Happy hours, company picnics, and team birthday cake celebrations. What do these activities all have in common? They are all in-person team activities that we weren't able to have this year due to the pandemic. During one of our virtual lunches, the company holiday party topic arose, to which we all gave one long sad sigh. No more white elephant gift exchange. A Kintone tradition from our earliest days when we were a wee team of twelve. “What if we have a virtual white elephant, on Kintone?” was a team member suggestion. A glimmer of hope reflected on all the faces of our Kintonians. We are happy to share that the White Elephant application is now complete, and we’ll be showing you how you too can save your team's White Elephant tradition.

First things first, a huge round of applause and praise for Taro Onodera, a founding member of Kintone's US team and creator of the White Elephant app. He used Kintone's drag-and-drop interface to build the custom app featured below. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating and managing your own White Elephant app on Kintone just in time for the gift exchange. 

Step 1: Creating the app

Something to keep in mind is that we went with Amazon for selecting the gifts as it would be simpler for our HR team to order and ship gifts, but you can of course choose any other marketplace. Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with nor are we endorsing Amazon.

Below you can see what the form looks like on the back end of the app settings. So simple! There are only five fields for members to complete, marked with a red asterisk as they are required. The Amazon URL and hint are both text settings, the price is a number setting, and the record creator is a user selection setting. The confirmation is a checkbox setting. That is all the info needed from the person submitting the record to participate in the gift exchange.  

Kintone white elephant virtual app

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Step 2: Invite team members to input their gift 

When members complete the form they will enter the URL of the gift they would like to contribute to the gift exchange, the price, and a couple of hints about the item. Since the entire premise of white elephant is that the gift will be concealed, we were able to do this by making the gift URL and price private. Only the HR team could see all of the details. This is what it looks like for members who go to the app to fill out the form. In this public view you can see who has submitted and what their hints are. You’ll want to make sure to give good hints to make your gift more appealing. Think of this as the pretty gift wrap or the huge box that will draw people to choose it.  

      Kintone white elephant virtual app

Step 3: Party time!

Once everyone has submitted their record, the fun begins! Team members are given a number at random that determines the order for selecting gifts. Number one would go first, and so on. All the gifts are veiled, but once the first person chooses a gift, the admin team will change the status from “not picked” to “Pick 1”. This action will reveal what the gift is! If you choose the gift titled “Office chair comfort” now you’ll be able to see it’s a cushioned chair pillow. Other members might want to steal your pillow or they can pick from the other veiled gifts. If they were to choose to steal the pillow, the status would change to “Picked by 2”. This way we’re able to keep track of how many times gifts have been stolen, leading up to the third status. Once it's been stolen three times, no one else can steal it. The pillow is yours! Another great part about the app is you can filter and sort the gift records by which have already been stolen, and which are still yet to be unwrapped. 

Below you can see what the backend looks like for the admin team. They add the names of those who have stolen gifts so all members can see each gift's status in real time. This part took some pretty simple coding using the IF Function formula.

Kintone white elephant virtual app

Step 4: Send the gifts

Once all the white elephant gifts are chosen, the next step is for the HR team to send out the gifts. 

Kintone white elephant virtual app

While we did miss seeing each other in person, this app was a great alternative, and we were able to seamlessly continue the White Elephant tradition. We had thirty members join, and it took us a little over an hour to complete. The most popular gifts this year (all under $25) were a phone projector, a Camelback water bottle, and a coffee mug warmer. Spa and massage devices were also very popular this year! 

That’s a wrap for our White Elephant 2020. Happy holidays from all of us at Kintone! 

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