One of my favorite activies during Christmas is Secret Santa. It’s fun and light-hearted and if you have a lot of people to buy for it can eliminate some present-buying stress.
Every year I do Secret Santa with two groups.
we have 13 people in our department. Secret Santa helps my wallet because I only have to buy for one person. It also includes everyone so that if one person decides, as is their right, to not buy a gift for everyone, no one is hurt. With Secret Santa everyone gets a special gift from someone.
WHAT WE DO: We pass out a questionnaire and everyone fills one out. The questions are get to know your tastes and you kind of things. The day before Thanksgiving we all crowd around and the questionnaire’s go into a bag. From there we all reach in and secretly choose who we’re buying for by randomly grabbing a questionnaire.
GAG GIFT: One or two weeks later we all get together and gag gifts are handed out. At this point no one knows who has who, except for yourself of course. For example, one of my coworkers HATES iceberg lettuce, so if I were her secret santa I would totally buy her some iceberg lettuce as a gag gift. Last year my boss was on a no-doughnut diet (he LOVES doughnuts), so the person who was his secret santa gave him doughnuts as his gag gift. The gag gift gives clues as to who has who, most of the time.
Using the gag gift as clues, we each write down our guesses as to who has who for a secret santa (along with $1, and winner takes the pot).
REAL GIFT: About a week after the gag gifts are done and guesses are in we give the real gift, which is a value of approximately $25 (Our one rule is: no gift cards). See, if we were giving to 13 people instead of just 1 there was no way most of us could afford a $25 gift for each person. The day we do the real gift we all get together and have a nice lunch.
The other group I do Secret Santa with are my friends. There is a group of friends that I hang out with that I have known since high school. There’s only four of us so I’ve tried to make the secret santa fun and interesting.
Handmade Only: The first year that we did this I made the rule that all gifts had to be handmade. It was probably one of my favorite Christmas gift exchanges ever. Everyone got really into it and really creative according to who they had. There was handmade jewelry, this absolutely awesome toothpick catcher – it was this wood thing and she made it so that it would bend down and grab a toothpick. I wrote my person a story of the four of us as superheroes with really outrageously bad powers – I had the power to stop a clock from ticking, another friend had the power of being able to knit anything quickly, another one had the power to pour ice from her hands. Everything was amazing. I really did love that Christmas.
Group present: This was another fun one, but very time consuming. The deal for this one was that the other 3 would get together and make a present for the other one. So there were four groups making presents. My friends are the best. They spent days sewing me a quilt. It was touching.
More than one gift. I’ve wanted to try this one but haven’t yet. The idea is to have secret santas and the santas give a lot of small gifts. You give a daily or weekly gift for a set amount of time.
White Elephant. In White Elephant, which isn’t secret santa, but is sometimes used in lieu of it, gifts are opened one by one and people are allowed to “steal” gifts that have already been opened. I’m not the biggest fan of white elephant because really it’s all about who gets the crappiest gift. There were only two times that I enjoyed myself. Once because my husband and I brought these two huge WWE wrestling plaques as our gift. Now that was fun to watch someone open. The other time was when we did this for Valentine’s day and the theme was Cheesy Valentine’s Day gifts. Fun-ny. I got scratch off love lotto tickets and a rose that sings and sparkles.
Scavenger Hunt: Speaking of Secret Santa, one of my dear friends came to me yesterday asking if I can put together a scavenger hunt for our secret santa this year (I guess she’s tired of hand-making stuff 😉 ). A Secret Santa scavenger hunt? I have no clue what I’ll do, but it sounds like fun.