Elfster.com: Your Online Secret Santa Helper

Sometimes you’re the elf, sometimes you need an elf’s help –especially if you’re in charge of coordinating any Secret Santa exchanges. Recently I discovered a cool site that helps with such a task: Elfster.

What Elfster Is

A free online resource to help you coordinate a gift exchange.

How You Use It

1. Register to use the site. (It’s free and super fast. Less than 30 seconds.)

2. If you’re not taken directly to the Your Exchange set up page, from Home select Start a New Exchange.

3. Plan your exchange: give it a name, determine a sign-up deadline, set a gift spending limit, give a gift guideline (i.e. limit it to themes like ornaments, stocking stuffers, or funny/gag gifts), specify the exchange date and whether people will deliver them at a party or on their own, leave a party address if applicable.

4. Create invitations. Simply enter names and email addresses in the fields provided. (Note: to send the invitations you have to click the send invitation button.)

5. Once everyone has responded to the invitation, draw names. (They’ll be instructed to quickly set up an account too once they’re sent an invitation.)

6. Buy your gifts, deliver them, and that’s it…your Secret Santa exchange is done!

Why Elfster’s a Particularly Handy Secret Santa Resource

• It’s free.

• It’s fun. Invitees are asked if they’ve been naughty, nice, or both when they go to accept or decline invitations. People who accept invitations become “Santas” and get a Santa cap icon by their name. People who decline are labeled “Scrooges” and get a lump of coal by theirs.

• There’s a wishlist feature. (If you’ve ever been a Secret Santa, you know that getting your person just the right thing can be trying.) But the wishlist option lets everyone enter items they want and even include URLs of where to find them.

• Likewise, if there’s something you absolutely don’t need there’s a “Do Not Need” list you can use to make sure your Santa doesn’t waste their money.

• You get a HoHoHo Rank. (It goes from 1 to 10, with 10 being best, and determines how good an elf has been at Elfster.)

• You can pick an elf name and get an elf address. (It just takes people to your Elfster profile page. To see mine, which I haven’t really done anything with, click here.)

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Photo credit: sxc Standard restrictions apply for use of this photo.