It’s inevitable every year that someone will ask me to explain our “Draw Names” family Christmas gift exchange, so I thought it was too late to write it all down in blog post format so I can share this with people who want everyone the details. We’ve followed the same format for years and years, and it’s been a game-changer for us. It saves money, makes the gift-buying experience more creatively challenging (in a good way!), and helps add a little excitement to the gift exchange on Christmas morning. Here’s how we make it work…
It’s really very simple. We use the site DrawNames.com To add all of our names (mine, my parents’ names, my sister’s names, and my husband’s names), the site then automatically creates a random person for each of us to buy gifts for. To be clear, that is Just The person we should buy a gift for that year. We’ve also set a spending cap of $100 to help keep things more budget-friendly. We draw new names on Christmas morning after the main gift exchange of the year so that everyone has a full year to silently listen to what their person cares about for the next 365 days.
We don’t just rely on a guessing game! The website we use actually allows us to enter a specific wish list, so our honoree is able to get some guidance, if needed, when searching for the perfect gifts. You might get everything on your list, or just one or two things. Sometimes you don’t get it anything From your list if the gift giver has a great idea of their own! That’s the fun of this type of gift exchange – you never know what you’re going to get, and it’s a lot of fun trying to guess who each person has when it’s time to exchange gifts on the morning of December 25th.
Aside from the fact that this helps us all save some money, the ‘one gift for one’ process also means that we are not burdened with things we don’t necessarily need. Now that everyone in our family is older, we don’t need as much ThingsDid you know? We are more interested in hanging out together, eating, drinking and chatting. It’s so fun to be surprised with something special from our secret “favorite family member” (that’s the code for the gift recipient, no matter who we pull from the website), but that’s all we really need!
However, I will admit that we are a bit over the top on the socks to make up issue since adopting the “one (major) gift each” process. We still exchange family stockings full of treasures every Christmas morning, and those stockings generally overflow into paper gift bags, but we really enjoy the collaborative aspect of stockings since we’re not allowed to ask for help with our main “draw names.” Gifts.
However, we always end up with nothing more than a small box of gifts at the end of the day, which seems fine to us. As you will see in the photo in today’s post, we have lots and lots of gifts under the tree because we still have the traditional exchange of gifts with John’s side of the family. Hopefully we can convince them of the merits of a “drag names” gift exchange within a year or two.
I know this method isn’t really rocket science. It’s just a play on Secret Santa, after all, but I wanted to explain our process because DrawNames.com It was a really great way to organize things. If you haven’t heard of it, try it! We are just starting to use it Application This year, now it’s easier. When using the desktop version of the website, your drawn name information is sent via email, and this can sometimes be difficult to track down when you need a reminder around the holidays. On the other hand, the app keeps all the information there, so it’s easy to remind yourself who you drew in the first place, and what your person’s wish list items are.
I’ve already received my “favorite family member” gift, and I can’t wait to see him open it in just two weeks. Tell me about it in the comments for you Change the gift! Do you come out with all sorts of gifts for everyone? Or do you follow the “Secret Santa” style of exchange? Maybe don’t give gifts at all? I’d love to know how you do it, so tell us your story!