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White Elephant Underwear Party

Written by Stephen Hunt

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Parties are a dime a dozen around the holidays. We all know the routine - dress slightly fancier than normal, go to your friend's home to make polite conversation, and stand around whilst trying to hide the fact that you’re unsuccessfully attempting to make a meal out of mini hors d'oeuvres. If you want your party to stand out, do something unique. Why not include underwear?! We recently sat down with Eric Ellis from Nashville to learn about his annual White Elephant Underwear Party. That’s right, he takes the classic White Elephant Party and gives it a titillating twist. 

Eric was first introduced to the vast world of men’s underwear by an ex who had a taste for adventurous undergarments. However, it wasn’t until 2013 when he was surrounded by the sexual freedom of San Francisco that he decided to combine his love of hosting parties with underwear. He thought it would be fun (and funny) to get a group of friends together so they could battle it out over different styles of underwear instead of traditional White Elephant Christmas gifts. He quickly realized that it was a unique way to get to know his friends more intimately, as guys no one would expect would inevitably fight for a leather thong with chains or a conservative pair of “granny panties” that they just had to have. 

Eric carried this holiday tradition with him to Nashville, where he currently resides. It is here where he noticed that these types of parties offered the LGBT community a release; as if it gave the traditionally conservative community the ability to shed some inhibitions and let loose. Throughout the years his parties have brought together neighbors that never would have met and created lasting friendship between those former strangers. Not only that, but three romantic relationships have developed from people meeting at his White Elephant Underwear Parties! If that’s not a sign of the magic of underwear, we don’t know what is.

white elephant party with gay men and underwear

For the party, Eric buys all the underwear and wraps everything in identical packaging so everyone (including himself) is completely surprised with what they get. If you throw this type of party and decide to buy the underwear yourself, it’s best to buy a variety of styles, colors, fabrics, and brands. That’s actually why Eric buys everything himself - to ensure that there is a fun and funny selection. It also makes it as easy as possible for his guests to just show up and have a good time; no one has to worry about buying a funny pair of underwear. And like we said in the beginning of the article, guests really get into it and “fight” for their favorites.

To briefly go over the rules of a White Elephant Party - all guests pull a number out of a hat, and that number dictates the order in which the guests pick presents out from under a Christmas tree. The first person opens a gift and then the person who picked the second number goes, so on and so forth. During their turn, each participant can either choose to pick a new gift that’s still under the tree or steal a gift that’s already been selected. After the last person goes, the first person who went is allowed the very last steal before the game concludes! All gifts are usually capped at either one or two steals for the game. To give it a fun and sexy twist, Eric’s guests wear the pair they pick over their pants during the game. When someone steals it, the person stands up and the “thief” slides their underwear off. It’s a funny way to keep everyone engaged and laughing, while also creating some great photo opportunities. Although Eric hosts his parties the weekend after Thanksgiving, this theme can easily be used for year round fun. 

In the future, Eric hopes to expand his White Elephant Underwear Parties into a fundraiser to give back to the community. If any charities are reading this - feel free to contact him! (@ellistopia on Instagram)

Here are some tips to host your own White Elephant Underwear Exchange Party for the Holidays:

how to plan a white elephant party infographic

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If you are planning your own White Elephant Underwear Exchange Party (or just want to stop), please feel free to check out our super soft and comfortable men's underwear