Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Save on Gift Giving

By Lingxiao Li

Holiday seasons are coming. Most of us are preparing gifts for family and friends.
If you’re planning to spend less on holiday gifts this season, instead of buying smaller and cheaper gifts for everyone on your list, consider setting up a high-tech Secret Santa program with your family or at your workplace.
With Secret Santa swaps, each member of the participating group is assigned another member to give a gift to anonymously, allowing participants to save because they only have to buy a gift for one person in the group. And setting up a swap no longer has to involve pulling names out of a hat. A slew of online sites and services can help you organize the swap and do the assigning for you.
Such sites say they have noticed more interest in the exchanges since the recession began. At one site, Elfster, users can create free group gift exchanges, specifying the spending limits and the e-mails of participating members. The site will then do the name drawing and let each participant know who they are buying a gift for. Users of the site can also send anonymous notes to others in their group (think “what does mom really want”) and create gift wish lists.
The number of gift exchanges started on Elfster in the week ending yesterday is up 58percent from the same period last year, which is more than double last year’s growth rate. There is more interest than ever in Secret Santa programs from consumers and also retailers, who are recognizing that consumers are looking for a more cost-effective holiday experience(NY Times).


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