The Best Present for a Gift Exchange:
A Mystery Box of... Something

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A White Elephant gift exchange is my favorite kind of holiday party. Every guest shows up with a gift in a decided price range (usually $10 or $20), and then guests take turns choosing from the wrapped gifts, not knowing what's inside each one. Of course, you usually know what's inside the gift you brought... unless you buy a box of something from one of these mystery shops.

Recently, in an effort to amp up the fun for this year's gift exchange, a friend pointed her party guests to the Something Store. It's an online retailer that sells... well, I don't know what it sells, exactly. And that's kind of the point. After placing an order for Something, the Something Store will ship you a randomly picked gift item.

The cost of having Something shipped to your door is a flat $10 (right in the price range sweet spot), and the gift inside is guaranteed to be worth at least that much. It arrives in an opaque bag or box, so it can be wrapped and brought to the party without you or anybody else knowing exactly what it is. While a lot of the fun is in not knowing what's inside, Something Store does make a few guarantees: the gift won't be pornographic, alcoholic, illegal or offensive.

After a bit of searching, I found there's more than one place to buy a mystery gift. If your holiday gift exchange has a higher price limit, check out one of these websites for surprise presents:

  • Mystery Boxes: For the tech lover. Choose from three levels of gifting— Bronze, Silver and Golden at $20, $30 or $75—and get a box of gadgets worth that much or more.
  • Firebox: Get a themed mystery box filled with gifts tailored to a specific interest. The Fun & Games Box, Spicy Box or Unusual Box are $41, while the Gadget Box, Home & Lifestyle Box, Booze Box, Food Porn Box and Sex & Swearing Box (for him or her) each cost $57.39. They're a great idea for Secret Santa exchanges, when the giftee's identity is known well in advance.
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(Image credits: windu/Shutterstock; Firebox)