About Secret Santa
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» What is a Secret Santa Gift Exchange?

» Creating a Gift Exchange Event

» Managing a Gift Exchange Event

» Creating the GuessList for your Gift Exchange Event

» Participating in a Gift Exchange Event

What is a Secret Santa Gift Exchange?
One of the more popular holiday games, Secret Santa (also known as Kris Kringle in some circles) is a fun and easy way for a group of friends, family members or co-workers to exchange gifts.

The basic concept of the Secret Santa game is simple. All of the participants’ names are placed into a hat, box, etc. and mixed up. Each person then chooses one name from the box, but doesn't tell anyone which name was picked. He/she is now responsible for buying a gift for the person selected.

When the Secret Santa wraps their gift, he/she just labels it with the recipients name but doesn't indicate whom the present is from. (Remember, most of the fun is in the secrecy.)

All the gifts are then placed in a general area for opening at a designated time. When the gift-giving time arrives each recipient finds their gift and must guess who their Secret Santa is. If they can't guess, their Secret Santa eventually confesses.

With the GuessList service, organizing and managing a Secret Santa gift exchange is now easier and much more fun. Using GuessList, a gift exchange event manager is able to:

  • Send fun email invitations to a group of friends, family or coworkers, inviting them to participate in your Secret Santa gift exchange.

  • Enter all the participants’ names in a virtual “hat.” The system, using the patent-pending RIDDLE algorithm, randomizes all the names and selects each participant’s gift recipient for you.

  • Run a gift exchange without all of the participants being in one place. All GuessList requires is that you enter all the participants’ email addresses and their gift recipients are sent out automatically.

  • Create a customized Secret Santa Gift Exchange page, which enables all participants to post RSVP responses and comments, as well as wish lists.

  • Create exclusions for each gift exchange to ensure that certain participants are not matched. (For example, Jack should not be Jane’s Secret Santa.)

  • Manage a Secret Santa gift exchange year after year, guaranteeing that participants do not get the same Secret Santa two (or more) years in a row.

Best of all – Its absolutely FREE!


Creating a Gift Exchange Event
Before you can create a gift exchange on GuessList, you'll need to register. Registration is fast, easy, and free.

Just click on the Register Now button on the homepage’s navigation menu and enter some basic information about yourself. Be sure to enter a valid email address since you’ll need it to access your gift exchange page(s).

To create a gift exchange, just click on the Create a Gift Exchange Event tab on the top of the homepage. This will take you to the Gift Exchange Event Setup page.

The Gift Exchange Event Setup Page:

  1. Select the type of gift exchange event you would like to plan using the Gift Exchange Type drop-down menu.

  2. Provide a name for your gift exchange event in the Gift Exchange Name box. (i.e. John Doe’s 3rd Annual Secret Santa or XYZ Corp.’s 2004 Secret Santa).

  3. Set the date and time your gift exchange event will take place.

  4. Provide a description of your gift exchange event in the Gift Exchange Description box. This area should be used to provide participants with any details about the event – e.g. party theme, game rules, etc. This description will be provided on the “Gift Exchange” page.

    TIP: Want to make a simple old Secret Santa more interesting. Assign the game a theme (i.e. Musical, Gourmet Foods, Fashion). Not only does it add a fun twist to the game, but it can also help out someone who has no idea what to buy for his or her chosen person.

  5. Provide a location for your gift exchange event. (Will it be around the family Christmas tree or in the lunchroom in the workplace?)

  6. If your gift exchange is an annual event, select the Is Annual option. This option lets GuessList know that your event is annual and prevents participants from being assigned the same gift recipients they were assigned the year before, and the year before that, and so on.

    TIP: A Secret Santa can work with any number of participants in any environment. Usually your gift-giving list is already pre-categorized into “family,” “friends” and “co-workers” so that’s often a good place to start finding participants.

  7. Create your list of invitees for the event in the Invitee List box. Insert all of the e-mail addresses of the people you would like to invite to your gift exchange event, separated using commas.

  8. Provide a message for all of the invitees in the Message to Invitees. This message should be fun and inviting as it will be included in the invitation e-mail, requesting people’s participation in your gift exchange event.

  9. You can customize a look for your Gift Exchange Event page by selecting a Theme.

    • To select a theme for your Gift Exchange Event page, click on the More Themes hyperlink. This will take you to a gallery of available themes where you can make a selection. Once you have decided on a theme, click on the Select Theme button.

    • You can preview your customized theme by clicking on the Preview Theme button located at the bottom of the Gift Exchange Setup page.

    • If you decide not to customize a theme, a default theme will be selected for you depending on the gift exchange event type that you select.

When you have completed all of these steps click the Continue button on the bottom right side of the page. This will take you to the Gift Exchange Configuration page.

The Gift Exchange Event Configuration Page:

  1. Rules

    • First set the Gift Price Minimum and the Gift Price Maximum. (i.e. $20.00 - $40.00). This lets all gift exchange participants know how much they can spend on their gift recipients.

      TIP: Make sure the gift exchange event’s price range is appropriate to the participants and the game environment. For example, a Secret Santa game among family members might involve a higher price range than one that takes place in an office environment.

  2. Exclusions List

    If you would like to prevent specific gift exchange participants from being matched in your gift exchange (for example, siblings or spouses) you will need to define exclusions in the Gift Exchange Exclusions section of the Gift Exchange Configuration page.

    To define exclusions:

    • First, select the name of a participant in the Select Member drop-down menu.

    • Next, select the name of a participant in the Select Recipient drop-down menu. This person is the participant that should not be assigned to the name in the Select Member drop-down menu.

    • Click the Add Exclusion button. You should then see your exclusion added to the Exclusions List on the right of the screen. It will list the name of a participant and the person they should not receive as a gift recipient.

    • This process should be repeated for each of the exclusions needed in your gift exchange.

    • To remove exclusions, just click on the “X” icon located to the left of each of the exclusions on the Exclusions List.

      TIP: The exclusion “Jack should not get Jill” is not the same as “Jill should not get Jack.” Make sure these two exclusions are set separately

  3. Create Gift Exchange

    • To create the gift exchange event, just click on the Create Gift Exchange button. Clicking this button will create a Gift Exchange Event page and send out an invitation to all of your invitees. (SEE “PARTICIPATING IN A GIFT EXCHANGE EVENT”)

    • After clicking the Create Gift Exchange button, you will be directed to your My GuessList page, which will now have a link to the Gift Exchange Event page that was just created.

    • Once the gift exchange event is created successfully, the Gift Exchange Event page will be accessible from your My GuessList page. (See “MANAGING and MONITORING A GIFT EXCHANGE EVENT”)

Congratulations, you have just created a GuessList Gift Exchange Event!


Managing a Gift Exchange Event
Gift Exchange Event management can only be done by the person who created the gift exchange (gift exchange administrator).

As a registered member of GuessList, all of your gift exchange events are listed in your My GuessList page. This page is accessible by clicking on the My GuessList tab on the top of the homepage.

My GuessList Page:

  1. When you log in, you will automatically be brought to your My GuessList page. The My GuessList page will include all of the following information:

    • User profile information – all of your registration information, which can be edited by clicking on the Update My Profile button.

    • Current gift exchange event information – listing all of your gift exchange events for the current year (whether you are an administrator or participant).

    • Previous gift exchange event information – listing all of your gift exchange events for previous years (whether you were an administrator or a participant).

To manage or view any one of the current gift exchange events, click on the Gift Exchange name in the Current Gift Exchanges section. This will take you to the Gift Exchange Event page.

Gift Exchange Event Page:

  1. As an administrator, you will be allowed to modify general gift exchange information (e.g. name, description, time, location, price range, etc.) and control the assignment of gift recipients to event participants. (SEE “CREATE A GUESSSLIST FOR YOUR GIFT EXCHANGE EVENT”)

  2. RSVP Status: Administrators can view the status of invitee responses in the RSVP Status section of the Gift Exchange Event page. It is important that you periodically view the status of invitee responses so you can keep track of who is participating and who may need an event reminder.

  3. Adding/Removing Users: Administrators can add other invitees using the Add Invitees area. Just provide the e-mail address of the person you would like to add as an invitee to your gift exchange event. Once done, just click on the Add Invitee button. Administrators can also remove invitees using the Remove Invitees area. Just use the drop-down list to select one of the existing invitees. Once done, just click on the Remove Invitee button. Once a GuessList is created, administrators will no longer be able to add/remove invitees.

Creating the GuessList for your Gift Exchange Event
Once everyone’s response (RSVP Status) is finalized, you can create a GuessList for your gift exchange event.

The creation of a GuessList is the secret assignment of gift givers to gift receivers, which can only be done by gift exchange event administrators.

You are now ready to create your GuessList.

  1. Click the Create GuessList button to create the GuessList. Creating the GuessList will randomly assign each participant a gift recipient (while keeping in mind any exclusions you set).

  2. An email notification will be automatically sent to all participants telling them who their assigned gift recipient is. (SEE “PARTICIPATING IN A GIFT EXCHANGE EVENT”)

  3. Once the GuessList is created, you will receive a GuessList Creation Confirmation page.

Let the fun Begin!


Participating in a Gift Exchange Event
As a participant in a GuessList gift exchange event you will receive two email notifications: one inviting you to participate in the gift exchange event and one to let you know who your gift recipient is.

Invitation Email:

The invitation notification email lets you know you have been invited to join in a gift exchange event and who invited you. Also included is a brief message from the organizer/administrator of the event.

To view more detail about the gift exchange event and to reply to the invitation you just click on the Go to the Gift Exchange button at the bottom of the email. This will take you to the Gift Exchange Event page.

Gift Exchange Event Page:

As a participant (non-administrator) the Gift Exchange Event page includes the following:

  1. Event information: All the event information (type of gift exchange, time, date, location, price range, etc.) is listed on this page.

  2. Participants list: The RSVP Status area lets you view who is participating, who is not and who is undecided. You can also read any comments left by participants along with their replies.

  3. RSVP: Reply to the invite by clicking the yes or no radio-button in the RSVP section.

  4. Comments: The Add a Comment box in the RSVP section allows you to send along any fun, interesting or informative comments with your RSVP response.

  5. Wish List: The Gift Exchange Event page allows you to enter your gift wish list, which can be viewed by your Secret Santa.

    TIP: Submitting wish lists, while eliminating some of the surprise elements of the game, is a great way to make sure all the participants receive a gift they will enjoy as well as assisting the Secret Santas in the gift buying process.

Gift Recipient Email:

The gift recipient email notification lets you know whom you will be buying a gift for this year.

Included in this email is a link to the Gift Exchange Event page (Just click the Go to the Gift Exchange button at the bottom of the email).

Before you start planning a Secret Santa Gift Exchange Event of your own, you may want to consider these factors:

Guidelines:The rules and terms of your Secret Santa game should be clearly drawn to insure a smooth gift exchange.

Secrecy:This is the probably the most enjoyable part of the game. Not knowing who your Secret Santa is adds to the intrigue and excitement. Keep the guessing games going in the time before the exchange.