Every year, we siblings and their spouses (or significant others as the case may be) in the clan Dunn get together and exchange gifts. Years ago, we decided that trying to get each person a gift was a bit burdensome and it diluted the value of the gift. Instead, we decided to do the Secret Santa - each person getting a name and spending ~$50 on that person.
Well, we used to actually see each other before Xmas and pull names out of the hat. Not so much anymore. As such, it was getting harder and harder to pull names. I tried setting up some programs, Excel sheets, etc. to pick names randomly and email, but I always ended up knowing who my Secret Santa was since I was the admin, and since I also didn't have time to put in fancy restrictions like 'no spouses' or 'no reciprocity' (i.e. A gets B and B gets A), people complained.
I found the solution: The Secret Santa Random Name Generator
It will even hide the names from you and email the people on your behalf. You can also list exclusions in the picker. The really great part: it's free and I don't have register for anything. Admittedly, I have to give up an email address - but with the amount of spam I get already, I doubt this will turn the tide.
December 7, 2008
This is the personal site of Ryan Dunn, former Windows Azure Technical Evangelist and co-author of the
The .NET Developers Guide to Directory Services Programming.
Ryan works for Aditi where he builds software for Windows Azure
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