Go to Amazon, get the biggest usb stick you can get for $20. Everyone needs them.
Maybe not the coolest but it still works. Pistachios is well liked by most folks, easy to share among family and friends, and can be attained readily from the local supermarket.
Ah, these futuristic looking drinkware not only looks cool but they function very well also. The double-wall technology allows you to hold onto hot coffee without any issues. Great thing is that these aren't quite mainstream yet so they still a bit of a novelty. Just remember to explain to the crowd what these are as some might just think they're plain glasses.
There's an assortment of sizes from 2oz to 16oz available for your choosing.
Nowadays, everyone has a water bottle of some sort either at the office, gym, or at home. However, what everyone don't have but want, is a cool one since when it comes down to the purchase, most regular folks just opt for the cheapest one they can find.
What better way for these folks to upgrade their current year-old or longer water container than to grab one at the annual white elephant party. The key here is you need to find the latest, coolest water bottle on the market. Currently, one of the best ones is the Klean Kanteen insulated water bottle and next year it could be another. Just remember to spend a few more bucks to get the latest cool bottle and sit back as you watch it get stolen over and over again.
Get $20 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets.
I'm not quite fond of this gift as the thought of giving away a potentially big "winning" lottery ticket to someone churns my stomach... but hey, that's the whole point of giving lotto tickets. In every single white elephant party I've been to lotto tickets always stir up the pot and conversations.
Not everyone drinks but chances are good that at least 30% of the participants do.
Getting something that's consumable sure beats getting a gag gift.
Note to givers: please do not get four or five 2 buck chuck wines or any mix of the sort as that makes the gift heavy as hell and cheapens the looks of the gift. Get one nice bottle, preferably with a good case, it'll make a ton of difference.
Most folks think of gift certificates as cop-outs but the fact is, if you're out of ideas or time, gift certificates are your best bet. Ideally, you want gift certificates that most people want and can use, like $20.00 at Starbucks, Amazon, iTunes, etc.
Gift certificates for movie theaters (2 tix) work well too.