Just as the Elf on the Shelf is the new Santa, and gift cards are the new presents, Secret Santa gifts are the new and improved Yankee Swaps. Odds are that you will be involved in at least one Secret Santa exchange this holiday season, whether it be the student/teacher gift swap hosted by student council right here at HHS, something you organized with your friend group, or even as a part of a sports team or club. If you have never heard of Secret Santa, it is not too difficult to understand. Basically, all participants write their names on slips of paper and throw them in a hat. Everyone chooses a name and buys a gift for the chosen person! Part of the fun is just wondering who could have your name and what they could be buying as your surprise. Usually, the group gets together and exchanges gifts at a holiday party complete with the Secret Santa “reveal.” These parties can be a lot of fun, and a telling test to see just how well your friends know you and the things you like. On the flip side, you may end up with a joke gift when you have put time and effort into buying something thoughtful for your person. Based on the gifts swaps I have been involved in over the past few years, I decided to create a code of Secret Santa etiquette. All you have to do is follow the tips below and not only will your gift be the best one at the party, but everyone will want you to be a part of their swap next year!
As a secret Santa, DO:
- Take into consideration the person you chose when buying their gift. You might like that necklace, but would the person you are buying for like it? Think about their hobbies, tastes, and personal style when choosing what to get them.
- Consult the friends of the person you are buying for. You never know, they could have been talking about a product they really want for months, all you have to do is ask and you will be guaranteed with a successful gift!
- Drop hints about the kind of gift you want. If you don’t want a joke gift, then say it. If there is a super cute shirt you have been eyeing at the store, you can mention it the next time your Secret Santa group is all together. People will be keeping their ears open for ideas, so if there is something you really want don’t hesitate to mention it!
- Stick to the money limit that your group has agreed on. If you spend less, the recipient might be disappointed with the gift and feel that you didn’t want to spend the money on them, but if you spend more others might feel bad that their gifts are not as nice. Try your best to stay to the set price and look for deals so you can get more for your money!
- Write a thank you note! Your Santa will definitely appreciate knowing that you loved your gift and took the time to say it.
As a secret Santa, DON’T:
- Buy a “funny” gift that the person will never use. They spent money on their person and are expecting a thoughtful gift themselves. If you want to do a joke gift, buy something cheap and an actual gift to go with it.
- Tell people who you have or try to find out who your Secret Santa is. I know it is tempting, but you will regret it once the surprise is ruined!
- Leave buying your gift until the last minute. If you are constantly looking for ideas, something is sure to pop out at you. You never know when a great idea will strike!
- Forget that homemade gifts are an option. If you are a great baker or knitter, I’m sure anyone would be happy to receive a batch of cookies or homemade scarf as part of their gift!
I hope these tips help you out this holiday season, and don’t forget that the most important thing is spending time with your friends, not what everyone is giving and getting. Good luck to all the Secret Santas out there!