An unknown auction (you can call it whatever you want) is where people bid on items which are in unmarked boxes (use gift wrap if you want to encourage higher bids). In other words, no one knows what exactly they are bidding on. What makes the auction fun, is that some of the items may be worthy of the bids, but others may not be (your typical tacky white elephant gift). You can easily theme the auction around holidays by making the auction items tie-in with the holiday.
Solicit area businesses including restaurants, hotels, attractions, boutiques, etc. for gift donations such as a $50 dining card, a free one night hotel stay, movie tickets, a day at the spa, signed sports items from local athletes, etc. Try and get as many value gifts as you can. For your white elephant gifts, you can just head over to your local dollar store.
You can either set up your fundraiser as a silent auction where you place bid sheets in front of the bid items which are displayed on tables or you can simply have an auctioneer gather bids in a live auction format. Keep in mind that the point of this auction is for everyone to have fun and to give to a good cause. You can request a small donation for admission to cover your costs (facility rental, drinks, food, etc.), so that any money you make from the bids goes directly to support your group, club or organization.
You’ll want to start promoting your unknown auction fundraiser at least 2-months in advance. Be sure to promote heavily on all your social media channels. Also, create posters and flyers that you can place throughout the community.