santa-rally-getty-1024x640-57eda8bbaf9e4-57eda8bbd011eIt’s that wonderful time of the year again! You know that pre-holiday feeling when everything gets a whole lot merrier. Christmas is just around the corner, and everybody is super excited about it. Since Christmas is a giving holiday, the gift exchange is a must! That’s why I adore everything about December. You get to spread some Christmas cheer and surprise someone – what’s more Christmassy than that? Secret Santa is known as the greatest joy-bearer. It is super funny and somehow amazing to surprise someone who usually is not on your holiday list, and there is a double element of surprise when you get your present and finally find out who is your Secret Santa!

If you don’t know how to organize or participate in his gift-giving game, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to light the Christmas spark in your life!

Drawing the Names

The old-fashioned way is writing names of all the participants on a piece of paper. If you are doing this with friends, names only are enough. But, if we are talking about organizing a Secret Santa for a big group, there is always a chance that people don’t know each other very well. If that’s the case, it would be a good idea to have people write down a few things about themselves. That way, the person in charge of your gift would have a clue on what to buy. Just don’t exaggerate – I could also add that I’m a “Kindle lover”, but it is ungrateful to expect to get one. Secret Santa is symbolic.

Write your names on a piece of paper, put all the bits of paper into a box or a hat (if it’s Christmassy decorated even better) and pass it around for everyone to draw just one name – that name is the person they are getting a present for. The tricky thing is that you can draw your own name and have to redraw, or that some people are not physically there so you have to haul them in.

The second way of playing Secret Santa is digitally – that’s how my friends and I do it. You can use an app which helps you draw names virtually, and some of them even offer you to make a wishlist.

2. Choosing a gift
…things can get a little tricky. When you are buying a gift for a friend, it’s pretty easy. You already know what will make a perfect Christmas present. But when you are getting a gift for someone you’re not as close to, that can be a bit more of a pickle.

If there is a wishlist, stick to it, and all of your problems are solved. If not, you can try a few different approaches. Maybe check your their social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and see if there is anything usable there. A lot of people tend to share things they are passionate about, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find some valuable information.

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If social media posts fail you, don’t give up. You can try SecretSanta.me and let the app decide for you, or at least give you a couple of ideas. This is basically a Christmas tombola – you launch the app, spin the Secret Santa Tombola and the Secret Santa.Me will find the perfect present and let you purchase it on Amazon.

How does it work? The app will ask you a few questions first: who are you buying present for – boy or girl, what kind of a gift you want to buy – cute, cheeky or fun, and what’s your price limit. Then you’re all set to press spin, and let Secret Santa.Me choose a perfect gift for you.

3. Filling in the details
The best thing about Secret Santa is that you’ll get a gift whether you’ve been good or bad during the previous 12 months. But that doesn’t mean this game doesn’t have some ground rules.

The first one: set up a price limit. As I already said, Secret Santa is symbolic. By selecting a happy medium price range, you are taking a lot of pressure off. The whole point is to have fun, not to fret over whether you’ve spent enough money on your gift.

The second-one: setting a gift-giving date is a must! This is how my friends and I do it. Firstly, we choose a date for decorating a Christmas tree and have a photo shoot (yes, we all wear ugly Christmas sweaters which I adore – they’re so funny). Then we pick a date for a gift exchange, and it is obligatory. Just make sure the date is set a few days before the holidays, in case some people have vacation travel plans – you don’t wait to ruin that!

4. Exchanging gifts
The exchanging gifts day has come. Finally, here comes the easiest and the most exciting part – unwrapping the gifts. You can do it more formal, by letting the person who organized the event start the process by presenting allotted present to the person from their Secret Santa note. Then that person gives the gift to their allotted Secret Santa gift recipient and this goes on until everybody has their present. Trust me, there will be a lot of Christmas cheer around! It is more than acceptable if unwrapping your Christmas gift makes you excited as a little kid.

With my friends we do it differently. We have all the gifts under the tree labeled with the names of the recipients. We take turns and just looks for a gift with our name on it, and then guess who bought it. Never let it slip who are you giving a gift to before the actual exchange – it’s all about the element of surprise!