Our thanks to Meena Malik, who is not only an author for MuslimMatters, but an Elfster expert when it comes to the celebration of Eid. She shares her tips on how to create a fun secret gift exchange for Eid to spread joy and generosity to family and friends.
Tips on Making Your Secret Gift Exchange for Eid Easy, Fun, and… Did I Mention Easy?
With the nature of Eid coming after intense periods of worship in Ramadan and Dhul Hijjah (on top of daily life struggles), who has the time to monkey around with extra nonsense like a secret gift exchange for Eid? Following these tips will help YOU pull off a great gift exchange with minimal time, effort, stress, and hiccups! (These tips will be particularly useful for people conducting a long-distance gift exchange.)
How To Create a Secret Eid Gift Exchange with Elfster
- Have one person create the exchange on Elfster. It only takes 5 minutes to set it up. Then send out the sign up link. For the rest of the participants, signing up takes less than 5 minutes if you’re a first-time user. Joining an exchange takes less than 2 minutes if you already have an Elfster account.
- You can even take turns every time you do a gift exchange. This way, nobody has to sit out the game because the website takes care of matching people in the group.
- The site draws names, notifies everyone of who they received, provides your match’s address, etc. It basically takes out all of the headache stuff that would discourage someone from wanting to organize one of these exchanges.
Elfster Pro Tip #1: Set an administrator to get in behind the scenes in case any issues arise.
Elfster Pro Tip #2: Use anonymous messages to contact your match. You can inquire about clothing sizes, color preferences, delivery options/issues, etc.
Elfster Pro Tip #3: Restrict who can get matched up with who, if you’d like. Make it so that spouses or siblings in the same household can’t get each other or break a long-time pairing streak.
Set a budget range that’s friendly for the people of less financial means in mind.
- Think of the spread of your participants and make the exchange accessible to those who have the least means. Gifts don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful. You don’t want to set a $80 budget if someone in the group is struggling to make ends meet.
- My recommendation is to choose a budget range so that each person isn’t busting their brains to try to get a gift as close to $15.00 as possible, for example. Determine whether or not you’d like to include shipping costs inside this budget. If someone is making a gift, estimate how much you’d buy what is made if you got it from the store. This is probably a bit harder than just buying something that has a price tag associated with it. Give a $3-7 range around a price point everyone seems comfortable with.
- Some good budget range recommendations I have are the following: $14-17, $15-18, $18-22, $20-24, $25-29. For a higher budget: $28-33, $38-42, $48-53. Our budget for the last exchange we did was $12-17. Most participants bought gifts at the $14-17 range (which I think is better.)
Set a strict deadline for receiving the gifts before Eid.
- Keep in mind your gift exchange party date/time. Make sure everyone knows that they need to have the gift delivered on or by a certain date. Don’t have a “send by” date, that doesn’t really make any sense, and don’t have a deadline that spreads across a couple of days because it’s too confusing.
- My personal recommendation for the deadline is to have the deadline at least one or two days before the earliest day anyone in your group might be celebrating Eid. This way, everyone can take care of their gift before the Eid madness sets in. This will make Eid more enjoyable because no one is stressed out about their gift being delivered on time, and it gives a little bit of a buffer if there are any complications with delivery or fulfilling an order/shipment.
Plan a Virtual Secret Gift Exchange for Eid.
- Set it before Eid prayer. Eid day is just too busy and people have a lot of things going on. Now take into consideration the fact that people may celebrate Eid a day earlier or later than others…exactly. If you set your virtual exchange party for the night before the earliest Eid’s prayer, you’re nearly guaranteed to be able to catch everyone because no one will have an Eid dinner invitation for that night.
- Additionally, it will feed into the excitement for Eid which will be on the next day or two. If you can’t manage to do the party before or on Eid, you may have to wait a few days–which can be terrible if you can’t resist opening a gift.
Or Set Up an Alternative gift exchange for Eid.
You can have everyone send a video recording of themselves opening their gift on whatever day the gift deadline is or whatever day you want to have your “party.” This way, everyone can participate despite schedule conflicts.
- If there are a handful of individuals who can’t make the actual party, you can also have them send videos beforehand instead of joining into the party on the video call. This might also be helpful if you’re doing an exchange party with most guests attending in-person.
- If you can have the one or two people who can’t make it video-call in or send video recordings beforehand then they’ll participate in some way. (If it’s before, then that person would need their gift before the party.)
Anonymous gift-sending and guessing who the gift-giver is.
- Make sure that the person giving the gift does not reveal their identity in any way. Put gifts in a dark room before the party and make sure that their name is not on the package.
- We like to have the person guess who they think gave them the gift after they’ve opened it. Our rule is that if the person guessed correctly, then the gift-giver should confirm it was them that gave the gift. This is one of the most fun parts of the exchange party in my opinion.
Have a code word in your package if shipping gifts to signify that it’s a gift from the Eid gift exchange.
- Let’s face it – online shopping is convenient and becoming increasingly moreso. It’s more likely than not that you will order something online for yourself during the gift exchange. In order to prevent confusion, include a code word in the name of the person you’re sending to.
- We chose to write “Bakra” as the middle name. That made it look like “Muhammad Bakra Ahmad” on whatever package was intended to be their gift for the Eid gift exchange. This way the person doesn’t accidentally open their gift beforehand (which is totally cheating)!
I hope all of these tips were useful! If you end up doing this Eid gift exchange in your family, let us know what the best gifts were this time around!
Find the Best Eid al-Fitr Gifts on Elfster
Explore Elfster’s Eid Gift Guide to find the perfect Eid present. These gifts are a perfect addition to your own Elfster wishlist. It’s an easy and polite way to let everyone know what you really want!