The 5 Best Secret Santa Apps for 2019

Do name draws and more with these top gift exchange apps

A man using an app on his iPhone while standing in front of a Christmas tree.

OlgaEfimova/EyeEm/Getty Images

There are a variety of free and paid Secret Santa organizer apps for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, each with their own unique take on the Kris Kringle gift-giving tradition and different interpretation of the Christmas aesthetic. Here are some of the best Secret Santa apps worth checking out this holiday season.

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Most Fully-Featured Secret Santa App: Elfster

Elfster Secret Santa app on iPhone.

Elfster

What We Like

  • Can invite friends from Facebook and your phone's address book.

  • Built-in wishlist feature makes it easy to suggest gift ideas.

  • Convenient budget, location, and date options.

What We Don't Like

  • You need to create an account to use.

  • Requires iOS 10.3 and higher which means it won't work on older devices.

Elfster is by far the best Secret Santa app on iOS and Android. In addition to creating a Secret Santa event with a custom name, time, and date, Elfster also lets organizers set a gift budget and offer gift suggestions to their mystery Kris Kringle through a native wish list feature.

The Elfster Secret Santa generator is available on both iOS and Android devices and also has a web version for family members and friends who are unlucky enough to be without a smartphone or tablet.

All of Elfster's features are completely free, though an account is needed either by signing up for a free Elfster account or by logging in with Facebook.

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Most Functional Secret Santa App: Simple Secret Santa Generator

Simple Secret Santa Generator app on iPhone

AnthonyDito

What We Like

  • Very clean design that's easy to understand.

  • No unnecessary padding or advertising.

  • Native share options.

What We Don't Like

  • May be too simple for people used to more visual apps.

  • No options for gift budget.

Simple Secret Santa Generator is an app that definitely lives up to its name. This Kris Kringle organizer features almost no graphics in its design and is purely focused on functionality and organization.

To make a Secret Santa list, all you need to do is enter a name and description, then send all participants an invite. Friends and family members can be sent an invite link via an email or text message, but what's really impressive is the native share options which allows you to send an invite via pretty much every major messaging app on your iPhone or Android smartphone.

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Most Diverse Draw Names Secret Santa App: Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Secret Santa Gift Exchange app on iPhone

 Joylord Systems

What We Like

  • A variety of themes for different celebrations.

  • Option to export lists as PDF files.

  • Easy to set a budget for gifts.

What We Don't Like

  • Free version is limited to six participants and one event.

  • $5 to unlock all features is pretty expensive.

Secret Santa Gift Exchange is another fully-featured Kris Kringle organizer app worth checking out. Like most of the others, it also lets you create and manage a Secret Santa event and invite guests, but it also boasts a great budget setting that's easy to use and an ability to export the generated list as a PDF file, which can be really useful for when you need to print the list out.

However, what really sets this Secret Santa app apart from the others is how it lets you customize its appearance when you first start the app. In addition to the expected Santa themes, you can also choose to use this as a generic gift exchange app or for a Hanukkah celebration.

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Coolest Secret Santa Organizer App: Secret Santa Service

Secret Santa Service app on iPhone

David Hsieh

What We Like

  • Very cool take on the Secret Santa concept.

  • Very easy to use with a streamlined interface.

  • App emails all participants.

What We Don't Like

  • Groups larger than four require a $0.99 paid upgrade.

  • Not available for Android devices.

Secret Santa Service is a Secret Santa generator with a very cool design aesthetic that will appeal to those who aren't really into the whole cute cartoon Santa and elf look used by almost every other Christmas app out there.

The focus here is on productivity and functionality, with the ability to enter participants' names, assign roles, and email targets all taking less than a minute.

That said, a $0.99 upgrade is required to generate a Secret Santa activity with more than four people, which is a bit of a downer.

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Best Online Secret Santa Generator App for Families: Santa's Secret Keeper

Santa's Secret Keeper app on iPhone

What We Like

  • No limitations on number of groups or participants.

  • Ability to prevent certain pairings is a game-changer.

What We Don't Like

  • App can be a little confusing at first.

  • No texting or messaging support.

Santa's Secret Keeper is one of the best free Secret Santa apps on iOS and Android that lets you create as many groups as you like and places no limitations on the number of people you can add to each event.

Event creations let you set a minimum and maximum gift price, as well as custom instructions for everyone to read, but the real feature that sets this app apart is the ability to prevent certain participants from matching with each other. This is fantastic for groups of friends or families who want to avoid drama over the holiday season between mutuals who may have unresolved issues with one another.