Elfster – Secret Santa Exchange on Easy Mode


I want to share with you a website that will make planning your Secret Santa event so much easier this year.  The site is called Elfster.com.  If you have ever put together a Secret Santa, you know that it’s a pain in the neck to get everyone together to draw names. Everyone that wants to participate are not always there, people swap names with each other because they don’t like the person they got, and the gifts bought for each other are usually way off from what the receiver actually wants.

I know, to some of you, all of those inefficiencies make the exchange fun.  However, not to me.  If the exchange has a limit of $50, I want to make sure I get a gift that will be worth $50 in value to me.  I honestly don’t like re-gifting, but if I receive something that I really don’t want, I’ll do it in a heartbeat.  If I wanted to take a chance on a random present, I’d rather drop the price limit and call it a “White Elephant” exchange.

On the same token, I want to make sure the person that receives my present will experience the full affect of my $50.  There is nothing worse than seeing your gift receiver with a fake “Thank You” smile.  We’ve all been there.  “Thanks for the fruit cake Auntie!” <insert fake smile>

Elfster is easy to use, quick, and hassle free.  As the exchange organizer all you need to do is Sign Up.

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Create the group and exchange name.

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Set the Exchange Date and Place

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Set the gift spending limit and exchange instructions

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and invite the participants using their emails

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Participants then accept the invitations and begin updating their wish lists.  You can then anonymously ask questions to the group or individual participants.  In fact, there are a plethora of options you can take part of without giving away your identity.

Here’s a few examples of questions that were asked to me in one of my exchanges

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And here is my current wishlist if any of you readers feel like buying me a present.  I threw in a Mac Mini in hope that some of my richer friends would pool their money together and get it for me.  Haha.  One can dream right?

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It’s really that SIMPLE!  My friends, family, and I use this service every year and our exchanges are always a success.  We run a $50 Secret Santa and a $10 White Elephant exchange to keep it entertaining.  I hope you give Elfster a try.  For those of you that take up the challenge, let me know what you think.  Also, if you already use Elfster’s services, tell me about your experiences.

Happy Holidays!

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Photo Credit: ColumbusCameraOp / Ryan

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way by Elfster.com for writing this article.  This is just a website that I use to make my life, and hopefully yours, easier =D.  If you have a product that you feel I might enjoy, please contact me via email.

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The Zen Capitalist was founded by a serial entrepreneur and debt escape artist that goes by the name Zen. If your interested in personal finance, entrepreneurship, social life balance, making money on the internet, life hacking, and awesomeness, then this site is for you.

3 thoughts on “Elfster – Secret Santa Exchange on Easy Mode

  1. @David – That’s the best part. You can go by the list, or you can still be creative if you want. It’s really up to you.

    @MrsFinnah – Ditto.

  2. Elfster is a great service, but I’ve got one gripe about it. When you have a wishlist that basically tells the other person what you want, it takes all the thought out of the gift process and in the end, it turns into this “I buy you this $50 item and you buy me this $50 item” and we exchange $50 items that we could have just bought ourselves.

    The anonymous question asking is great though. This is what allows everyone to ask questions and figure out a great gift by themselves.


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