I remember the joy of making a Christmas wish list when I was a kid. I’d think about what books I wanted, what toys I needed (needed!), which video game commercials had spoken directly to my soul. I’d give the list to my parents, who, as far as I knew, personally delivered it to Santa.
But after it was signed, sealed, and transported northward, there was always that gut-clenching moment when I realized I forgot something. Or I saw a new toy commercial and realized there was a new Star Wars figure that, if I didn’t have, would most likely result in a lifetime of regret.
But there was nothing I could do. The list had been sent. Santa wouldn’t hear any supplications.
These Christmas wish list limitations were universal for all ages. If you were playing Secret Santa, you better think of exactly what you wanted when filling out your scrap of paper. While you might not have experienced the existential panic that an incomplete list would create in a kid, it was still a static list.
Not anymore, though. Now there are many ways to make a wish list. Let’s take a look at the five best Christmas wish list makers so you can decide which one is right for you.
The Five Best Christmas Wish List Makers
Some wish list generators are better than others for different situations, but all have their benefits. Here are our top five picks:
5. Pen and Paper List
We’re not opposed to doing things the old-fashioned way. There’s something to be said about pulling out a sheet of paper, as clean and promise-filled as fresh snow, and pouring out your heart on it. Or maybe scribbling on a napkin during Thanksgiving. We don’t judge.
This can be very Christmas-y and, in many ways, is only limited by your imagination. You can pull in candles and pet care items, vinyl records and cool toys. You can choose from multiple locations—if you remember them. And obviously, it’s impossible to include links. Whoever gets your list has to find the item on their own.
If multiple people need your list, you have to make several copies and you can’t change it after the fact. Plus, it’s really easy to lose! There’s something magical about pen and paper, but it has some frustrating limitations.
4. Single-Store Wish List
Just about every store has a wish list generator where you can select the items you want. This is really helpful for shopping and just sort of helpful for making a Christmas wish list.
If you’re having an exchange where everyone gets something from one store, like with an outdoors theme or something, this can work. But the problem is you’re either limited to choosing items from one store or you have to send people all your different single-store lists for them to hunt through.
These wish lists are usually free and easy to share on a limited basis, but few stores have apps that allow other people to access your list. They aren’t really built for exchanges. Single-store lists are a great way to figure out what you want when you compile your more comprehensive list elsewhere.
3. Downloadable Wish List Template
A lot of downloadable templates have themes and even games, making them very Christmas-y. Just a quick search online shows you a million different free templates.
This makes it easy to make sure everyone in your gift exchange is working off the same template. But these are downloadable; they aren’t shared documents that people can access, either on a site or through an app. You can, of course, email it out, but that’s about the extent of its shareability (other than handing it to someone).
And, of course, you can’t link from it, and no one can buy directly from it. So you have to be very specific. You can’t just put “good music.” Who knows what you’d end up with?
2. List Creation Sites
There are many list creation sites, mostly free ones that pull from multiple different retailers. They let you put down anything from a single item to “help me pay for college.” Think GoFundMe or Patreon, but for gifts.
They’re easy to share. If someone asks what you want for Christmas, you can just send them a link. That way, you get the backpack you want or can pay off your entire student loan debt (note: this is only true if you’re friends with Daddy Warbucks).
But they aren’t particularly Christmas-y. These are for year-round wants, and while they’re easy to share, they aren’t built for gift exchanges. It would just be swapping links of lists.
1. Elfster Secret Santa Generator
When you use an online generator like Elfster to make your Secret Santa wish list, you can shop from a huge amount of stores, putting direct links to online buying options. This way, it’s easy to share lists. Everyone involved has the list of their giftee right on the site or in their app. And you can easily change your list, making additions or edits. Not only that, but there are gift-giving guides for all ages and interests, hand-picked by our elves, to make it easier to figure out exactly what you want.
Your partner can just click on your list to buy an item. They don’t have to search through multiple stores and multiple sites. Or, you can keep your wish vague—say, “coffee cup”—and let your partner select the specific item.
By making it simple to create and share lists, Secret Santa generators help you form a community of friends, coworkers, and loved ones from around the world. Anyone can join. Everyone can play. And what’s more in the Christmas spirit than that?
Finding the Right Christmas Wish List Maker for You
Having trouble keeping track of all the pros and cons? Hopefully this handy chart will help.
|Pen and Paper||Single-Store Wish List||Downloadable Wish List Template||List Creation Sites||ELFSTER|
|Has an app||X||X||X||✔||✔|
|Can draw from multiple sites||✔||X||X||✔||✔|
|Can purchase directly from list||X||✔||X||✔||✔|
|Easy to share||X||✔||X||X||✔|
There’s no bad way to make a wish list. Maybe you think nostalgia and ease of use are both important. Maybe you like having lots of options for sharing and buying. Maybe you want to use an app.
Regardless of what you want, one option checks all the boxes: Elfster. We want your Christmas wish list to be just as fun as when you were a kid—but without the pressure of having to get it right the first time. This way, you can have all the fun and all the possibilities you deserve.
The Elfster wish list generator is as fun as childhood and as smart as adulthood. Our online Secret Santa generator makes it easy to start a Wish List. Don’t forget that you can now play your reindeer games on an iPhone app or Android app, too.