Gift exchange games have become an integral part of Christmas culture all around the world and most of us are incredibly familiar with that age old holiday tradition we call “Secret Santa”. Also referred to as Kris Kringle, Wichteln, Yankee Swap and White Elephant in other parts of the world, Secret Santa is the game that keeps the mystery, suspense, and surprise of giving and receiving Christmas gifts alive.
If you are in charge of organising a Secret Santa extravaganza for either your friends, family, or coworkers, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, we look at 6 amazing tips for anyone who is looking to host the best Secret Santa ever, so grab your Christmas stocking and keep on reading to find out more!
Although most of us are very familiar with the rules of Secret Santa, some people may find it an entirely new concept. As such, going through the rules with everyone is always recommended. You can do this in a variety of ways — from sending an email, to calling each and everyone involved up personally. Choose what works best for your and your loved ones, and be sure to explain a hypothetical scenario so people can get an idea of how to play and decide if they want to participate. You can never be too prepared!
Setting a budget early on is the best way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that any gifts exchanged are on a similar playing field cost wise. We advise on setting a budget between $10 to $30 as this offers a decent range of price points that will suit as many people as possible. Secret Santa shouldn’t be a costly game, but setting a minimum budget will help prevent junk items or cringe-worthy gifts from being passed around!
We can’t stress enough how important organisation is when it comes to hosting the perfect Secret Santa event, so setting a deadline and letting everyone involved know exactly when and where the gift exchange will be taking place is absolutely paramount. The last thing you want is for a few unlucky people to end up without any gifts on the day of the event, so be sure to create that deadline and drill it into everyone’s heads as much as possible. You have our permission to be bossy!
Once everyone is well schooled in the rules regarding this fun festivity, it’s finally time to start picking names. The easiest way to do this is to write everyone’s names on a small piece of paper before folding it up and adding it into a bowl, santa hat or any vessel that ensures no one can see what they’re picking. Invite everyone to pick their name out of the “hat”, tell them that if they pick their own name out they should put it back and pick out a new one. Apart from that one exception, no one should be allowed to swap the name they have chosen for another.
Alternatively, if you want to keep things simple and paper-free, there are many online Secret Santa generators that you can use with minimal fuss too!
And now, what we’ve all been waiting for — the day of the gift exchange! Be sure to check that everyone on your Secret Santa list is available on the time and date of your planned gift exchange, and be sure to let everyone know way in advance (the holiday season is one that is super busy, so you’ll want everyone to mark their calendars sooner rather than later).
On the day itself, ensure that each gift is tagged with the recipient’s name as well. Once everyone is present and have brought along their presents, you’re now finally ready to exchange the love. Don’t forget the best part, which is to have everyone guess who their Secret Santa is! Remember — if they can’t guess, their Secret Santa will eventually have to confess.
Finally, it’s worth noting that even if your family, friends, and other loved ones are likely to find themselves on opposite ends of the world come Christmas Day, you can still flex your mom friend muscles and create a socially distanced Secret Santa with just a little bit of quick thinking and stellar organisational skills. There are always ways to keep the celebrations going this Christmas, even if any members of your community are contending against COVID-19 travel restrictions.
It’s no secret why we love Secret Santa gift exchanges — it’s mysterious, magical and simply the perfect way to celebrate the season of giving. We hope that this simple guide has given you all the knowledge and tools you need to organise the best Secret Santa experience for friends, family members and loved ones. Happy holidays!