Secret Sister Gift Exchange Complete How-To with Free Printables

Secret Sister Gift Exchange
Complete How-To

I have recently been asked to be the Secret Sister Gift Exchange Coordinator at our church. I jumped on the opportunity because I love getting more involved with the responsibilities at church + WHO DOESN’T LOVE BRINGING JOY TO OTHERS BY GIVING GIFTS!!! But there is one catch…I haven’t ever participated in a Secret Sister Gift Exchange, like ever. That’s right! Sure, I have played Secret Santa but usually that is only once a year and only one gift per person and you swap them around easy! So I started doing research and there really isn’t step by step directions out there that I could find on the process so I decided to gather my information and put it in a simple easy to use Secret Sister Gift Exchange Complete How-To!

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Secret Sister Gift Exchange Complete How-To with Free Printables


The first step in any project you take on is to research. I have included a questionnaire to help you organize your research and plans in color and in b&w In Secret Sister you can make up your own rules and guidelines but I have included the ones we used so you can get some ideas on the most basic ones. There are several things you want to consider as you plan your SS event:

Who will be the main SS coordinator for your event?

This person will be in charge of getting the forms handed out, pairing SS’s, following up to make sure gifts are being delivered to all the SS’s on time and planning the reveal party or event at the end.

How long will your SS event last?

Some have chosen short amounts of time such as a month or two but we chose to do ours for 12 months with fewer gifts in between.

How often are gifts or mail delivered?

This depends on the event participants mostly but do something manageable for your time frame. If it it a shorter amount of time say, a month then maybe a once a week gift, possibly twice a week if your participants are willing to do this. If it is a longer amount of time, like a year, you will want to do something that is manageable for all participants to do so we chose one gift per month but no specific date to deliver by.

Where is the gift drop location?

This is a must so you can remain secretive throughout the event. You will most likely not be mailing packages but if so you will want to leave off the return address. This might be a little uneasy for your group since you would want to make sure it would get back to you if you got something wrong on the address. We chose a central location in a building our church own’s since our church building is going under construction over the next few months. The SS Coordinator will be responsible for checking to make sure the gifts are being picked up and contacting those that have a gift in the location.

What is the dollar minimum/maximum for your Secret Sister Gift Exchange?

You want to set a manageable budget for you gifts in the time frame you chose. We set a minimum budget of $5 on any gifts but no maximum for this time around.

The Big Reveal Party Planning

If you have a longer time frame on your Secret Sister reveal exchange then you can wait to answer these questions a few months out but the earlier the better!

What is your budget for the reveal party?

Is this something your office/church/workplace is providing a budget for or is it out of pocket? Are you throwing a fundraiser to fund the party reveal with the participants? This will determine if you will be hosting a party, or simply getting together to announce the names.

Who can volunteer at the party?

Volunteers are always helpful and the Secret Sister Event Coordinator will need help with the party to ensure success!

When will the reveal be?

Dates and Times are important for all participants to be there. A great idea is to host a poll for a handful of predetermined dates/times for all secret sisters to vote on which is best for them.

Where will the party be?

If it is a smaller group, maybe consider an in-home option or maybe a workspace office if you have one. If you have a larger crowd with a bigger budget you might want to go ahead and start looking into renting a space for your event.

What type of food will you serve?

Again this will depend largely on your budget. A dinner out at a restaurant while hosting it in the larger event room if it is available is a great option. You can cater in if you have a larger crowd. Perhaps you want to opt for something more cozy like a potluck or maybe just some finger foods.

Will you bring one final gift for your secret sister gift exchange?

You can enjoy one final opening of a present and finally get to see your sister open up her present! You can also choose not to if people are chipping in to the budget or hosting a potluck type dinner where people are already contributing but it is completely your choice! (considering your participants of course)

Secret Sister Gift Exchange Guidelines

I have included “Being a Great Secret Sister” in color and b&w for you to review and add in your own dates, times, and locations if you would like to just use our rules we had. It also includes a few starter ideas for those who need a nudge in the right direction.

  • All Secret Sisters must fill our the “Secret Sister Survey” and I have also included one in color and b&w for your secret sisters to fill out
  • After coordinator pairs sisters, read over and try to jot down any ideas for gifts, quotes, or sayings that come to you
  • Be sure to write specific dates down not to forget an important birthday or anniversary
  • It is a great idea to jot down one date to send out your gift each week/month depending on your time frame of your event. The longer the event the easier it is to forget to send by each deadline
  • Make sure you comply with the budget the coordinator sets for the event
  • Remember to remain SECRET, that’s the whole fun of it!
  • Include any other rules/guidelines to make sure all participants know exactly what is needed from them

Secret Sister Gift Exchange Ideas

Refer back to “Being a Great Secret Sister” for this small list of ideas to start off with.

Think outside of the box, don’t choose the obvious gift options. Try to mix and match ideas when possible . Example: favorite fruit=cherries, favorite chocolate- dark=dark chocolate covered cherries

+Maybe her favorite color and flower on a beautiful scarf from her favorite place to shop!

+Print out a favorite scripture and decorate it

+Share a favorite snack with some of her favorite foods and include the recipe on a cute card. I love getting different patterns and mixing them up to hand out.

+Give a bouquet of favorite candies

+Gift her a CD mix of her favorite style of music

AND…if you want to get really sneaky, have a friend (who the secret sister doesn’t know) deliver her favorite coffee to her work in a new cute mug

And of course….

Pinterest is your best friend (tons of amazing ideas-try it if you need inspiration.)

Successful Wishes!

I hope I have provided you with enough tips, guidelines, and ideas to kick off your Secret Sister Gift Exchange. I hope your event as well as ours is a raving success! If you have any other tips for a new Secret Sister, please write some in the comments! I would also love to know if the printables helped your event. Please note if you wished something else might have been included on them!

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