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How to use Your gift exchange just got easier!

If you are one of the many families who draw names at Christmas instead of buying a gift for each and every aunt, uncle and cousin, I have a tool for you! Okay, it’s not actually my tool, and I’m not even an affliate, but learning to use has been a gamechanger for me and my siblings. And this online name drawing source has been helpful for many of my reader’s as well because my sister Rebekah and I had several comments when we shared about DrawNames on our other website, Life Over Lunch.

Rebekah and I and our two brothers are rarely all together which makes drawing names for Christmas a little tricky. It used to be that most of us were together for Thanksgiving and could put our names into a hat and have Mom draw them out for us. Mom could call whoever missed out and inform them later of their draw. In 2017, it got so late in the year and so complicated that we sort of gave up. Some of the family did not like that, but we didn’t have a good solution.

And then, Draw Names advertised on my Facebook page. We have used them ever since and it was so easy! Just follow their 3 steps. (Uhm… really there are five!)

a screenshot from

One of the problems we struggled with before, was how to make the drawing secret. With, I became the organizer without seeing whom everyone had drawn!

Step One: Enter Your Names.

Create your list. This is the list of everyone who will be in the draw, not just people you, personally, can draw. You can set exclusions in the next step.

Step Two: Set Exclusions

This part is pretty slick. Under each person, I can exclude others from their immediate families! When you use the same groups for consecutive years, you can select to have each member’s previous drawn member excluded for them! I love that!

Step Three: Set Up Details

Here you will give the group a name, set the date, and budget, if you like, and enter a mailing address.

Step Four: Invite Others to Join the Group

Send the invitations to your group via email, text, or more! When each member joins the group, they are given their drawn name and invited to fill out a wishlist. There is also a place to add wishlists of children who aren’t part of the drawing! Draw Names thinks of everything!

a screenshot from

Draw Names also allows me as the organizer to make changes in the event date, budget, wish list visibility, exclusions and remove a member. Not sure what the latter would do to the draw, but I don’t really plan to use that option anyway.

Hope you will check out Draw Names for your online name drawing! Be sure to pin my post for your own reminder and to share with others!

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This Post Has 2 Comments


    How do I exclude myself as the Organizer from the list?

    1. Penny Davidson

      Hi Vanessa! Thanks for the question. Let me just say, DrawNames is not my site, I’m just a user. If you set up the DrawNames you will be the Organizer. If you would like to be excluded from the draw, you have the ability to exclude names for each individual. Here’s what I would try: when you set up exclusions, exclude everyone else’s name from your drawing. Under each of the others, exclude yourself. I’m not really sure what DrawNames would do at that point. Another idea: set up a fictious individual and design your exclusions in such a way that you are forced to draw with the fictious person. Or thirdly, reach out to concerning your question. Or lastly, you could hand off the job to someone included in the draw. Hope this helps!

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