Monday, November 3, 2008

A gift exchange....across the miles?

In my family, we have decided to go for the gift exchange thing rather than buying everyone a present for the holidays. I'm sure many others are in a similar situation this year, but we did this last year for the first time and found we actually enjoyed it more than getting a ton of gifts. What made it even more fun was that when we were shopping all the sales (ex: Black Friday), we could buy for ourselves (we normally have a "don't buy for yourself after Thanksgiving" rule.) This brought a whole new excitement to getting up at 4 in the morning!
Now, I know you're sold on the old save money, less stress aspect of holiday gift buying, but what about those families that are all separated by a few states and you just don't have the means to get together to do a "drawing" of names out of a hat? This is the first year everyone in my family won't be getting together for Thanksgiving, so we had to find a way to exchange names without meeting face to face. We all decided that we did want it to be a secret, so the nerd in me decided to go look around online for a cyber-alternative. I found a great website called
This site gives even more options than I was expecting. You can set up profiles for each person you are inviting. They receive an email, then they fill out information about themselves and answer preset questions about things they might like to receive. Once everyone has accepted the invitation and filled out the answers to their questions, the manager of the group can select those that shouldn't get each others' names. For example: Husbands and Wives don't really want to draw each others' names. Once you set those parameters, you tell the program to draw and it emails everyone with their secret names.
So far it is a success in our family. We all (whether we admit it or not) have a nerdy side, so everyone is excited about the fact of drawing names online too.

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