- By setting a maximum budget per gift, the pressure is off to over-spend.
- The budget can help you decide if you can afford to participate.
- You can calculate an exact budget number for what you need to spend on gifts for family, friends, officemates, and others.
- You can save valuable time as well as money by moving the whole event online.
- You can redirect group gift exchanges to a charity of your choice (even $1 gifts can help!).
Secret Santa gift exchanges can be a super-fun way to stretch your holiday budget, but if you’re someone who is super organized like me—Secret Santa exchanges can get messy! If you’re planning a fun group present exchange this year at work, within your family, or among friends, these 3 tools can help!
DrawNames is an online Secret Santa planning tool that offers U.S.A., U.K., and Dutch options.
What DrawNames does for you—for free:
- Saves past years' exchange lists for your reuse.
- Gives you an easy import tool (using Gmail or Outlook) as well as a manual name/email entry option.
- Permits you to set price and other gift options.
- Sends out the invitation to all participants to join and set up their wish lists.
- Coordinates the drawing of names.
- Facilitates an anonymous Q&A feature to help Secret Santas select the perfect gift.
What Elfster does for you—for free:
- Creates your group (you just input names and email addresses).
- Helps you set dates, places, and price limits.
- Does the name drawing and sends participants their assigned match.
- Allows participants to generate anonymous shareable gift "wish lists."
- Permits recipients to send anonymous “thank you” letters after the exchange.
- Offers a list of trending gifts to help with gift selection.
SecretSanta is another online-based tool to help you plan a number of different gift exchanges (White Elephant, Yankee Swap, etc.). Just choose the type of exchange you prefer and go!
Here is what SecretSanta does for you—for free:
- Set your event time, date, and place.
- Add a game theme (such as adding riddles or questions).
- Set up gift exclusions (to prevent certain participants from being matched with certain others).
- Conduct an online or in-person event.
- Conduct future events without having the same people re-matched each year.
- Randomize and assign matches to each participant.
- Allow participants to set up wish lists and post comments on a group-wide message board.