Secret Sister Gift Exchange Complete How-To with Free Printables and Ideas
Encouragement, Family Fun Activities

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

Preparations

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!

This is my passion project. I also have essential oils I love and my new store on Etsy called Blyss Your Heart Design . If you like my voice and blog then let’s connect in either way. You can message me, collab or buy my stuff. I’ll love you either way! Go to Facebook group Blyss Your Heart to where the magic of connecting to like-minded people is happening right now!

My opinions are 100% my own and I only post on things I use on myself and my family. If you found this valuable at all please help me spread the word by sharing this to your favorite Social Media platform.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosures Page for more information.

 

 

Family Fun Activities

McWane Science Center Birmingham, AL

A few years ago, when my oldest was about 1 years old I worked at a daycare. I was the school-age kids after school teacher. Parts of the job were awful like the noise, and having to extend all your patience to come home to your own screaming toddler (who was at the daycare as well so that didn’t help) but parts of it like the field trips were AMAZING because it opened my eyes to so much family activity in Alabama that I didnt realize were here! This introduced me to the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, AL and we are now members because we love it so much and YOU WILL TOO!!

If you are looking for fun things to do in Birmingham Alabama and learning resources you must see the McWane Center!!

The McWane Science Center has 4 FLOORS of FUN!
(This is not in order by floors or anything just highlighting what my boys love going to the best!)

They have special areas for younger children including the brand new Itty Bitty Magic City where toddlers and babies can play. Both of mine can go in since Samuel is still in Kindergarten but after this summer he won’t be allowed. It has all kinds of imaginative play like a grocery store, veterinarian clinic, firetrucks and so much more! This is also where the water area is. The water area is pretty cool in itself just make sure you bring a shirt for your little ones!

They also have a really cool “touch tank”. “The Shark & Ray Touch Tank features Bamboo Sharks, Bonnethead Sharks, Cownose Rays and Southern Raysin”-McWane Center It an underwater sea level that even conducts presentations on smaller animals that you get to touch that are not in the “touch tank” like we just got to touch the “horseshoe crab and learned that their feet on the bottom look like spider legs! YUCK!! …but my boys loved it!

There is a dinosaurs on one level and a really neat office space that holds fossils, little containers of the life cycles of animals (like a frog, roach, and grasshopper) which is really awesome to see. I loved this little area but I have to coax the kids to stick around.

Why do we get the membership? First, I thought we had seen it once, so why would we go again? I was so wrong. We first got the membership because it was only slightly more than 1 visit for us and it is for an entire year! I thought on those really hot summer days or when it got super cold outside and we didn’t have anything to do, we could just go there instead. I am so excited I was thinking that way because they change ALOT! They have special times during the year where they add attractions and different events that go on there too! Plus you get discounts on birthday parties, free parking, and discounts on the food and IMAX tickets, so that’s a win-win-win-win! This has literally become one of our monthly family leisure go-to’s! Because now that we have the membership, it is the cheapest thing we get to do because it’s free!!

**Calling all Train LOVERS**

At Christmas they have a train exhibit which is worth a special visit. They have i-spy’s on the exhibits of the miniature train scenes which are so beautiful and extravagant that is must have been the life’s work of these contributors. And with the membership you get free train rides which my little guy can ride the entire time we were there if we let him!

The McWane Center is a must for any family adventurer that visits or lives in Birmingham, Alabama! It’s so much family fun packed inside a building! Myself and my husband always has a blast when we go.

Every exhibit they have is a chance to learn something new while you are having so much fun and I think my boys and EVEN ME learn best that way right?!?! The last time we went, Tyler was even called up to be a volunteer with a “combustion” experiment where they heated balloons with different gases in them and made them explode!

We love our McWane Center and we hope you do too! If you go here you can plan your visit.

We recommend:

  1. Wearing your comfortable shoes
  2. Bringing a stroller if you need it for a toddler it is a good bit of walking(they have stroller parking in the Itty Bitty City)
  3. Wearing a backpack for your valuables  
  4. Bringing a water bottle (They only have a few water fountains and the food court is  on the first level only)
  5. Take LOTS of pictures!!!!! 
  6. Going to the site and planning your trip!! You don’t want to miss any corners of fun!

 

I did not receive any compensation including free admission on this post. The opinions here are 100% my own.

 

Family Fun Activities

My husband beat me to a 5K!

Wanted to share a quick post, so with all the running I do, I have never decided to do a 5K before…. and MY HUSBAND BEAT ME TO IT! I am so proud of the journey he has began and in a very short time (about 2 and a half months now) he has lost 30 pounds and is steadily going for more! I can’t wait to see the transformation! Here is a before and after and some pictures from the race! I’m joining in on the next one!…Send me some comments or pictures of your 5K’s! I would love to see them!

Before:

We were at the Vulcan and baby bear was super nervous about going up to the top with Daddy!20170827_190743

Essential Oils, Family Fun Activities

Our New Weekly Tradition

Something stood out to me last week and I have decided to make a new weekly family tradition. That would be to have one COMPLETE family day per week. My personal why for doing all that I am doing now is to be home more with my family and to create financial freedom. So, in the process I have neglected my time with the family and have been blurring alot of the lines. Even though I know I have a LONG road ahead to really step into my dreams, I can’t replace any time that goes by RIGHT NOW. So for those of you who’s reasoning is family or creating memories, I just urge you to really think about delegating “office hours” or “family time only”. It’s so easy to be tempted in checking all your messages and groups and website (especially now since it’s growing). So have those moments with your family uninterrupted (turn your phone off or on airplane mode if you have to) and create those memories even if it is going to the movies, or eating popsicles , or going to the park because in the end those little things that you DRAG them to kicking and screaming are the memories they cherish the most when they get older. Juggling it all is worth it and you are worth it and your family is WORTH IT. Don’t get too caught up in the business that you forget the true why you started to do all of it in the first place. Today we went to Summit Cinemas and watched Justice League and last week we watched Thor (love to get the yearly popcorn bucket and so it takes a lot less to go to the movies). We also went to Steel City Pops which you should definitely try when you are out and about holiday shopping! We also went to Target and made a shopping list and a wish list for their Christmas (and got mommy a coffee) and then we came back to the house to enjoy a Christmas movie at home with hot chocolate and putting up the Christmas tree before going to bed! (had some young living “Christmas Spirit” essential oils going in the diffuser) Some of the things we did on our family day:

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If you would like to learn more about the essential oils visit: Blyss’ Young Living

Family Fun Activities, Saving Money, Uncategorized

My Journey with Hello Fresh!

Ok, first haha no I am not making money from Hello Fresh…but if you want to give it a go I have a coupon that gives you a coupon and me a coupon for later! Let’s get on with it shall we? So there have been so many of my friends using hello fresh and when I saw a coupon, I jumped in! That’s money saved on my groceries plus I don’t have to shop! To try it for yourself and get your coupon just click on me!

Here’s my picture journey:

 

I absolutely loved that my kids were excited to get in on the cooking and I didn’t have to measure or anything for them! Just had to make sure they didn’t burn themselves. We chose the 3 day a week family plan for 4 servings per recipe. We loved all the healthy meals plus we got to save the leftovers for my lunch the next day too because there was a lot of food. I absolutely love the food delivery services now so I’m curious about delivering groceries now too, how much time we would save in a week at the grocery store? I think they are onto something here…

To try it for yourself and get your coupon just click on me!