the dō life

How to Execute the Best Secret Santa Gift Exchange

image of cookie dough containers

Just like that, we are in full-swing of the holiday season. And chances are, you’ve been holding out for hope that 2020 would get better by the end of the year. Your optimistic heart feels a little saddened by the reality of the world.  You’re left battling holiday blues not even Elvis could prepare you for. Many festivities will be taking place virtually, and you’ll be pivoting away from traditions you never dreamt would be void. Here’s a virtual hug, because we know it’s going to be tough. If 2020 were a fictional character, without a doubt, it’d be the Grinch. 

While we wish we could take all the challenges out of 2020 and wave a wand to return life back to normal, the team at Greetabl is here to help you create a little holiday magic in unconventional ways. We aren’t going to allow Christmas to be stolen by the guy in green! There is so much love that needs to be felt, spread, and paid-forward this holiday season… and it starts with YOU. In times where joy doesn’t seem to come easy, it’s up to you to cultivate it within your connections. Greetabl makes it easy to send unique gifts your people will love. Customers customize a card with their own pictures and a message, and select a gift to go with it. The card folds up into a gift box around the gift and is shipped directly to their loved ones in a perfect little package. Truly making it the most thoughtful way to say “I am thinking of you” or “I really miss your face”.

Some of your people might be in a let's-boycott-Christmas mood or think “why bother?”. So hello, team captain. Greetings, H.E.I.C. (Head Elf in Charge, respectfully). You’re the point-person, the hype squad to rally your people and celebrate. Intimidated yet? Don’t you worry! With the enthusiasm of Buddy the Elf, we’re here to get your “Project Christmas 2020” started. 

Our first proposal? Host a virtual Secret Santa gift exchange. This takes the pressure off purchasing for everyone on your list. Plus, the gamification of the event makes it more in-line with the experiences we are craving. Select a group of family, friends, neighbors, or your co-workers to host an evening that will go down in holiday history. 

Follow these 6 simple steps to execute the best virtual secret Santa gift exchange:

  1. Send Invitations. We aren’t going to over-complicate this: the first step is to simply invite your people. Invitations don’t have to be complex or time-consuming. If everyone in your circle uses social media, you can start by creating a Facebook group. This is an easy way to generate some buzz about the event! Text your bestie on the side, ask them to post about their excitement on the group wall, and watch how others follow suit. If that's not your speed, send a Paperless Post invite to kick things off. Either will drum up a little excitement for your invitees and easily collect RSVPs. A group text will suffice, but we’re going for big here. 
  2. Draw Names. Once you know who is participating (everyone, duh), you’ll need to assign names. Thankfully, there are already tools in place to help you organize a virtual secret santa gift exchange. Websites like and will disperse everyone’s recipient to the group. This way, no one has to sit out and be the moderator. An easy win all-around!
  3. Organize the reveal. In line with the common theme: this part is not difficult. Set up a Zoom or Google Hangout. If you used a Facebook group, it’s as easy as dropping the link in the event. 

    If you have elderly folks or people less comfortable with technology, reach out to them! Check to ensure they're comfortable with operating the system(s) so they're good to go for the gift exchange. 
  4. Mail your gift. Ask everyone to mail their gifts and instruct everyone to hold onto the package until the night of your event. Make sure to omit any identifying details (like a return address!) - you don’t want to spoil the surprise. 

    Need help pinpointing secret santa gifts your people will love? There’s the tried and true gift card, which can be made special and personalized inside a Greetabl gift. We love the option of sending the DO Sprinkles Print paired with a gift card - it’s the comfort of your favorite Christmas cookie decorating tradition, partnered with the practicality of a gift card. You can get started here

    We also love the idea of sending cookie dough directly - like, build your own 4 pack with your recipient’s favorite flavors or send a gingerbread cookie kit for a fun evening activity! Your recipient will be bragging on your gift until next year’s exchange… go you!
  5. Plan a Recipe or Activity. Before doing your gift exchange, warm the crowd up by doing something interactive. Maybe play a slideshow of old holiday images. If kids are involved, read a classic wintertime story. Maybe follow grandma’s killer chocolate chip cookie recipe together. The options are endless, so use your imagination here! 
  6. Exchange! We recommend each participant open their gift one by one and place their guess on their Secret Santa. Make it a competition. Bet on it. Anything you can do to add spunk and pizzazz, go for it. 

    Additional Things to Consider for your Secret Santa Zoom Party:
    Establish a Budget. 
    Covid has placed tight demands on budgets. Make sure you’re mindful of the financial needs of the group and set a spending limit that everyone is comfortable with. Remember, a meaningful gift is more important than the price tag. 
    Make it Themed. 
    Ugly Christmas sweaters? Favorite holiday movie character? Or maybe, your people agree to dress up and get out of their favorite pair of joggers for the first time in months. Break up the status quo by adding a little variety to your wardrobe. Come on, we want to see your best Clark W. Griswald or Cousin Eddie. 

    Account for Mail Delays.
    It’s a good idea to advise your people to add in a little buffer time to send their gifts. With carrier delays and an unprecedented amount of mail, you want to ensure no one is left without a gift to open on the night of the reveal. 
    Keep Things in Perspective.
    If technology fails the night of the event, a gift arrives late, or if your uncle doesn’t understand mute-button etiquette, remember to pause and breathe. In this trying and difficult year, we are all doing our best. We’re going after connection with our people, not perfection. Your loved ones will be thankful for your efforts to bring everyone together, so remember things do not have to be flawless in order to be special!