe and is multi-functional; use it as a serving tray or to hold just about anything, from books to candles and beyond.
Costa Nova Decanter, $73
If your recipient is a fan of fine wines, you can hardly do better than the Costa Nova decanter. It’s one of those items everyone who drinks can use, but so few have–and it makes all the difference when it comes to the flavor of some of our favorite wines.
Caskata Quinn Tumblers, $70
Speaking of gorgeous drinkware, our Caskata Quinn Tumblers are another crowd-pleasing option. Whether your recipient uses them for margaritas, mocktails, or a glass of water, they bring a refined sense of fun to every table they adorn.
Maison Louis Marie No. 04 Candle, $36
With its luxurious, but not overpowering, woodsy scent, this is one of those candles you won’t believe clocks in at under $100. Our pro tip? Buy a few. Because once you smell this, you’ll want to burn one in your home everyday, forever.
W&P Water Bottle, $30
A CDS favorite (Anna doesn’t start her day without it), our W&P water bottle is the perfect gift. Sleek, sustainable, and functional, it’s an unexpected white elephant gift–but one that your recipient is guaranteed to obsess over.
LaNeige Lip Sleeping Mask, $24
You’ve probably seen this lip mask on just about every social media platform and magazine beauty roundup out there over the past couple of years–and for good reason–it’s the best of the best. They call it a sleeping mask, but it’s light enough that you can use it during the day, too.
Everything I Know About Love, $15.99
We love the idea of gifting one of your favorite books to your recipient, with a personalized note within. But if you don’t have a favorite book, Everything I Know About Love will do. It’s not only a fun read packed with delicious recipes in the style of Nora Ephron, but also a beautiful meditation on female friendship–perfect for gifting to a best friend.