As a lifelong Chicagoan, I have a lot of baseball hats that I’ve been wearing for a long time, showing off my love for the White Sox. I have hats I’ve been playing softball in for years. Running hats. Hats for just lounging on the deck and grilling in the heat of a sweltering August.
You know what I don’t have a hat for? Reaching your hand in to pick names for a gift exchange. I mean, granted, any of my hats could be used to do that. But if you’ve worn hats as much as I have, you would know that none of them should be. That would set the exchange off on a pretty gross start. And that’s just one of the problems with old-fashioned, physical name drawing. You don’t want that.
Instead, you want your gift exchange to start without a flaw, setting yourself up for easy fun down the road. And for that, you want to use a “pick names out of a hat” app—something that is easy, intuitive, inclusive, and free. You want an app that lets you pick names out of a virtual hat without having to touch anyone’s actual hat. That’s a gift that keeps on giving.
The Benefits of a Pick Names Out of a Hat App
I’m a traditionalist (as my old hats can attest), so when I first heard about apps to draw names I kind of blanched a bit. I mean, why did we have to use technology to make this work?
But then my wife pointed out a few things. She reminded me of name-drawings when someone would forget to put their name in. Or when someone would forget to draw. Or when someone’s name got caught in the brim or folded into someone’s else’s sheet. Or, worst of all, when someone who was going to be part of the exchange wasn’t at the drawing. That meant someone had to draw for them.
None of these are exactly fatal, of course, but they also do put a damper on the party. After all, if someone is drawing for another person, that’s no longer anonymous. The host, or the designated drawer, knows at least two people who aren’t their Secret Santa. It becomes less fun.
So that’s where a pick names out of a hat app comes in. It combines all the appeal of the traditional way while making sure that there are no hiccups in your party planning.
So what are some of the benefits?
Easy to set up
One of the biggest problems with traditional name drawing is that you have to have everyone present and accounted for before the exchange. Not with this. With an app, you set up a group, enter people’s emails and numbers, and they are all entered. No one has to physically be there.
Easy to set restriction lists
Restrictions are one of the banes of traditional drawing. Partners can’t draw each other; parents can’t draw children; supervisors can’t draw direct reports, etc. Except…they can, physically. They just have to put the name back. That’s no fun. A pick names out of a hat app lets you quickly and easily set restriction lists, and it honors them without a second thought. No “oops, got the wife!”, which tips people off on whose name is left.
Allows you to drawn names completely randomly
The app does it all for you. Once you have everyone entered, it draws names randomly while taking restrictions into account. Everything is above-board and super simple.
Emails/texts everyone their names and lists
Remember when I said that, as the host, you don’t have to do anything? Well, you don’t have to do anything once you’ve set up the exchange. Everyone is alerted as to who their giftee is, and they get a copy of their wish list. It’s truly a no-fuss no-muss solution.
It lets the host have just as much fun
One of the worst parts of hosting is having to write down who has who, so that if someone loses their piece of paper (like an uncle of mine always did) they could get back in the game. You want to make sure everyone gets a gift…but that means you can’t really play. You know all the answers; the fun is gone. Not with this. Everyone is anonymous, and all the work is done. You are another player, on a level playing field.
It is inclusive of distancing
Look, we all know that we can’t always be together. That’s not fun, but that’s the way it is. Pandemic or not, we want to play Secret Santa with the people we love, and that can be remote work teams or relatives across the country and around the world. The app makes it possible and easy for everyone to join.
It’s the whole package
A comprehensive Secret Santa generator lets people create and share wish lists, choose from many different online retailers through one app, and shop directly for items. There’s no need to scribble what you want on a shred of paper that’s going in a dirty hat. You can shop around, create a wish list, and know that your Secret Santa is going to receive it.
Less Stress. No Problems. More Gift Exchange Fun.
Gift exchanges should always be fun, light-hearted, easy, and inclusive. You don’t want to have to worry about random scraps of paper dictating everyone’s merriment. You want a pick names out of a hat app that does all the work for you.
After all, the point isn’t to have to work too hard. The point is togetherness. It’s a celebration. We don’t need to depend on someone’s weird hat. We can use an app that lets us all play together, with no stress, no matter where we are.
Want to keep the fun going after you use the pick names out of a hat app? Use the Secret Santa generator that makes everything easy for everyone, whether in-person or remote. Thanks to Elfster, you can easily shop for gifts and start a Wish List. Plus, you can access it all from an iPhone app or Android app.