Organizing a Gift Exchange

  • Starting a New Exchange
    To begin an exchange, login to your account. On your homepage, you can click on the button that says Start A Gift Exchange from the middle of your homepage. If you are using the iPhone app, you can click on the arrows icon from the bottom of your homepage and select Start New Exchange.

    You can follow the setup wizard, and will be able to select from any existing group you may have, or enter information to create a new group. If you are using an existing group, you will have the option to add or remove group members during the setup process. You may choose between two styles of exchanges. Secret Santa Anytime or Meet and Gift:
    A SECRET SANTA ANYTIME exchange assures that each participant gives and receives one gift in an anonymous exchange until the participants choose to reveal themselves and allows for an odd number of participants.
    A MEET AND GIFT exchange pairs partners, so that you give to the same person that gives to you. This exchange is not anonymous. It is similar to a penpal swap but requires an even number of participants. If there is an odd number of participants at the time of the draw, the organizer is automatically the one left without a partner.
    Elfster hosts Meet and Gift exchanges throughout the year that allow members of the Elfster community to sign up to send gifts to each other. We offer exchanges for participants worldwide. Some Elfster Meet and Gift exchanges require previous participation in an Elfster Meet and Gift to join the exchange. For more details, see Meet And Gift - Elfster's Public Exchanges.

    By default, organizers are automatically included in each exchange. If you want to just organize and not be included in the draw, un-check the box that says "I am also participating in this exchange" when you create the exchange. You can always change your RSVP later on the left-hand side of the exchange homepage.
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  • Secret Santa or Meet and Gift
    You may choose between two styles of exchanges. Secret Santa Anytime or Meet and Gift:

    A SECRET SANTA ANYTIME exchange assures that each participant gives and receives one gift in an anonymous exchange until the participants choose to reveal themselves and allows for an odd number of participants.
    A MEET AND GIFT exchange pairs partners, so that you give to the same person that gives to you. This exchange is not anonymous. It is similar to a penpal swap but requires an even number of participants. If there is an odd number of participants at the time of the draw, the organizer is automatically the one left without a partner.
    Elfster hosts Meet and Gift exchanges throughout the year that allow members of the Elfster community to sign up to send gifts to each other. We offer exchanges for participants worldwide. Some Elfster Meet and Gift exchanges require previous participation in an Elfster Meet and Gift to join the exchange. For more details, see Meet And Gift - Elfster's Public Exchanges.

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  • Shipping Internationally
    This is an option that is best selected before Participants begin to RSVP.

    If your Participants live in more than one country you can allow them the option to ship internationally. Once your Exchange is created, select the PRIVACY + OPTIONS tab at the top of your Exchange page. Scroll to the Participant International Shipping Option section. Checking the box will allow Participants to indicate that they are willing to ship internationally when they RSVP.

    There may not be enough Participants willing to ship internationally. If this is the case, some who indicate that they are willing may be paired with a Participant in their own country rather than a Participant in another country.
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  • Changing the Exchange Dates
    To change when names will be drawn or when gifts will be exchanged, click on GIFT EXCHANGES at the top of any Elfster page, then click on your gift exchange.

    Click on EDIT at the top of your exchange page, then scroll down to "Dates"
    To change when names will be drawn, click on the box under Sign Up Date. Names are drawn the morning after the Sign Up Date
    **Note: You cannot change the Sign Up Date after names have been drawn.

    To change when gifts will be exchanged, click on the box under Exchange Date
    **Note: The Exchange Date must always be at least one day after the Sign Up Date. If you are having problems changing your Exchange Date, check your Sign Up Date.
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  • Editing Your Exchange Name and Description
    To change details of your exchange including the name and descrption, click on GIFT EXCHANGES at the top of any Elfster page, then click on your gift exchange.

    Click on EDIT at the top of your exchange page. Under "Exchange Name" you can rename the exchange, and under "Exchange Description" you can fill in the rules of your exchange. The number under each box tells you how long your exchange title and description can be.
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  • Inviting People Who Do Not Have an Email Address
    1. From the gift exchange homepage, click on "Invite People."

    2. In the form, enter the person's first and last name and use your own email address, or the email address of a person that will act on their behalf -- that way any email messages for offline participants will be directed to a person.

    3. On the gift exchange page, click on the "Participants" tab. You can select the "Accept" option to the right of their name, since you know they are planning to participate.

    4. You can now communicate the exchange details to offline participants in whatever way is most convenient for them.
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  • Including Children in Your Gift Exchange
    Invite each child separately. Enter their first and last name and use their parents' email address if they do not have their own.

    Their parents will be able to RSVP for them, communicate the details of the gift exchange and monitor their activity on the site. Parents can create and manage accounts for children or others who need assistance with their account via the Family Manager

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  • Changing the Email Address of Someone in Your Exchange
    From the Elfster home page, select the correct Gift Exchange. Once in your exchange, select “PARTICIPANTS” from the banner located on the top of the exchange.

    If you invited a participant that does not have a current Elfster account, you can select the “Change User Info” button to update their email address.
    If the participant you invited already has an Elfster Account, you will instead select “Send Gift Exchange Link”
    Please note, only the account owner can update or change the email address associated with their account. If they forget how to log into their account, they can email us at help@elfster.com
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  • Requiring Previous Participation
    When organizing large Exchanges with individuals who don't know each other, you may want to require that participants have successfully completed one or more of your group's Exchanges prior to signing up for an Exchange with a higher spending limit.

    Once your Exchange has been created, BEFORE you send invitations, select PRIVACY + OPTIONS from the top of your Exchange page. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the REQUIRE PREVIOUS PARTICIPATION section. You can select any number 1-10 to require that number of successfully completed previous exchanges.
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  • Privacy Options
    As the Organizer, you can determine how much information the Participants can see about each other. These options are found under the PRIVACY + OPTIONS tab of the Exchange. The options available are:

    Only allow members to send anonymous questions to the person they drew in a gift exchange
    This option prevents members from asking anonymous questions to anyone other than the person they drew.
    Only allow members to view contact information of the person they drew in a gift exchange
    While this option may not be important in a family or close friend exchange, it may be important for an online community exchange among individuals who don't know each other in real life.
    Do not send birthday alerts to group members
    While this option may not be important in a family or close friend exchange, it may be important for an online community exchange among individuals who don't know each other in real life.
    Do not draw names automatically after the sign up date
    This requires the Organizer to draw names manually once the sign up date has passed.
    Do not send emails about wall posts unless it is from me
    Limits the number of emails Participants will receive.
    Hide Invitee List
    Only the Organizer and their Assistant(s) will be able to see the Invitee List.

    Selecting the box next to each Option will activate that Privacy Option. Once Privacy Options are selected for an Exchange within a Group, future Exchanges will default to those Privacy Options.
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  • Removing a Participant AFTER Names are drawn
    Removing someone after names are drawn will affect pairings, but names will be automatically reassigned by Elfster. If only one individual is removed, the person gifting to them will now be gifting to the person the removed participant originally drew. (i.e. Jim is gifting to Mary who is gifting to Suzanne. Mary needs to be removed from the exchange, so Jim will now be gifting to Suzanne.)

    From the Elfster home page, select your Gift Exchange. Click on PARTICIPANTS from the top options. Select the down arrow (V) beside the name of the Participant you would like to remove, then click on the “REMOVE” button. Finally, select “REMOVE” one final time when the pop-up appears.

    Elfster will send an email to the participant(s) who were affected by the removal, but if this occurs once people are aware that names have been drawn, they may think the second email is a glitch and not go back into Elfster to see their new draw. A good follow-up for you as an Organizer, would be to message them within Elfster as well or contact them personally to make sure they know their draw has changed.
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  • Preventing Participants From Drawing One Another (Draw Restrictions)
    This is easy and essential for many gift exchanges! Here's how:

    1. Invite everyone to the exchange.

    2. Once you are on the exchange homepage, click on the button at the top of the screen that says Draw Restrictions.

    3. Click on "Show Restrictions" next to the participants name and check off "exclusions" for each person. Each name that is checked off will not be drawn by that participant. Once you have made all of your restrictions, select Save Restrictions for that participant. Repeat steps for each person that needs to be restricted from drawing another person.

    Once you have set up restrictions for your group, they will be in place for any future exchanges with this same group. Keep in mind, restrictions are unique to each person, so if you don't want Jane to draw John, or John to draw Jane, both will need a restriction. Only the organizer is able to see these restrictions.


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  • Removing a Participant BEFORE names are drawn
    Removing someone prior to names being drawn will not affect any pairings. From the Elfster home page, select your Gift Exchange. Click on PARTICIPANTS from the top options.

    Select the down arrow (V) beside the name of the Participant you would like to remove, then click on the “REMOVE” button. Finally, select “REMOVE” one final time when the pop-up appears.
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  • Marking Gifts as Sent & Received
    When your exchange is underway, participants will have the option to mark their gifts as sent or received once they have placed them in the mail, or gotten their gift. This can be found by clicking on the exchange name from their home page. The next page will allow them to Mark as Sent or Received. They will be asked to enter tracking or shipping information that will be sent to the recipient. When a gift is received, the recipient may mark their gift as received in addition to sending a thank you note, which may include an uploaded photo.

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  • Adding Participants After Names Have Been Drawn (Latecomers)
    1. Click on the name of your exchange from your homepage, click Participants and then click on the text that says Add a Latecomer?

    2. Enter the name and email address for as many people that you need to add to the exchange.

    3. You will see a yellow banner indicating that you have latecomers for your exchange. Click "Draw Names" when you are ready to draw names. If there is more than one person, the latecomers will be assigned to each other and the rest of the assigned draws for your exchange will not change. If you have only one latecomer, you must select a name to assign the new person to, and the latecomer will receive the name that person currently has.

    People may also RSVP after names are drawn. These people will be listed as latecomers, and all latecomers will be assigned a draw when you click the Draw Names button in the latecomers section of the exchange page.


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  • Seeing Who Each Person Drew
    Only the organizer can view a summary of who each person has drawn; by default, we hide all info about who drew whom. To view the draw summary, from your homepage, click on the name of your exchange and then click the "Participants" button from the top of the page.
    There are two options to view participant data. The basic view will allow the organizer to see each name that has been drawn, and the detailed view will provide address, shipping and assignment change options. Either view will allow the organizer to select "Show Draw" beside a single participant to check just one pairing, or "Show All Drawn Names" to see the matches for the whole group, including their own.


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  • Resending A Gift Exchange Link
    If someone has lost the link to the gift exchange and doesn't remember how to get back to Elfster, the organizer can email them a link to get back to the exchange easily.

    From the Elfster home page, select your Gift Exchange. Once in your Gift Exchange, select “PARTICIPANTS” from the options at the top.
    Select the Participant you would like to resend an invitation to and click on the down arrow (V) next to their name to see additional options. Select “Send Gift Exchange Link” and check to make sure their email is spelled correctly (or enter a new email address) before pressing Send and another email will be sent to them.
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  • Deleting an Exchange
    Click on the gift exchange you wish to delete, then select Edit at the top of your screen. Scroll to the bottom of the edit page and click Delete under the Delete Exchange section.
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  • Marking A Participant As A No-Show
    If a person does not send their gift, the organizer may mark them as a "No-Show". When a person has been marked as a No-Show, they will not be able to join any future exchanges with your group until they complete the exchange. The organizer may mark someone by clicking on the exchange name and selecting the Participants tab, then choosing a name by either typing it in and finding it in the list. In the Basic View, click on the participant's name to see additional options, then choose "Mark As No-Show." In the Detailed View, simply choose "Mark as No-Show" on the right-hand side of the desired name. If a gift is received and the recipient acknowledges receipt, the No-Show mark will be removed. The organizer may also manually remove the No-Show flag.
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Participating in a Gift Exchange

  • Joining an Exchange
    You need to have an email invitation from the organizer or a link to a gift exchange in order to join an exchange.

    Once you have your invite, click on the link that you received from the organizer (either by email or a link from Facebook or Twitter). Simply follow the instructions on the page to RSVP. If you have not established an Elfster account, you will need to create one to RSVP. Multiple accounts may use the same email address, however, each person needs to have their own unique user name and password for their account.
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  • Socializing and Wishing Before Names Are Drawn.
    Once you have accepted the invitation to participate in an exchange, you will be able to view information about the exchange from your Elfster home page.

    You can click on the exchange name, and should see a list of fellow participants, view the information about the spending limit, and how your group is going to exchange your gifts. You can add items to your own wish list, and your wishes will remain on your list until you remove them.

    A sign-up deadline is set up for your exchange. Once this date has passed, you will receive an email from Elfster that includes a link allowing you to see the name you have drawn in the exchange.
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  • I Lost the Email That Told Me Who I Drew
    All of the information about your exchange can be viewed from your Elfster account. Your organizer also has the option to resend you the link to the exchange if you need help getting back to your exchange homepage.

    When you get back to your Elfster home page, click on the exchange name and the name of your draw will be shown on the next page in a gray box. From there, you can view the wish list of your draw by clicking in the gray box. On that person's profile page, you will also see the options to ask them anonymous questions, or send them a message. The messages may be sent as anonymous, or not, so check off the option to send as anonymous if you do not want your name to be shown.
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  • I Am Not Receiving Email From Elfster
    Make sure you allow email from "the-elves@elfster.com" and add "the-elves@elfster.com" to your address book.

    If you are in an office environment, let your IT team know that you are expecting and would like to receive emails from the-elves@elfster.com

    You should also check your junk mail, bulk mail, or spam folders to see if the message might have ended up there. For free email accounts like Gmail, or emails may also arrive in your Social or Promotions email box.

    If you still don't see the message, you can ask the organizer to resend your exchange link. They can even send it to another mailbox if you have an alternate email address.

    Elfster messages will always get into Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and AOL accounts and we continue to test with those email providers regularly. Note: For Gmail accounts, please check the Updates folder in your account.
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  • Finding a Gift For My Draw
    To get ideas, you can view the profile for your draw by clicking on the name of your exchange, and then clicking on the gray box where you see your draw's name or the View Wish List. You will see their full profile page.

    If they do not have any items on their wish list, or you want to learn more about them, you can click on the "Ask a Question" button to send them an anonymous question or two. You may select from our suggested questions or create one of your own! This is a great way to have fun with your exchange.


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  • Setting Email Preferences
    Click on your profile photo at the top right hand corner of your home page and select "My Settings" from the drop down menu. Click on the Email Notifications tab to set your email preferences. Be sure to click on Save to keep the changes you have made.
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  • Sending Anonymous Questions and Messages
    If you are participating in an exchange, you can click on the name of your exchange from your home page, and then select the name of the person you would like to send a question to, including the person you have drawn in the exchange, as well as any of the other exchange participants if that option is available in your exchange. Click on the name of the person, and you will see the option to Send a Message or Ask a Question on the left-hand side.

    The Questions are all sent anonymously. When you send a question to someone, it will be sent to them via email. The recipient may choose to answer or dismiss the question. If they answer the question, you will receive an email notification and the answer will be posted on the exchange Activity Feed.

    The Messages will allow you to select if you want them to be anonymous or show your name. Messages can be viewed on your own account by tapping on the talk bubble at the top of your homepage. A number will indicate how many new messages you have. Messages are all private and other participants will not be able to view your messages.
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  • Sending Thank You Notes and Adding to Photo Gallery
    When the exchange is over, all participants will be prompted by email to send a Thank You note. When the note is sent, they are able to upload a photo of their gift. The photos of your exchange gifts will all be saved to the exchange Gallery Wall. All participants may view this by clicking on the exchange name from their home page and selecting the word gallery above the name of their draw.
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  • Marking Gifts as Sent & Received
    When your exchange is underway, you will have the option to mark your gift as sent or received once you have placed your gift in the mail, or gotten your gift. This can be found by clicking on the exchange name from your home page. The next page will allow you to Mark as Sent or Received. If you are marking a gift as sent, you will be asked to enter tracking or shipping information that will be sent to the recipient to let them know a gift is on the way, but they will not see your name. If you are marking a gift as received, you may also send a thank you note to be sent as an email as well as a post on the exchange Gallery wall. This note may also include an uploaded photo of your gift.

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Organizing Groups

  • Creating a Group
    Groups let you organize your friends and family outside of exchanges and allow you to quickly invite the same people any time you have a Gift Exchange. Within a group, you can follow wishlists, see when birthdays will be happening, share posts, and begin exchanges.

    Groups will be automatically created when you begin an exchange, and anyone who accepts the invitation to an exchange will be placed in the group. These groups can be used over and over for as many exchanges as you'd like.

    To create a Group prior to beginning an exchange, click on "New Group" yellow box at the bottom of the Elfster homepage. You will then be prompted to name your group, and from there you can either Create an Exchange or just complete creating the group by clicking "Skip Exchange."
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  • Posting Messages To A Group
    Both participants as well as organizers and assistants can post to a group. To add a message to your group from the Group page, click on Discussions, then write your message in the chat box that says "Share something with the group..."

    By default, all conversations started this way in a group will email all participants in a Group. An organizer or assistant within the Group can limit emails to only messages from the organizer and assistants by clicking on "Edit" on the left-hand side of the Group page. Please see the help file Editing Group Information for more help on this topic.
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  • Adding a Group Profile Photo
    To add a profile photo to represent your group, click on the Group name from the left-hand side of the Elfster homepage. Hover your mouse over the blue group of elves at the top left of this page and click on the Camera that says "Change Group Image."

    From here you can choose a photo from your computer to represent your group page. Photos must be the following formats:
    • JPG
    • JPEG
    • PNG
    • GIF (non-animated)
    Images must be less than 2 MGS in size.
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  • Editing Group Information
    Organizers and Assistants can change a group's information by clicking on Edit under the group name on the left hand side of the Group page. From the Edit screen, you can update the group's name, Group Type (such as a family exchange, or online community), include a Group Description that will be shown to people when they are invited to the group, and change Group settings including:
    1. Only allow members to send anonymous questions to the person they drew in a gift exchange
    2. Only allow members to view contact information of the person they drew in a gift exchange
    3. Do not send birthday alerts to group members
    4. Do not draw names automatically after the sign up date
    5. Do not send emails about wall posts unless it is from the Organizer
    You can also choose a new Group Organizer from this page, or delete the group completely if it was made in error. Please note: an organizer may delete a group, but an assistant may not.
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  • Adding Members To Your Group
    A group organizer and any assistants can add new members to the group. From the Group page, click on the "+Invite" button; from here you can add people by name and email, or invite your Elfster friends, invite people on Facebook or Twitter, or post a sign-up link to an online community or an email or messenger.

    Once your friends and family have accepted the Group invitation, they will be visible on the "Members" tab on the Group page. Organizers and assistants can see who has been invited but has not yet accepted under Pending in the Members tab, and anyone who has been removed can be re-added by clicking on the Add button under Removed in the Members tab.

    Unlike an exchange, you cannot accept on behalf of a group member; they must accept themselves.
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  • Adding Assistants to a Group
    Organizers can add Assistants to a group to help them moderate, including adding and removing members, starting and organizing exchanges, and editing the group settings.

    To add an Assistant, first invite the person to the group, and have them accept the invitation. Next, from the Group page, click on "Manage" underneath the word Assistants on the bottom left of the Group page. From there you can scroll through the list of names of people in the group; click on the person or persons you want to make an Assistant then click SAVE at the bottom right of the list.

    Assistants can perform all the tasks that Organizers can, however, they cannot delete groups or exchanges.
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  • Creating a Group Poll
    Group polls are a great way for your members to vote on a question, such as where or when gifts can be exchanged, or maybe a theme for a future exchange. To create a poll, Organizers and Assistants can click on the Discussion tab on the Group Page. From there, click on Poll underneath the discussion tab, and type in the question you would like to pose to the group.

    Once you have included your question, you can then add multiple poll answers for group participants to vote on. Participants can vote on multiple answers if they so choose, and polls do not have an end date. All group members can also leave a comment on the poll.
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  • Removing a Group Member
    To remove a member of a group, click on Members at the top of the Group page; scroll down to the name of the person who needs to be removed and click on the down arrow (V) beside their name on the right-hand side to see more information.

    This new information will include when they joined the group, and any exchanges they have participated in. Click on REMOVE at the bottom right of this box to remove them from the group. Please note this may not immediately occur and may take up to 24 hours for the removed person to show up in the Removed list.

    Members who have been removed from a group cannot accept any Exchange invitations from that group. If an Organizer or Assistant has removed someone in error from the group, you can re-add them by clicking on Removed under the Members tab and clicking the Add button beside their name.
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  • Leaving a Group
    To remove yourself from a group, click on the Group name at the bottom of the Elfster homepage.

    At the top of the Group page, click on Members and then click on the text "My Group Settings." Here you can see when you joined Elfster, view the list of exchanges you have done within the group, and edit your Group Email Notifications. To leave the group, click on "Remove Me" at the bottom right of this box.

    Once you have left a group, you must be re-added by a Group organizer or assistant.
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  • Deleting a Group
    If you have created a group in error, or no longer need a group, click on the name of the group on the bottom of the Elfster homepage. From there, click on EDIT underneath the group name on the left-hand side of the Group page. Scroll down to the bottom of the Edit page and click on the Delete button. Confirm you want to delete the group one final time, and it will disappear.

    WARNING: Deleting a group will delete all exchanges, past and present, associated with that group!
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  • Verified Groups
    Verified Groups are those that have been vetted by the Elfster staff to represent a large, legitimate group. Verified Groups have a green starburst checkmark next to their name on the Group page; when you hover your mouse cursor over this green checkmark, you will see "This group has been verified."

    If an exchange has been verified, users outside of that group are not permitted to create "spin-off groups" or exchanges identical in name or function to these Verified Groups. Such copycat groups or exchanges cause confusion and will be deleted without warning.
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Personalizing Your Profile

  • Adding or Editing Your Mailing Address
    In some exchanges you may be swapping gifts with people living far away, perhaps even in a different country.

    To add or edit your address, click on WISH LISTS at the top of any Elfster page. On the left hand side, click on the "edit" button next to the words Mailing Address. Click there and enter your mailing address including country.

    You can also set your address by clicking on your icon at the top right of any Elfster page, then choosing My Settings. Click on the "change" button next to the words Mailing Address, and enter your mailing address including country.
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  • Adding a Photo to your Elfster Profile
    You can add a photo to your Elfster profile that will represent you on the site. Accepted file types are .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, and .png and must be no larger than 2MB in size.

    To add a photo, click on WISH LISTS at the top of any Elfster page.

    On the left hand side, hover your mouse over the generic blue or green elf photo until the words "Change Profile Image" appear, then click on them. You can use your current Facebook profile photo if you are logged into your Facebook account, or choose a photo from your computer. Once you have selected a photo, click on Save.
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  • Adding a Nickname to Your Profile
    You can enter a screen name or nickname that will become part of your Elfster name. This is an easy way to identify you from another website such as WW Connect or Reddit.

    To do this, click on WISH LISTS at the top of any Elfster page.

    On the left hand side, click on the "edit" button next to the word Nickname. Click there and enter your nickname.

    Once you have added a nickname, it will be shown between your first and last name when you are on Elfster.
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  • Adding a Website to Your Elfster Profile
    You can enter the URL of your personal blog or other website to your Elfster profile.

    To do this, click on WISH LISTS at the top of any Elfster page.

    On the left hand side, click on the "edit" button next to the word Website. Click there and enter your blog, Twitter feed, reddit profile, favorite Pinterest board, or any other website you'd like to have listed on your Elfster profile.
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  • Adding and Reviewing Likes
    While searching for awesome wishes on Elfster, you can also LIKE an item by clicking on the heart beside an item instead of the Wish button. Likes are a private list of wishes only you can see.

    To find the items you've liked, click on WISH LISTS at the top of any Elfster page. On the left hand side, scroll down until you find the word "Likes" then click on it. You can review your likes and add them to your Wish List by clicking on Wish under each item, or remove them from your Likes list by clicking on the trash can.
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  • Creating and Editing Your Do Not Need List
    Your Do Not Need List can help friends and family narrow down specific or broad items you don't want as gifts.

    To find your list of unneeded items, click on WISH LISTS at the top of any Elfster page. On the left hand side, scroll down until you find the words "Do Not Need" then click on them. From here you can add links or text by clicking on the button "Add Something" at the top right of the page. You can also edit previously added items by clicking on the pencil beside any item you wish to edit. To remove an item completely from your Do Not Need list, click on the trash can beside it.
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Wish Lists

  • Adding to your wish list
    To add items to your wishlist, click on SHOP at the top of any Elfster page. If you are already in your wish list, you may also click on the yellow Add To Wish List bar.

    You may SEARCH Elfster for gift ideas by typing text into the "What are you wishing for?" box OR

    Add a link from any website for a specific item or URL by clicking on the LINK icon above the search bar, then pasting the full address (including the www at the front) into the LINK box, and choosing Add. Once we've verified the item, you can edit the name or change the image of the item before clicking CONFIRM. If you have more than one Wish List, you may choose which Wish List to add it to. OR

    Add a text wish by clicking on the TEXT icon above the search bar. You can enter any ideas or hints you may want to share. OR

    Add the Elf It! browser button to your bookmarks bar, which will allow you to add items to your Elfster wish list from any website with the click of a button. Click on "Get the add to wishlist browser button" above the search bar on the SHOP page to add the Elf It! browser button to your bookmarks bar.
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  • Creating separate Wish Lists for separate gift exchanges
    It's easy to create separate Wish Lists for your different exchanges! First, click on Wish Lists at the top of any Elfster page to go to your Wish Lists page.

    To create a new Wish List, click on the yellow New Wish List banner. You may name your wishlist anything you would like, choose a Wish List type, and then choose who can see it by selecting the groups you want to be able to see the Wish List. If there are active exchanges within your group or groups, you will see the exchanges listed under the group name. You may also add a note, which will be listed at the top of the Wish List in a yellow box. You may need to scroll down to see some of these options.

    You can have as many wish lists as you'd like if you want to be creative!
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  • Sharing your wish list
    There are a number of ways to share your Wish List! First click on Wish Lists at the top of any Elfster page, then choose the Wish List you want to share; if you only have one Wish List, you will go directly to it.

    Click on SHARE at the top right of your Wish List. You will be able to share your Wish List on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or copy the link to send via email, text message, or add to a Facebook Group or Messenger conversation.

    Remember that if you want your Wish List to be visible to people who are not in your current exchanges, you will need to change the privacy of your wishlist. Click on the SETTINGS button next to the SHARE button, and be sure to check the box marked "Anyone" under the question "Who can see it?" to ensure your Wish List is visible to those who have the link.
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  • Changing the order of items in A wish list
    You can control the order in which your Wish List items appear on your Wish List. To move items, simply drag and drop each wish to get them in the order you would like them to appear.
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  • Removing items from your wish list
    To remove an item you no longer want or need from your Wish List, click on Wish Lists at the top of any Elfster page, then choose the Wish List from which you would like to remove an item. If you only have one Wish List, you will go directly to it.

    Find the item you wish to remove. If you simply need to edit the item, like changing the item name or description, click on the pencil. If you want to remove it completely from your Wish List, click on the trash can, then choose DELETE when the confirmation window appears.
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  • Removing Old Wish Lists
    To remove a Wish List you no longer want or need, click on Wish Lists at the top of any Elfster page, then hover your mouse over the Wish List you would like to delete. If you simply need to edit the Wish List name or who can see it, click on the pencil. If you want to remove the Wish List completely, click on the trash can, then choose DELETE when the confirmation window appears.

    You cannot delete a Wish List if it is the only Wish List you have.
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  • Creating different types of wish lists
    To create a new wish list, click on Wish Lists at the top of any Elfster page, then click the yellow New Wish List banner. You may name your wishlist anything you would like, then you may select your Wish List type to customize your wish list. For example, you could create a Valentine’s Day list to share with your significant other, or a Private list that only you can see.

    Please note that when selecting some types of wish lists, the Wish List Name field will automatically be filled in with a generic title for example when selecting "Bucket List," the name defaults to "My Bucket List." If you like, you can customize the default name to something you prefer.

    A notes field has also been provided so that you can add additional information about your wish list. The notes you enter will be displayed in a yellow box at the top of your wish list. Once you have completed the form, click the Save button to finish creating your new wish list and you will be ready to add items to your wish list.
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  • Marking wish list items as purchased
    You can mark an item as purchased on another person's wish list so that other people viewing the Wish List can see something has already been bought. Which items are marked as purchased is hidden from the owner of the Wish List, so it will not spoil the surprise!

    You need to share a group with the person who owns the Wish List, or be Following their Wish List in order to see the option to mark an item as purchased. If you do not share a group, but would like to do so in order to mark an item as purchased, please note that during an active exchange, we do not share who follows a Wish List to avoid spoiling any surprises.

    From the Wish List you will be buying from or have bought from, find the item you will or have purchased. Then click on the green "Mark as purchased" button. If you accidentally click on this button on the wrong item, choose UNDO on the red "Purchased" button. If you do not see an option to UNDO, it means someone else has purchased the item.
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Friends

  • Adding friends to your profile.
    You can add friends that are already using Elfster, even if they are not in your gift exchange!

    1. Log into your Elfster account.

    2. From your home page, click on the "Friends" button in the menu across the top. If you are using the app, the friends list may be found at the bottom of your home page, and is labeled Friends.

    3. Enter the name or email address of the friend you are searching for in the text box (the text box is labeled "Search" in the app)

    You may also share your wish list with anyone by clicking on the share icon from the right hand side of your list. You will be given the option to share it via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or there will be a link to share via email. Once someone accepts your invitation to follow your wish list, they will also be listed in your friends list.

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  • Who is included in my list of friends?
    On the website, the Friends list is those people you are following. You are also given the option to see who is following you or your friends from Facebook that are using Elfster. Elfster suggests some other people you might like to follow there, too.

    On the iPhone app, your Friends list includes anyone that you follow.
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  • Removing someone from my friends list.
    If you want to un-follow someone on your friends list, you can click on the down arrow from the top of your home page, then select Settings, and the "Following" tab to see the list of those accounts you are following. You will also see the option to un-follow anyone on your list. The "Followers" tab allows you to block people from following you. If you are the organizer of a group and need to remove someone, you can click on the word Groups from your home page, select the Manage Group option, and the Member List to edit.
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Meet and Gift - Elfster's Public Exchanges

  • RULES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF ELFSTER MEET AND GIFT EXCHANGES
    *By signing up to an Elfster Meet and Gift exchange, you are agreeing to send a gift based on the exchange’s theme and within the spending minimum/limit. You must be 18 or older to participate in Meet and Gift. You will send to, and receive from, the same person; these exchanges are not secret. You may only sign up once to any exchange; you may not sign up for anyone else including family members.

    *You are expected to send a gift no later than the final day of the exchange (the last day of the month), or to contact the organizer and/or your partner as soon as you know that gifts will be late.

    *You must retain a proof of purchase and/or post office receipt or other proof of mailing. A screenshot of an online purchase with clear shipping information is also accepted. If gifts get lost in the mail (and they do occasionally just due to the large volume our Meet and Gift exchanges send and receive), you will need this to track down where it got lost and to ensure you have evidence that something was actually sent. Unless specifically required in the exchange description, tracking numbers are not mandatory, but are recommended for larger dollar exchanges, especially for international gifts. Gift cards are not permitted in any Meet and Gift Exchange.Gifts must be packed in a way to ensure they arrive unbroken at their destination.

    *Those who sign up for, but do not complete their exchange, will be marked as a No-Show, and will not be able to participate further in the group until they complete any outstanding exchanges.

    *You may not use the Meet and Gift group as a launching point to run your own private exchanges, as this type of abuse causes confusion to our group members. You're free to invite your friends and folks you have personally interacted with on Elfster, but mass invites from an established public exchange like the Meet and Gift group to a private exchange are not permitted. Users who are caught in this sort of behaviour may have their exchanges removed, friends list wiped, and/or accounts closed.
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  • Basic Elfster Meet and Gift Exchange Information
    What Is Elfster Meet and Gift?
    While we love hosting exchanges for friends, family, and online groups, we also regularly run public exchanges for anyone to join. These are administrated by the Elfster staff and are open to anyone, even if you’ve just signed up for Elfster.

    How often do they happen?
    Our Meet and Gift exchanges typically happen on every EVEN month – February, April, June, August, October, and December. They may also happen at other times, depending on group interest and organizer availability.

    How do I know it's an official Elfster Meet and Gift?
    Elfster Meet and Gift groups have a green checkmark next to their name; when you hover over this icon with your mouse, it will say "Verified." Elfster Meet and Gift exchanges are also always administrated by one or more Elfster staff members. The organizer will always be called out in some way as a staff member, such as the "Meet and Gives Elves" account with Elfster elf logo, or a specific elf such as Anna Marie "Elfster Elf" Privitere.
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  • How and When to Join Elfster Meet and Gift Exchanges
    Is there a minimum number of exchanges I must join?
    There is no requirement for the number of exchanges you may join. Some of our members may only do one or two per year, while others will participate in dozens. It's up to you which exchanges you can afford and are interested in.

    How many exchanges can I join?
    As many as you would like and can afford! Some exchanges may require one or more prior Meet and Gift exchange to be completed. All Meet and Gift exchanges will specify a spending minimum so you can better decide if they fit in your budget. Some exchanges may have a shortened sending period or require tracking numbers. Please read the exchange description carefully.

    When can I join?
    Meet and Gift exchanges will extend invitations to join around the first week of each month, and names will be drawn around the middle of the month. Gifts MUST be mailed out by the Gift Exchange Date. Check the exchange page you want to participate in for more specific information on dates.

    I missed the signup deadline! Can I still join?
    Meet and Gift exchanges may accept latecomers depending on the exchange, but will do so no later than 5 days after the original signup date; we will do our best to pair a person with you. If you've signed up as a latecomer and have not been paired, you can contact the organizer to inquire. If we cannot find a partner for you one week after the sign-up date, you will be withdrawn without penalty.

    Will I be paired with someone in my country?
    When you RSVP for a Meet and Gift exchange, you will be asked if you are willing to ship internationally. Please check the box if you ARE willing to ship internationally and do not check the box if you'd prefer to ship within your own country. If you live outside the US, you may not be paired with someone within your country simply because there may not be another person from your country or if there is an an uneven number. Some exchanges will assign members regardless of country. Consider shipping costs when choosing to sign up for a Meet and Gift exchange, as Gift Cards are not permitted. Please read the exchange description and any posts by the organizer carefully and if you're not sure, please ask!

    Will I be shipping internationally?
    When you sign up for a Meet and Gift exchange, you will have the option to volunteer for international shipping. If you prefer to ship within your country, DO NOT check this box. If you're willing to ship to another country (or purchase items from a website local to your partner), DO check this box.
    For users outside of the US, we will try our best to pair you with someone in your country and/or region as signups permit. If you have any questions about international shipping, please contact the exchange organizer.

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  • What to do when Names are Drawn in Elfster Meet and Gift Exchanges
    I’m in! When will names be drawn?
    Meet and Gift exchanges will generally draw names around the middle of the month on a weekday. You will receive an email letting you know that you’ve been paired up – this may come to your “Promotions” tab if you’re a Gmail user, or your “Spam” box depending on how strict your email security is.

    I’ve been paired up! When can I send my gift?
    You can send your gift any time after names have been drawn. Gifts must be sent on or before the Gift Exchange Date; gifts must arrive before the No-Show date, approximately two weeks after the exchange ends. Please be sure to mark your gift as sent when it is in the mail, and include a tracking number if applicable. Be sure to hang onto your receipt from purchasing the item and/or the post office! Remember, gifts must be within the theme of the exchange and must be new and sealed. Please do not send something random, or something that's been sitting around your home. If you have questions about whether an item falls into the exchange's theme, please contact the organizer

    I can no longer participate! What should I do?
    As soon as you know you will not be able to complete an exchange, please contact the exchange organizer (you can find this on the left of any exchange, or a pinned post at the top of an exchange). From there they can assess what to do next.

    How do I select a gift?
    Elfster does not sell items directly. You can choose something off of your partner’s wish list, or surprise them by picking out something yourself. Gifts must be new and sealed. You are expected to purchase something specifically for this exchange.

    Can I send a gift card, cash, or cheque?
    For a variety of reasons, we do not permit users to send gift cards, cheques, or cash, and they are not considered appropriate gifts. Users who send these instead of an actual gift may be marked as a No-Show for not successfully completing the exchange. In short, you are signing up to send an actual gift.

    My partner doesn’t have a wish list! What should I send?
    Pairings in a Meet and Gift exchanges are not secret, so you can message your partner at any time to get to know them a bit better. If they do not respond, you will have to surprise them – just remember to stay within the theme of the exchange!

    My partner does have a wish list but nothing on it is for the exchange or it's all over the budget of the exchange! What should I send?
    Pairings in a Meet and Gift exchanges are not secret, so you can message your partner at any time to get to know them a bit better. If they do not respond, you will have to surprise them – just remember to stay within the theme of the exchange!
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  • Spending Minimums and Limits in Elfster Meet and Gift Exchanges
    What is the spending minimum?
    Spending minimums will vary depending on the exchange theme. Some will be a percentage (50%), while others may be a specific dollar value. We recommend retaining a proof of purchase for Meet and Gift exchanges. Gift cards are not permitted in any Meet and Gift exchange. Please read the exchange description to see what the minimum is.

    What is the spending limit?
    Spending limits will vary depending on the exchange theme. Some will cost a smaller amount, while others may ask you to make a higher dollar value commitment. Gift cards are not permitted in any Meet and Gift exchange. Please read the exchange description to see what the limit is.

    Do I have to spend that much?
    You will be expected to spend somewhere between the minimum and the limit. This can be on one item or added up among multiple items. Unless otherwise noted, they DO NOT include shipping. Gifts below this limit will not be considered completing the exchange, and participants may be barred from future exchanges, so please consider the spending minimum and limit before signing up to a Meet and Gift exchange. Gift cards are not permitted in any Meet and Gift exchange and will not count towards the exchange minimum.
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  • If You Did Not Receive a Gift From An Elfster Meet and Gift Exchange
    The exchange is over and I don’t have a gift yet! Help?
    Many exchange gifts are sent the last few days of an exchange and are en route when the exchange ends. Here’s 3 steps you can take to see when your gift might arrive:
    1. Check if your partner has marked it as sent, and if they included a tracking number/estimated delivery date, OR
    2. If you have no tracking information or delivery date estimate, click on your partner’s name and choose “SEND A MESSAGE” and let them know their gift has not arrived yet, OR
    3. Click the button that says “NOT YET – SEND AN EMAIL” to contact your partner via email to ask them when your gift might be arriving.

    The exchange organizer will announce the day after the exchange is completed when No-Shows will begin being flagged, usually about two weeks after the exchange date has passed. Remember, there is often a good reason why a gift has not been sent out yet, so please be patient and polite with your elf!

    The exchange is over and I don’t have a gift even after waiting! Help?
    Once the exchange organizer announces they will be marking No-Shows, please follow the instructions in their post, which will typically be to email them, including which exchange the gift has not been delivered from. You MUST have marked your gift as sent and may be required to show proof of purchase/mailing and may be asked for it while the exchange organizer investigates a missing gift.

    The exchange is over and my partner didn’t mark their gift as received! Help?
    Generally speaking, an exchange will be considered complete if your gift has been marked as sent with tracking information showing it arrived at the destination. If you have questions about whether your gift was received, please contact your partner.
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  • If You Did Not Send a Gift / Were Marked as a No-Show In An Elfster Meet and Gift Exchange
    The exchange is over and I wasn’t able to send a gift yet!
    We understand that life events take priority over an Elfster exchange, particularly in the case of family emergencies. If you’re unable to complete the exchange on time due to unforeseen circumstances, please reach out to the exchange organizer and/or your partner to let them know something has come up. If you have an estimated time when the exchange will be completed, let them know.

    I received an email saying I’ve been marked as a No-Show! Why?
    Participants who do not mark gifts as sent, and/or do not respond to their exchange organizer when they follow up to their partner’s messages may be marked as a No-Show. Failing to complete an exchange correctly, such as sending an out-of-context item, used items, or items below the minimum dollar value threshold, may also result in being flagged as a No-Show. This is a way to ensure those who do not complete their exchanges correctly cannot participate moving forward until their current exchanges are completed. To remove your No-Show flag, you simply need to send a gift and for it to be acknowledged as received.

    I received an email saying I’ve been marked as a No-Show, but I sent a gift! What do I do?
    There will be a post at the top of the exchange with the organizer’s email address – please reach out to them with your proof of purchase and/or post office receipt and/or tracking number. The organizer can follow up if additional details are needed.
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Need More Help?

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