What the Tech? App of the Day: Elfster

What the Tech: App of the Day

App of the Day: Elfster

(ABC 6 News) – One of the challenges for large families is gift-giving season. Buying something for each person in the family is expensive. Secret Santas or drawing names out of a hat is a solution that’s worked for generations.

Those parties can be a lot of fun, except for the people planning it. If family members are spread out over several states, it’s even more difficult. I found an app that makes Secret Santa parties a lot easier to plan and execute.

Elfster was created by a husband, wife, and sister who were tasked with organizing their own Secret Santa party. According to the Elfster website’s “About” section, it began with writing all the names on scraps of paper with one of the three organizers drawing each name, placing it in an envelope, and mailing each one to other family members. They decided there must be a better way and created “Elfster”.

Here’s how the app works:

Someone organizes the Secret Santa party and sends everyone who will participate a link to the app or the website. Even if they don’t have a smartphone they can participate using the Elfster website.

Each person can then add a few items to a wish list. The organizer will set a spending limit and a day for the gifts to be exchanged.

Elfster then draws the names, pairing each person with someone else (even if there is an odd number!)

The organizer can set up their drawing party where no one gets their spouse, partner, or closest friend’s name.

Each participant can add Amazon links to items on their wishlist.

When it’s time to go shopping, each “elf” can see the wishlist and place an order through Amazon to have it delivered for free. If you want to remain anonymous, you can do that by selecting “gift options” within the Amazon order form. Prime members can also pay to have the gift wrapped for about $2.99.

Another feature of the Elfster app that I like is the ability to set up Zoom virtual Secret Santa parties for family members who are out of state and cannot attend in person.

Elfster is free and available for Android, and iPhone, and if someone in the family doesn’t want to download an app, they can use the Elfster website on a computer browser.