So, my Secret Santa post from last holiday season is becoming pretty popular again, as the season of gift giving and exchanges is now upon us! I am that person who gets way too involved in their Secret Santa exchange, to the point where I folded one hundred origami cats and taped up a Christmas tree of asthmatic cats in the spirit of the holiday. (I swear, it related to the overall theme. I’m not a weirdo spreading disease for Christmas.) In my opinion, I believe that Secret Santa is more about the fun and secrecy than it is about the gift itself. Yes, you should put thought and effort into the gift, but you should also have fun with the entire process!
I like to think of myself as a ninja elf in this whole process. I want to bring someone joy, happiness, and entertainment, and I want to do it as secretly as possibly until the very last minute. I promise, it makes it more fun for everyone involved! I have some recommendations on how to streamline the process, and make it more enjoyable for everyone involved.
1) Draw Names Early, Use an App If Needed
I would give at least two weeks to shop for a gift, as that will allow someone to put it on their next paycheque if that is easier for them! It also allows everyone more time to think about what they would actually like to get for the person they have. If not everyone is in the same place, use a Secret Santa app! I just searched the Google Play Store, and picked the app with the highest rating, My Secret Santa (see above). If you do use an app, make sure to tell everyone to check their spam/junk/trash/dryer where are emails are lost like socks- there’s a good likelihood it will get bumped to another folder.
One warning: I haven’t found an app yet that will allow you to resend someone’s email with their target, they all seem to reshuffle if you send the email again.
Ahhh, the asthmatic cats.
2) Plan Out Your Gifts
Some Secret Santa exchanges are a one shot deal, one present for each person, while others have multiple parts. For example, at work we do one $5 present in week one, another $5 present in week two, and a $15 present in week three. If you have multiple parts to buy, sit down and plan it all at once! I like to buy multiple presents (totalling up to given value) even for one shot exchanges, but I make sure to plan it out so I don’t end up buying a bunch of weird odds and ends that don’t fit together as a cohesive whole.
3) Give Enough Information
Don’t just draw names and leave it at that, unless everyone is the absolute best of friends and there isn’t a single thing you don’t know about each other. If it is an office or larger group situation, I would recommend that everyone fill out a half sheet with their favourites: music, food, drinks, snacks, sports teams, hobbies, books, movies, whatever. That way whomever happens to be the Santa isn’t fumbling around in the dark trying to figure out if you would enjoy dark chocolate covered ju-jubes when you actually prefer to eat All Dressed chips! It also just makes for a great way to get know the people around you.
You’re going to want someone like this to help…
4) Enlist Others’ Help If Needed
If you really want to get your target involved, I would recommend including some sort of scavenger hunt. Send them to different people to do different things- holiday selfie with a garland, anyone? Jumping jacks to work off those holiday cookies? Count the candy canes in a jar? All acceptable means to acquiring a present. You can also have someone else write your note/card if you would like it to remain totally secret, which I highly recommend if it is a multiple event exchange!
Some of the origami cats I folded…
5) Enjoy It!
Wear your holiday sweater, throw on some fuzzy socks, and eat a candy cane- it’s holiday time and you may as well enjoy it! Be silly and goofy, and don’t take it too seriously. Between work, family, friends, and everything else, the holidays can be nutso- this is chance to be a little silly and have some fun with it while you can. Remember, the fun is in the giving, and you are in charge of it! Don’t let anyone rain on your Santa parade, I certainly don’t 🙂
Are you involved in any Secret Santa exchanges this holiday season? Anyone need any help- I’m happy to elf for you!