• Gift Exchanges
  • Nov 14, 2022
  • 6 min read

How to Set up a Virtual Holiday Gift Exchange for Your Family and Friends

  • Setting up a Secret Santa gift exchange is a fun, easy idea-at first. It's fun until it's time to deal with that awkward cousin who won't stop dipping into the bucket to select a different name. It's fun until someone loses their slip, and you need to reverse-engineer the entire exchange and spoil the mystery. It's fun until someone forgets their gift, putting all the burden of holiday joy on you. What if you could host a holiday gift exchange with all of the festive holiday magic and none of the stress? A virtual holiday gift swap is just what you need to put simplicity and joy back into your favorite holiday tradition. Let GiftList handle the logistics so you can sit back, relax, and focus on choosing the perfect present for your Secret Santa. Setting up your first GiftList Gift Exchange couldn't be easier. We've created this guide to help you get started. We'll include all the details you need to coordinate the swap so you can watch the magic manifest before your eyes. Read on to discover why burnt-out gift exchange organizers are letting GiftList handle elf duty.

    The Problem With Your Old School Gift Exchange

    You know how a Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange typically works. The participants write their names on slips of paper, stick them in a bucket, and pick out someone else's name. You then become that person's "Secret Santa." As a Secret Santa, it's your job to buy the perfect gift for your giftee. While this can be fun if you're swapping with close friends and family, it can occasionally be stressful. What if you pull the name of the quiet co-worker you know nothing about or the distant aunt you haven't seen since you were six? Those little slips of paper are also easy to lose, and someone always seems to misplace theirs. Either the organizer needs to keep track of who is buying for who (ruining the magic for themselves), or needs to trust that no one will forget their giftee and call them in a panic at the eleventh hour. Spoiler alert: someone always loses their slip. What happens if something comes up and someone can't make it to the gift swap in person? What happens if someone forgets to buy their gift, leaving your poor baby cousin crying and present-less as everyone tears apart wrapping paper, ooh-ing and ahh-ing? Virtual exchanges through GiftList solve all these problems and more. Our Secret Santa generator will match participants, send out reminders, offer gift delivery options, help you curate wish lists, and even handle the final reveal.

    How Virtual Holiday Exchanges Work

    A virtual exchange is the organized, eco-friendly, intuitive way to facilitate a holiday gift exchange in the twenty-first century. All you need to do is create a free account on GiftList and start a group gift exchange. You'll invite participants who can choose to RSVP.

    Guilt-Free RSVP From Anywhere

    The virtual registration makes it easier for people to decline without guilt if an exchange isn't in the budget this year. It also makes it simple to add and invite more participants. Anyone on earth can sign up with your link, allowing you to facilitate a cross-continental swap without breaking a sweat. Is your sister studying abroad? Is your best friend deployed overseas? With GiftList, participants can choose to ship their gift or participate in person, eliminating geographic boundaries. GiftList is an easy way to organize a gift exchange for members of virtual communities, too. Do you want to set up a Secret Santa for everyone on your favorite Discord server or coordinate a swap between everyone in your Twitter circle? We'll handle the logistics. Everything is virtual, so anyone with an internet connection and an email address can participate. That includes those who aren't as handy with technology. The interface is straightforward and intuitive, so even grandma can participate without calling the grandkids for tech support.

    Gifts You Actually Want to Receive

    When the RSVP deadline hits, our system will automatically assign everyone a giftee. Matches are random, and we'll never assign anyone to shop for themselves - another common pitfall of picking paper slips out of a hat. From there, the fun begins. Participants can set their delivery preferences and create wish lists, which are only visible to their Secret Santa. No one needs to guess what someone wants, which means no one has to fake excitement when they receive another scarf or knock-off lotion gift set. Participants can customize their wish list with gift ideas to their heart's content until the deadline. They won't know whether someone has bought something off their list, preserving the surprise until the moment of the big reveal. Once you've gone through the trouble of curating a perfect list, it would be a shame for that hard work to go to waste when the swap is over. Participants will get a custom link, allowing them to share their list with anyone, anytime. If you don't get everything you want for the holidays, use the same list for your birthday!

    We'll Handle the Reminders

    Secret Santa organizers often feel like nags. You worry that if you don't constantly remind your participants about the swap, they'll forget to buy a gift. The last thing you want is a whole group of people scrambling for lame, last-minute convenience store presents right before the holiday party! When you coordinate Secret Santa online, we'll keep track of all the information, including who has shipped their gift and who is lagging. We'll send periodic reminders, including the date of your reveal or in-person exchange. We'll reveal the list of Secret Santas and giftees on the date you set, allowing everyone to enjoy the surprise at once. In other words, you're in control, but we'll make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

    Sit Back, Relax, and Watch the Magic Happen

    From there, the process works like magic. Secret Santas will put gifts in the mail, virtual holiday gifts will appear in inboxes, and packages will mysteriously show up on stoops. Everyone can deliver their presents on their schedule, as long as they do so before the deadline. If you're planning an in-person swap, set the end date for the day after your party. That will allow everyone to guess their Secret Santa after opening their gifts. We'll handle the big reveal on our end, so giftees can discover whether or not their guess was correct. With gift lists, everyone will adore everything they receive. No one needs to stress about shopping for a stranger. Best of all, the organizer can participate without worrying. Every stressful part about organizing gift exchanges gets easier with GiftList. As soon as you reflect on your first successful virtual exchange, you'll put slips of paper behind you for good.

    All Gifting Is Easier With GiftList

    What if all birthdays and holidays could be this simple, intuitive, and stress-free? Luckily for you, GiftList is here year-round to help with all your gifting needs. Once you create an account and build your first wish list, you'll have access to features that take the guesswork after choosing the perfect present. GiftList is not only a virtual gift exchange platform but an interactive registry where you can curate lists for any event or milestone. You won't need to commit to one store or aesthetic. You can request gifts that are as unique as you are. You'll have full control over your list and can share your link with anyone. It's the perfect addition to party invitations or event websites. Anyone with access to your URL can reserve a gift, ensuring there are no duplicates or surprises. You can even decide how you receive your gifts, choosing to receive presents by mail or in person. We take privacy seriously, so we'll facilitate the process without sharing your address or personal information. Here's what other features GiftLift has to offer:
    • - Collaborative gift lists with multiple editors
    • - A favorites page where you can privately curate future lists
    • - Recommendations for gifts to add to your lists
    • - An occasion tracker, so you never miss a big event or milestone
    • - Free e-cards for any celebration
    - GiftList is always free. You'll gain access to all these features with your registration. We're always looking for ways to improve, so be on the lookout for updates and improvements that help make gifting and receiving easier.

    Simplify Secret Santa With GiftList

    In the twenty-first century, writing names on tiny, easy-to-lose slips of paper is no longer the best way to organize a gift exchange. Step into the future with a virtual holiday gift exchange through GiftList. Friends and family all over the world can participate with all the joy and none of the hassle of your old-school analog gift swap. Are you ready to hand this year's elf duties to our hard-working virtual GiftList elves? All you need to do is register for a GiftList account. It's intuitive, full of extra features, and free for everyone.