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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

5 Spring Party Games to Embrace the Season

5 Spring Party Games to Embrace the Season

I live in a city famous for its cold winters. So when there’s a warm day, we fling our windows open and garland our hair with flowers. That’s because we’re all looking forward to spring.  Spring is a time when everything seems to unfurl, unravel from winter’s tight gloom, and become brighter. That’s why I love having a spring party. It just feels like renewal. And having spring party games makes celebrating the season even more fun. The 5 Best…

Read More Read More

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,…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

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,…

Read More Read More

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;…

Read More Read More

Top 7 Gift Exchange Themes for Friends

Top 7 Gift Exchange Themes for Friends

Last weekend, we had some friends over. One of them was my oldest friend. We’ve been hanging out since we were wee lads, so for more than 30 years. We practically have our own language. At one point, we started to do a whole bit, as we tend to do, and his wife just turned to mine and said, “When they get like this, I just let them go.”  That’s the thing about friends: you have your jokes, your stories,…

Read More Read More

Tips for Being the Secret Santa for Someone You Don’t Know

Tips for Being the Secret Santa for Someone You Don’t Know

My wife and I first started dating in early July. But by Christmas we were already at the “let’s see each other’s family!” stage of things (cue: awwww). When she joined my family’s Secret Santa game and got my cousin Chuck, I was super excited. Chuck is great! Of course, she asked what to me was a surprising question: “Who, exactly, is Chuck?” Yeah, I had forgotten that she didn’t know everyone in my family. But that brings up a…

Read More Read More

The Best Ways to Draw Names Randomly for a Gift Exchange

The Best Ways to Draw Names Randomly for a Gift Exchange

My cousin, Laura, is probably one of the world’s worst Secret Santa players. She gets amazing gifts and is one of the warmest and funniest people I know. But every year, when we’d draw names from a hat, she would look directly at the person whose name she pulled.  She tried not to. You could see beads of sweat forming as she struggled not to look up. But then she would, glancing directly at the person. It was wonderful.  Of…

Read More Read More

How to Make a Birthday Wish List Online

How to Make a Birthday Wish List Online

Shortly before my most recent birthday, my wife asked me what I wanted. I went into my whole normal gruff routine about how “I’m too old for birthdays” and “All I really want is a nice dinner and some quiet time with you”—both of which were true! I didn’t want anything, until she actually asked me to make a list, and I realized there’s so much stuff I want.  That’s the thing with birthdays: if you’re like me, you may…

Read More Read More

How to Host a Secret Santa for Remote Employees

How to Host a Secret Santa for Remote Employees

I got my first job out of college in 2001. At our first Christmas party, we had a few people who worked in an office outpost at another city call in via speakerphone for a toast. We just had to assume they had a drink in their hand.  Needless to say, there wasn’t much of a holiday contingency plan for remote employees. That’s because the idea of remote employees was pretty absurd back then. Sure, some techno-futurists were predicting it,…

Read More Read More

What Christmas Games are Similar to White Elephant?

What Christmas Games are Similar to White Elephant?

There’s a famous old holiday saying which goes, “Gift exchange games are like sandwiches: everyone has their own name for them and by golly, I love them all no matter what.” Okay, that might not be an old saying as much as something I believe, but it’s still true.  See, there are a lot of gift exchanges out there. Some are pretty much the same game but with different names. It’s like sandwiches: a hero, submarine, grinder, and hoagie are…

Read More Read More

3 New Year’s Eve Gift Exchange Games to Start the Year Off Right

3 New Year’s Eve Gift Exchange Games to Start the Year Off Right

Saying the holidays are hectic is like saying water is wet. Everyone knows that. There’s so much hustle and bustle packed into a few short weeks. There are office parties and family parties and visits and shopping and more. New Year’s Eve comes almost as a surprise; like, “Oh yeah, now this.” That’s why we use New Year’s as a time to exhale, relax, and reflect. Our main tradition is to gather a small group of friends who we didn’t…

Read More Read More

The Benefits of a Christmas Wish List Maker with Pictures

The Benefits of a Christmas Wish List Maker with Pictures

One of the most frequent holiday-time conversations I have with my wife is when we’re out shopping and I see something I like. She tells me, wisely, not to buy it because what if I get it for Christmas? This is, of course, wise and sagacious and just, but it falls apart under the two prongs of my logic: I haven’t put it on any list. I’m absolutely going to forget it by the time I get home. Now, you…

Read More Read More

5 Festive Christmas Party Games for Small Groups

5 Festive Christmas Party Games for Small Groups

Normally, we throw a big Christmas party every year. But the holidays can be hectic, and sometimes we just want something a little more intimate. So last year, we decided to just have a handful of close friends over. And guess what? It was every bit as fun as our big party. A small Christmas party can be a joyful occasion, a chance to sit and talk to people while sipping from your mugs. It’s a chance to catch up…

Read More Read More

How to Use a Draw Names Out of a Hat Generator

How to Use a Draw Names Out of a Hat Generator

It used to be that every Thanksgiving, during the post-feast repose, we’d draw names for Secret Santa. People would write down their names and three gifts they wanted. We’d toss it all into a hat or bowl, mix it up, and pass it around the table to draw.  It was always fun seeing people look at their names and laugh or look around trying to play it cool. It was a fun tradition.  That’s why, when we moved to a…

Read More Read More