Organizing Tip: How To Organize A Gift Exchange

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How to Organize a Gift Exchange Are you doing a gift exchange this holiday season with your friends?

Perhaps you’ll been selected to organize a gift exchange at work for your colleagues and coworkers.

A gift exchange can be a lot of fun, but it’s also filled with a lot of logistical details.

Unsure as to where you should begin?

You’re in luck!

In this post, I offer a few tips to help you organize a gift exchange.

Let’s get started…


Step 1. Figure out the total number of participants.            

Get a full count of interested participants in the gift exchange…no need to pressure people to participate!

Strive for an even amount of people so you’ll have an equal exchange of gifts.

Step 2. Set a budget or spending limit.

People shouldn’t have to break the bank for a friendly gift exchange, plus you don’t want unequal, or over the top exchanges to take place. Set a modest spending limit, somewhere between $15 to $25 should suffice in most cases.

Step 3. Randomly generate matches.

Search online for sites or apps that generate matches instantly and keep the whole process a secret, or do things the old-fashioned way by pulling names out of a hat. Keep names in a secure place.

Step 4. Set up a shopping deadline and the date, time and location for the gift exchange.

Give people enough time to do their shopping. You can choose either to have everyone exchange gifts at the same time in the same location, or ask people to leave or deliver gifts secretively to gift recipients.

Step 5. Send out separate emails/invites.

Send out the following info to participants, either automatically with an online tool or manually if you are pulling names out of a hat:

  • The gift exchange date, time and location
  • Budget or spending limit
  • Shopping deadline
  • Gift delivery option and deadline (if not doing a gift exchange event)
  • Each invitee’s gift match (or who they will be buying a gift for and remember do not reveal their gift giver’s name to them!)

Step 6. Send out a reminder.

Send out a mass email reminder a couple of days before the gift exchange to remind people again of the event and to bring their gifts (labeled please!).

Step 7. Enjoy the gift giving event!

Keep things a secret and ask people to put their gifts into a big pile. Have folks look for their gifts and see if they can guess their gift giver. Remember, in any exchange of gifts it’s not necessarily the gift you receive or give, but the thought that counts.

How about you? No matter how hard you try to keep numbers even, there will sometimes be an uneven amount of participants in a gift exchange. What tips do you have for dealing with an uneven number of people? Leave a comment below.

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.
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