1. Elfster Help
  2. Organizing a Gift Exchange

How do I start a new Gift Exchange?

Organizing a Gift Exchange is easy, fun, and free. The instructions are here to see how it's done.

Elfster is a FREE Gift Exchange website to make gift-giving easier. Our Secret Santa Generator makes Christmas, holidays, and other Gift Exchanges extra joyful so you can spend less time organizing and more time celebrating.

App instructions

Begin a Gift Exchange on Desktop or Mobile using the Elfster Secret Santa Generator.   


  • If you don’t have an Elfster account, you’ll be prompted for some basic information.
  • If you are already logged into your Elfster account, you'll be able to start creating the Gift Exchange right away.

If you are logged into Elfster, you can select GIFT EXCHANGES in the menu and select Start New Gift Exchange, but since you're reading this just click the link.

  • Follow the setup wizard in the Secret Santa Generator to invite any number of people, including an odd number!

Screen Shot 2020-10-02 at 1.17.19 PMElf Tip: To easily create a repeat Gift Exchange with the same people,  select from any existing group already created by choosing from the drop-down menu under Select Group (Easiest Way To Repeat).





Enter the Gift Exchange date, the Spending Limit, how gifts will be exchanged (At a Party or through the mail) and any special instructions before inviting.


Screen Shot 2020-10-02 at 1.20.33 PM

You'll be able to edit the invitee list on the invite screen after entering the details of the Gift Exchange and add more people using the Invite More option. ✨
You can choose to remove someone from the group or just not invite them to the current Gift Exchange.


📝 Gift Exchanges through the mail will require participants to enter their mailing addresses so the person who draws them will know where to send their gift. 📝

Inviting Everyone to the Gift Exchange

Screen Shot 2020-10-02 at 1.25.53 PMInviting everyone is easy!  There are several ways to invite:

  • Enter names and email addresses. (Gmail users can access their contacts, which makes this step even easier!)
  • Invite your Elfster friends.
Bonus of these two options: We keep track of the invitations and send your participants a reminder 📥 if they forget to RSVP. 
  • Invite the Elfster group you chose when creating the Gift Exchange.
  • Copy the invitation link to share on social media.
  • Send a text invite if you're using the website on your phone or if you're using our iOS or Android app.

📝 Organizers are automatically included in each Gift Exchange. If you want to just organize and not be included in the draw check the No, I'm just organizing the fun box under Are you participating? when you create the Gift Exchange. You can also change your RSVP any time before names are drawn on the left-hand side of the Gift Exchange homepage. 📝

👍 One Final Note:

There's no limit to the number of Gift Exchanges you can host at once, but we do recommend updating the Gift Exchange picture so that each one is easily recognizable.

Begin a Gift Exchange in the Apps

  1. Tap the Gift Exchange icon in the Navigation bar.
  2. Select a Previous group and enter the Gift Exchange name OR if you're creating a Gift Exchange with a new group, just enter the Gift Exchange name.
  3. Enter your Event Info
  4. Tap Invitations
  5. Choose how you'd like to invite everyone, tap Done after your invitations are sent
  6. Congratulations 🎉 your Gift Exchange is created! Now you can update the picture, set Draw Restrictions, Invite more people or start wishing! 💫