Secret Santa: Fun or Fraught with Danger?

by Emma W.R. on December 2, 2016

Christmas is right around the corner and many individuals will be partaking in a Secret Santa. Secret Santa’s are usually a great idea for big families or for large groups of coworkers since it’s simply way too much for everyone to get someone something. Most people are looking to cut down wherever they can during the holidays since costs can add up quickly – but is Secret Santa fun or fraught with danger? Let’s look into both and see.  

Why it’s Fun

A secret Santa can be very fun because of the suspense around it. No one should know who your secret Santa is. Getting someone a surprise gift is always fun, especially when you don’t know much about the person. This challenge makes it fun and eventful. It’s also fun because once the exchange takes place – you never know what you’ll get or from who! Secret Santa is a great bonding experience for families. Make it more fun by setting a date & time for the exchange to take place, ideally over lunch and/or drinks. Everyone will look forward to spending time together and enjoying each other’s company.  

Why it’s fraught with danger

Although Secret Santa can be very fun, it can be dangerous if it’s not planned correctly. For example, everyone should be aware of setting a minimum or maximum on gift purchasing. You don’t want to receive a digital camera from someone who only received a sweater. The secret Santa organizer needs to ensure that this won’t happen.

Another potential issue with secret Santa’s – gifting something the receiver really loathes. Some people love receiving clothing. Others don’t. The trick is to do some research into what the receiver likes – maybe even asking someone who knows the person and isn’t involved in the secret Santa for hints or ideas. What does the person like? What would they appreciate as a gift? If you’re not sure, why not gift something that anyone would like? There are many generic gift ideas available online.

Overall, a secret Santa exchange can be fraught with danger depending on how well it’s organized. The best secret Santa’s put a limit on the amount of money that should be spent. The organizer should make this very clear to everyone. As long as everyone involved realizes that the secret Santa is meant to bring everyone together and be a fun activity, all should work out! Have FUN!

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Sammie May 8, 2018 at 11:57 am

I love Secret Santa! You definitely have to set up ground rules though so everyone is on the same page.


Ajanaye Fleming September 14, 2017 at 12:40 pm

One year while participating in secret santa, I received perfume from your local walgreens and out dated candy, with the pricing still attached of course.


Fran May 15, 2017 at 10:48 am

Keep your expectations low and nothing can go wrong haha


Francine February 13, 2017 at 8:20 am

Secret Santas can be so so stressful! If you don’t know someone and there’s a formal exchange, the pressure’s on! I’ve always wanted to host one but to have everyone give one serious gift and one silly one, that way the cost is divvyed up but the gift feels like more. This also adds to the light-heartedness of the event, making the shopping more fun.


Mark January 27, 2017 at 12:45 pm

My family does a secret Santa for the adults. We always buy for the kids, but those who are grown don’t need as much.


ALyssa January 23, 2017 at 12:24 pm

These are really great for an office. We do a a grab bag and usually fill with gag gifts at our party.


Kristen January 20, 2017 at 9:52 am

I think people have more fun with secret santas. You just need to get one gift so you can put way more thought and effort into it.


Mandy January 17, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Secret Santa is OK, but I prefer a “grab bag” where everyone brings in a gender neutral gift of a decided upon dollar amount, and then you play the Stealing Game. Everyone is given a number. As each person gets their turn to choose a gift, they can either choose a gift from the gift table or decide to steal a gift from someone who went before them. The person whose gift gets stolen also gets to pick a new gift, either from someone else or from the gift table. It is a lot of fun and takes up some time at the department holiday party. Of course, the person who has the highest number gets the best pick of all of the gifts!


Leslie Anne January 16, 2017 at 9:55 am

Secret Santas are a fun way to change up gift giving. It makes it a lot easier and more affordable when you have a big group to buy for.


Sidney January 11, 2017 at 10:35 am

Our secret Santa was easy because we had everyone bring wine. Can’t go wrong with that and everyone ended up with a new bottle to try.


Yvette January 10, 2017 at 9:11 am

My office does one with gag gifts and a $10 limit, which ends up being really fun. We just make sure people stay semi-appropriate with the gifts!


Elena January 9, 2017 at 2:53 pm

We did a secret santa this year and I got $25 worth of scratchoffs. I ended up winning close to $70 on them!


Arianna January 9, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Secret Santas and White Elephants are so much fun – especially when you get joke gifts. It is great for office parties or if you have a large family.


Shelby January 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

My office did a huge secret santa this year. It was so much fun and we all got a lot of laughs out of it.


Amanda December 9, 2016 at 2:55 pm

I think doing a secret Santa is fun, a lot less stress for the holidays.


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