So, you’re running a gift exchange for your next party. That’s a great idea! Gift exchanges are an incredible way to bring people together, to engage in some light mystery, and to make a great party even better.
And here’s the best part: they can be really really really easy.
Running a Secret Santa doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to jump through hoops or spend hours wrangling people. With the help of an online generator and these Secret Santa tips, you can have an effortlessly fun party.
Secret Santa Tips for Starting Your Exchange
The first step is deciding the details of your party. Figure out the when, the where, and the who. It might be a family party. It might be an office party. It might be an Earth Day party (Secret Santa works year-round). Whatever the occasion, a Secret Santa makes it more exciting.
From there, find a Secret Santa generator. The best ones are online, free, and have lots of great features.
Next, set up your group. If you’ve played before, you can use a saved group. If you’re new, create a new one. Your invitees will receive an email inviting them to a group. They just have to create an account that is 100% free. They’ll receive information about the game, including important dates.
Here’s where you want to make sure that everyone knows the parameters of the game. This includes:
- The rules of Secret Santa
- Any monetary limits on gifts
- Any exclusion lists (i.e. no partners, no supervisors/employee, no siblings, etc)
With the right generator, you can invite people right up until the day of drawing. Have someone who thought they couldn’t make it and then at the last second had their schedule open up? Discover a long-lost cousin? No problem. (Also, how cool!) Just add their name and email, and they’re in.
On the day of the drawing, everyone will receive their giftee, and the game begins! Everyone is paired up randomly and anonymously.
Secret Santa Tips for Playing
Now that all that preliminary stuff is over, we can get to gameplay. Of course, the game involves getting someone a gift and having them guess who got it. But with the right generator, there’s a huge world of possibilities.
Have all your players start a wish list. They’ll be able to shop from a huge array of online stores, including nearly every major retailer. It’s easy: all they have to do is find something and click on it, and there it goes right on their list.
Some cool wish list features include:
- Being able to continually add to your list after creating it.
- Uploading directly from photos on the iPhone app or Android app.
- Browsing gift guides that can be filtered to find exactly what you want.
Shopping for gifts online opens up the entire world of the game. Plus, you can anonymously ask questions to your giftee through the platform. This can be anything from, “What color shoes?” to “Remember that time we drove to the movies?” which will drive the giftee crazy trying to think of who would ask that.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few questions our elves get asked about the game—and their answers, of course.
- Can I add people after the drawing? Absolutely! The game is designed to accommodate latecomers.
- How hard is it to set restriction lists? It’s really easy (and way easier than doing it the old-fashioned way). All you have to do is check boxes next to a person’s name. The interface for this is very intuitive.
- How do I run the actual exchange? Just like normal. Everyone brings their gifts to the party and hands them out. Everyone opens their gift and guesses who gave it to them.
- Will this work for remote parties? Absolutely. You can send the gift directly to the person, and everyone can meet virtually on any online meeting platforms. Online platforms make it super easy for people around the world to play all at once.
- Ah, I messed up my restriction list! That’s not a question.
- Okay, what happens if I mess up my restriction list? No problem! You can undraw the exchange, edit the restrictions, and draw again.
The Best Secret Santa Tip: Have Fun
Hosting a Secret Santa shouldn’t be stressful. It shouldn’t be complicated. It shouldn’t be any more work than clicking a few buttons and typing a few names.
Making a wish list shouldn’t be complicated either. Shopping for your giftee shouldn’t add stress to your life. Heck, you shouldn’t even have to leave the house.
Why? Because this is supposed to be fun! It brings people together. It creates endless smiles. And if you use the right generator, you can make sure that everyone remembers this gift exchange.
If you want to have a great Secret Santa this year, use a Secret Santa generator that has universal access. Thanks to Elfster, it’s never been easier to pair people up, shop for gifts, and start a Wish List. And you can access it all from an iPhone app or Android app.