How to Create a Wish List Online—the Easy Way

How to Create a Wish List Online—the Easy Way

My wife is a great list-maker. I am not. So sometimes, if she’s going to the grocery store, she asks me to write down what I need that week. I haphazardly think of the stuff I might want. Am I making soup? That probably requires vegetables. But without a system, I forget some items. Then I have to text her 30 times as I remember other things.  Making a list isn’t about just kind of jotting things down; it’s about…

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5 Out-of-this-World Star Wars Secret Santa Ideas

5 Out-of-this-World Star Wars Secret Santa Ideas

I don’t want to date myself, but I was excited to see Return of the Jedi in the theaters. I was young enough to be terrified of the Sarlacc and pretty freaked out by the Emperor, but at that point, it didn’t matter. I was a hooked Star Wars fan and have been ever since (so, like 15 years… right?).  I get pretty excited every May the 4th, and I bet you do, too. It’s the best day to have…

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Useful Wish List Ideas for Guys

Useful Wish List Ideas for Guys

Have you ever started this conversation with the guy in your life? “What do you want for your birthday?” Of course you have. The answer—for this or any special occasion—is almost inevitably, “I don’t know. Nothing? Yeah, whatever is good. Shoes? I think I need shoes.”  It’s… well, maddening for one thing. But for another thing, it’s never accurate. Guys, like everyone else, always want something. It’s just that they: Don’t want to admit they want something. Don’t want to…

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What are the Benefits of a Random Name Drawing App?

What are the Benefits of a Random Name Drawing App?

A few years ago, we were doing an office Secret Santa and were pulling names out of a hat. When my friend Hedda reached in to pull the last name, she fished through it before announcing that there weren’t any names left. We couldn’t find it and had to start over.  A few days later, the owner of the hat said it had been caught in a flap. He found it when it finally fell out.  I’m not trying to…

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A Guide to Secret Santas for Teens

A Guide to Secret Santas for Teens

Are you planning a party? They can get boring if you don’t have a theme or any games. Have you ever had a Secret Santa gift swap? They’re a lot of fun and a great way to get people into a party mood. Holding a Secret Santa for teens is easy to plan, doesn’t have to mean buying expensive gifts, and can be organized right from your phone. Whether you’re the one planning the party for your friends or if…

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5 Best Earth Day Gift Ideas for Work Parties

5 Best Earth Day Gift Ideas for Work Parties

I volunteer for the Party Planning Crew at my job. A few years ago, we were trying to plan an Earth Day party, and things started to get out of hand. We were going to have green eggs and ham, then tree-themed decorations, then balloons… and that’s when we realized we were forgetting the real meaning of the holiday.  Earth Day is a celebration of the planet and a renewal of our commitment to try to reduce our impact and…

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The Best Way to Make a Mother’s Day Wish List

The Best Way to Make a Mother’s Day Wish List

When I was a kid, I gave my mom a unicorn wallet for Mother’s Day. She asked me, “Is this a gift for me or for you?” Looking back, the number of unicorns in my collection was in the triple digits, while mom had exactly zero.  Fortunately, I’ve come a long way since then. Still, it can be tricky to figure out what to get for a mom who seems to have everything. The best way to ensure you pick…

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Is There a Wish List Maker Online for Free?

Is There a Wish List Maker Online for Free?

You know that feeling when you send an email and are gripped with the desire to take it back? I don’t mean when you accidentally hit “reply all” or when you realize you’ve attached the wrong file. I mean, when you have more to say, so you have to send another email. At that point, life becomes a series of revisions and additions.  It’s sort of like that with traditional wish lists. No matter what you’re making a wish list…

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5 Easter Party Games that will Make Everyone Hoppy

5 Easter Party Games that will Make Everyone Hoppy

When I was a kid, we used to play in the cornfields behind my aunt’s house every Easter. Then, when I was 10, the cornfields were turned into a subdivision, complete with a big park. This was extremely exciting. There were places to run around! There were swings.  But things were, well, changing. The formerly distant outpost on the outskirts of Chicago was becoming more of a suburb. It was time to update some of our Easter traditions.  Everyone has…

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How to use a Draw Names from a Hat App for Your Next Gift Exchange

How to use a Draw Names from a Hat App for Your Next Gift Exchange

Trading gifts with friends, family, and coworkers is so much fun that it’s hard to imagine how it could get any better. But surprisingly, it can!  You can make your next gift exchange party more fun by using a draw names from a hat app. Sure, there’s an app for everything these days. But a gift exchange app really does solve a lot of problems and can make your next party go a lot smoother.  How Does a Draw Names…

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The Top 5 Secret Santa Variations

The Top 5 Secret Santa Variations

I talk about the holidays a lot. It’s a magical time of year, as we all know. It’s not about the gifts (really!) and it’s not even about the parties per se. The holidays are about people bringing light and happiness to the darkest days and longest nights of the year.  And then? December turns in January, which slogs on into February, and the joy of the season slips behind you. But it doesn’t have to. You can bring that…

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How to Make a Wish List for a Baby Shower Online

How to Make a Wish List for a Baby Shower Online

Recently, my friend, Krista, asked me to throw a baby shower. When I told this to my husband, he smiled delightedly. See, I’ve been to a bunch of them, but I’ve also been to a lot of plays and I can’t act to save my life. So, throwing a baby shower made me kind of nervous. But it was something I wanted to do.  Of course, I wanted to get it right. I wanted to be able to contact her…

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Leap Day Secret Santa Theme: Make Kindness Count

Leap Day Secret Santa Theme: Make Kindness Count

Sigh… the excitement of the holidays is now a distant vision like Santa’s sleigh flashing across the starry sky. I’m sure we can all agree that winter may have lost its luster. These days, dashing through the snow may feel more like slogging through the slush. As the fresh vibes of the new year drift into February we feel the love. Lucky for us, we have something special coming our way. An extra day to bring back the sparkle! The…

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The 7 Best Eid Gift Ideas for Friends

The 7 Best Eid Gift Ideas for Friends

Ramadan can perhaps be understood as a gift you give to yourself. Through your faith, you are given the gift of quietude, of contemplation, or thoughtfulness. You give yourself the gift of thinking about others through charity. You have the gift of peace.  Eid, of course, is at the end of Ramadan, it in and of itself is a gift: the dawn at the end of the night; the new day for a newly-refreshed you. But, in addition to the…

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Can I Draw Names Out of a Hat Online for Secret Santa?

Can I Draw Names Out of a Hat Online for Secret Santa?

One Thanksgiving, when I was just a kid—so a very, very long time ago—we were drawing names out of a hat for our Christmas gift exchange. My uncle, with great fanfare, reached in… and immediately drew his own name. He laughed, made a corny uncle joke, and picked again. It was his wife. He made another joke, but you could see his eyebrow start twitching. He reached in again…  He picked one of his kids. Three draws, three people he…

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5 Fun Games to Play on Eid

5 Fun Games to Play on Eid

Chances are, when you think about Eid, you think about sweets. After all, after a month of fasting for Ramadan, the candies and breads and sticky gooey things of Eid are extremely satisfying. Across the Muslim world, there are hundreds of traditional sweet goods that remind you of breaking the fast.  That’s not all there is to Eid, of course. Eid is about getting together with family and friends to celebrate each other and your faith. Ramadan is a time…

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How to Make an Easter Wish List the Easy Way

How to Make an Easter Wish List the Easy Way

I have a confession about Spring: I don’t actually know what a crocus is. I know that people start to feel the warmth of Spring when the crocuses bloom from the ground, but I couldn’t identify one. It’s probably green? At least maybe the stem?  What I do know is that Spring, to me, is defined by Easter. Whether it’s a late or early Easter, it always carries with it an air of warmth, of sunshine peeking through the clouds,…

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Top Secret Santa Ideas for College Students

Top Secret Santa Ideas for College Students

When I went to college—and yes, I can remember that far back, albeit dimly—it was both exciting and terrifying. I was exhilarated: I was going to get to meet new people! I was terrified: I was going to meet new people.  A lot has changed for college students since then, but that particular experience is universal. We always want to meet new people, but it can be scary and awkward. Whether it’s the first day in the dorms, the first…

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Secret Santa for Eid: Tips for Celebrating with a Gift Exchange

Secret Santa for Eid: Tips for Celebrating with a Gift Exchange

There are few religious observations in the world with the solemnity and consecrating power of Ramadan, with its month of fasting, observance, and dedication. Consequently, there are few celebrations with as much joy and happiness as Eid al-Fitr, held at the end of Ramadan. It’s a time of cheer, joy, and gratitude.  And while that’s the basic outline—fasting during Ramadan, celebrating at Eid—there is no one way to recognize Eid. How could there be? Islam is a global religion that…

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How to Host an Eggcellent Easter Gift Exchange

How to Host an Eggcellent Easter Gift Exchange

When I was a kid, I had some questions about the Easter Bunny. Now, Santa—I got that guy. Big dude, cool sleigh, lots of presents. But why was the Easter Bunny hiding eggs? Why did he want us to color the eggs first? And why was he on his hind legs?  That said, there was candy, so I didn’t question it too much. You want to hide eggs? Knock yourself out, Bugs. I’ll be eating some jelly beans.  But that’s…

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15 Secret Santa Options to Add Variety to the Game

15 Secret Santa Options to Add Variety to the Game

If there’s one thing I love, it’s variety. If there’s another thing I love, it’s giving and receiving gifts. Oh, and I also love my friends and family and music and parties. Turns out I love a lot of things, and celebrating them all requires that first thing: variety.  That’s why I love to do gift exchanges for different occasions. They don’t have to just be during the holidays and they don’t have to all be the same. There are…

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Host the Perfect Galentine’s Day Gift Exchange to Celebrate Sisterhood

Host the Perfect Galentine’s Day Gift Exchange to Celebrate Sisterhood

My wife and I were discussing whether she and her friends were going to do something this year for Galentine’s Day on February 13th, and we started talking about what they’d done in the past. Of course, we could only go back so far. After all, the holiday was invented by a TV show in 2010.  But it doesn’t seem that way, does it? When Leslie Knope first told us about “Galentine’s Day” in Parks and Recreation, it was so…

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How to Figure out What to Buy for a Gift Exchange

How to Figure out What to Buy for a Gift Exchange

I love giving people presents. When you pick the right present, it isn’t about buying. It isn’t about the person getting a “thing.” It’s about them being seen. Picking the right gift is a signal that you truly care about a person.  But when you’re in a Secret Santa, knowing what to buy for a gift exchange can be tricky. You may be extremely close to them, or you may not really know them at all. They could be coworkers,…

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How to Host Secret Santa on a Budget

How to Host Secret Santa on a Budget

I’m friends with a lot of artists and musicians. This isn’t due to any musical or artistic talent on my behalf—I can’t carry a tune to save my life and my drawings look like someone put a paintbrush in the mouth of a particularly hyper dog. Still, many of my friends are in the creative community.  So, when we have a Secret Santa party, we try to be cognizant that different people have different budgets. Some people have artist’s budgets;…

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