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Category: Gift Exchanges

Good Secret Santa Gifts to Ask for When You Can’t Think of Anything

Good Secret Santa Gifts to Ask for When You Can’t Think of Anything

There are two very, very simple questions that always leave me stumped: 1) What kind of music do you like; and 2) what do you want for Christmas/birthday/etc.? I listen to music all day, dozens of albums a week, and have deep opinions on all of them, but can never remember a single one when asked. Similarly, there are a lot of things I know I want, but when it comes to making a list for Secret Santa, I draw…

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4 Secret Santa Party Themes to Up the Creativity

4 Secret Santa Party Themes to Up the Creativity

Getting into a festive party mood is rarely difficult if you’re a party planner like me. I’m always ready to see family, friends, neighbors, and college pals in person, online, or a combination of both. And I’m still particularly fond of Secret Santa parties especially when the theme is exciting and engaging for everyone involved. Sir Isaac Newton once said, “Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” And I…

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LGBTQIA+ Podcast Fans Swap ‘Coming Out Boxes’ for Pride

LGBTQIA+ Podcast Fans Swap ‘Coming Out Boxes’ for Pride

As summer soon turns to fall, it’s hard to believe it has been over five months since we first heard the two words that would come to define 2020: social distancing. Way back when, as we abruptly hit pause on “normal,” our hearts grew heavy as we physically extracted ourselves from each others’ lives. Our minds looked for ways to connect while focusing on being vigilant about our health and safety. But here we are — our wiser selves —…

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3 Fun Gift Exchange Games for Family Gatherings

3 Fun Gift Exchange Games for Family Gatherings

My great-grandmother Irene set up games for us to play as a family during every birthday, anniversary, or holiday gift exchange. In the summer and fall, it was croquet in the backyard. The winner received their gift first, followed by those who came in second and third place. For birthdays, we’d play Dominoes or Uno. Only, she would pronounce it “You Know!” That winner would always be first for a white elephant gift exchange. She’d offer lemonade, cookies, and joy…

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How to Use a Pick Names Out of a Hat App

How to Use a Pick Names Out of a Hat App

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…

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5 Children’s Gift Exchange Ideas to Get Everyone Involved

5 Children’s Gift Exchange Ideas to Get Everyone Involved

As an adult, you probably look back over your childhood and remember how you received so many gifts. Now, as a parent, you’re likely the one giving them. But, whether you’re on the receiving end or the one giving the gifts, there’s one thing that has likely remained the same: the excitement. Nothing beats the feeling of opening a gift or seeing the joy on your child’s face when they open a gift.   And, while you might be a pro…

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The Benefits of a Birthday Wish List App

The Benefits of a Birthday Wish List App

It always seems a little unfair that your birthday is only 24 hours long, doesn’t it? You wait a whole year for it, and even if you act all nonchalant, you know it’s coming. You’re waiting for it. And then by noon, it’s already half over! There should be a law making it at least 26 hours!  Well, even if they don’t pass that very reasonable and common-sense solution, you can still pack a lot into one day. You can…

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7 Great Secret Santa Gifts for the Boss

7 Great Secret Santa Gifts for the Boss

All right—Secret Santa time at the office! You’ve entered your name in the Secret Santa generator and are ready to see who you’re paired with this year. Will it be your friend in accounting? Your favorite lunch buddy? Or the new woman, who you’d love to get to know better? Oh, the endless exciting possibilities!  Oh, wait—you got your boss. Well, might as well quit and find a new job.  Okay, so you don’t have to be that dramatic, but…

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What Makes for a Good Wish List Creator?

What Makes for a Good Wish List Creator?

“Make a wish!”  That’s probably the most common line in fairy tales. But there’s something kind of weird about it…since the most exciting part of the story is when a wish actually comes true, we never expect them to. As fun as wishes are, they almost seem to contain their own nearly-assured disappointments.  But they don’t have to. If you’re holding a gift exchange, and you let people make a wish using the best wish list creators, they will almost…

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How to Do a Secret Santa Name Drawing with Exclusions

How to Do a Secret Santa Name Drawing with Exclusions

There’s a secret sauce to everything meaningful. Back in the day, the secret sauce for me was the ever-popular Big Mac sauce. There was nothing like it, and I ate it too often. Otherwise, secret sauce represents a unique feature or special quality that ensures a successful process. So, for a gift exchange, the secret sauce could be how you draw names or ways to set up everything just right to make your event special. Sometimes the most special moments…

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What to Look for in a Name-Drawing Randomizer

What to Look for in a Name-Drawing Randomizer

Years ago, when preparing for a Secret Santa, we were drawing names out of a hat in my parent’s house. My uncle had made a big deal out of printing everyone’s name on squares that were the exact same size so that there could be nothing out of place. His perfect scheme was foiled a bit when he drew his own name, and started to put it back. It turned out that everyone had drawn his name.  When making the…

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Elfster Group Supports Black-Owned Businesses for Juneteenth Gift Exchange

Elfster Group Supports Black-Owned Businesses for Juneteenth Gift Exchange

“If the cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. Because the goal of America is freedom, abused and scorned tho’ we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny.” – Martin Luther King Jr. Today, communities all over the nation will come together to celebrate an unofficial holiday — Juneteenth (also known as Freedom Day, Liberation Day and Jubilee Day) — to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the United…

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Gift Exchange Etiquette You Should Know

Gift Exchange Etiquette You Should Know

I love hosting parties. Yet in the midst of planning, there are multiple balls in the air to juggle. Let’s face it—as a party planner, gift exchanges can be overwhelming. Without the right tools to get everything accomplished, it can feel like a lot!  Still, there are ways to make it much easier, including keeping gift exchange etiquette in mind. As trends come and go, basic gift exchange etiquette remains a critical part of the party planning process. The way…

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Disney Lovers Remind One Another They Are Never Alone

Disney Lovers Remind One Another They Are Never Alone

Relax. Take a deep breath. In. Out. Ahhh. Now think of your happy place and the people you’d love to be with in that place. I’m sure it is a moment filled with laughter, joy and a little sunshine. And these days, we could all use a little sunshine in our world. No doubt, the past few months have been a challenge. As we all faced the uncertainty of an unprecedented global pandemic and the challenges that come with that,…

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How to Have Fun During Quarantine with Secret Santa

How to Have Fun During Quarantine with Secret Santa

It all started with DJ D-Nice hosting Instagram Live dance parties weekly. Then GRiZ, an up-and-coming Detroit DJ, and 23 other artists hosted a 24-hour dance and reconnect party online. While that might not be the norm for reconnecting with friends and may or may not be your thing, it’s definitely an exciting way to unite during a difficult time. Regardless, you, your friends, family, and social network deserve to have fun, let loose, and enjoy some laughs together! When…

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Secret Santa Tips to Help You Get Started with Your Gift Exchange

Secret Santa Tips to Help You Get Started with Your Gift Exchange

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…

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How to Run a Gift Exchange From Home During Social Distancing

How to Run a Gift Exchange From Home During Social Distancing

When social distancing swept over the world, taking us away from our normal lives, a strange paradox took shape. We began to connect more than ever.  I now have weekly video calls with friends and family that I could easily go months without talking to before. We have a Sunday Zoom dinner with my wife’s parents. People are even… talking on the phone! This doesn’t negate the anxiety we all feel, but it does go to show that we are,…

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5 Ways to Connect During Social Distancing with a Secret Santa Generator

5 Ways to Connect During Social Distancing with a Secret Santa Generator

When I was a kid, my friend, Dawn, moved to California. It happened when long-distance phone calls and snail mail were the only options to stay in touch. Still, we would mail trivia and fun paper games and activities to one another and so kept an entertaining connection. She became one of my best pen pals. And I still believe she was my Secret Santa for that top Secret Santa gift exchange in fifth grade! Nowadays, with the convenience of…

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How to Socialize During Coronavirus With Long-Distance Games

How to Socialize During Coronavirus With Long-Distance Games

Every Saturday since social distancing started here in Illinois, my friends and I meet for an afternoon happy hour online. Some live a few blocks away, some in other cities. It’s great to connect, and it reminded us that we could have done this anytime. We don’t need a catastrophe to enjoy hanging out, even distantly.  Social distancing has, for millions of people, closed their physical world down to a handful of rooms. But what’s amazing—inspiring, beautiful, and deeply human—is…

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How Does a Name Pairing Generator Work?

How Does a Name Pairing Generator Work?

For someone who spends most of my professional time online, I used to be weirdly resistant to doing things on the computer. Maps? I was good with paper maps (even though it was super inconvenient). Finding a restaurant? Let’s drive around until we see something (even though we’d usually end up getting frustrated and grabbing fast food). Remembering the name of a movie? Instead of looking it up, have you tried not remembering and just going crazy?  Needless to say,…

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Coronavirus: How to Stay Positive and Connected with a Gift Exchange

Coronavirus: How to Stay Positive and Connected with a Gift Exchange

For some reason, most of my family members have birthdays over the same two-month period. Some even share the exact same birthday! So, for over a decade, we celebrated all birthdays together as a family. But in recent years, we moved to Texas, my brother moved to Nebraska, and family is here, there and everywhere. Plus, we’ve experienced some trying times and realized that what matters is to remain connected and celebrate even if we can’t physically be together. The…

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Top Gift Exchange Ideas for All Ages

Top Gift Exchange Ideas for All Ages

One of the best events we’ve hosted involved numerous family members and friends honoring a newly-engaged coworker. With a Caribbean-themed party and gift exchange, we went all out. My parents didn’t even know the couple getting married, but because we worked with them and the grandchildren were part of the fun, they were all in on the activities. With participants of all ages from various circles of life, it was one of the most joyous parties we ever hosted.  You…

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5 Gift Exchange Party Ideas to Get You Started

5 Gift Exchange Party Ideas to Get You Started

“Congratulations! You’re running the office gift exchange!”  I recently had the pleasure of telling that to a co-worker as we were planning a remote office party. We’d been working from home for a while, so we decided it would be a cool way to keep everyone together. And even though I was the pro, we decided Jess could take the reins on this one. She turned a bit pale at the thought, but I reassured her that it would be…

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