How to Play Secret Santa

What is Secret Santa?

Secret Santa is a Christmas tradition.  If you haven’t done Secret Santa before, it’s a party or gathering (it can even be done online) where you put a bunch of names into a hat, and each participant pulls one name out. 

presents for Secret Santa / How to Play Secret Santa / My Sweet Zepol

The name you pluck from the hat is the only person you need to buy a gift for, and often participants agree upon a set cost limit for each gift, so you’ll be able to save serious money. 

The Secret Santa is given a wish list of gift ideas to choose from to give to their chosen giftee. After opening their present, the giftee has to guess which member of the group was their Secret Santa. It’s a holiday classic where the guessing is as much a part of the fun as receiving the gift.

You might know it as a White Elephant, but around the world, from office conference rooms to holiday house parties, gift exchange games have become a not-to-be-missed tradition amongst friends, families, and coworkers. 

But there’s really only one king of the Christmas gift exchange: Secret Santa. It’s the game that keeps alive the mystery, suspense, and surprise of holiday gifting, while being a savvy shopper during the holidays. 

Secret Santa / Holiday Game Idea / Gift Giving

Traditional Secret Santa Game Rules

Traditional game rules, in essence, are pretty simple: no one knows who is getting whom a gift. But organizing a gift exchange with your friends, family, or coworkers can be a bit more complicated. Here are the steps for hosting a traditional Secret Santa game in-person:

  1. Write down each name on a piece of paper. Gather all the participants up and have them scribble their names on a piece of paper. 
  2. Have everyone write down a gift suggestion or two. Players can write down something specific like thick red knee high socks, or something pretty vague like “a book, please.” The more specific the better, though, to ensure everyone gets something they actually want.
  3. Draw names to randomly assign a Secret Santa to each player. This is the fun part; reach into the hat and find out whose Christmas you’ll be making better! Make sure you keep things straight with a top secret list of who’s assigned to whom. 
  4. Plan a gift exchange party. Pick a day when everyone can get together, preferably before people leave for their Christmas vacations. Make sure each gift is tagged with the recipient’s name, but not the gifter’s! 

How to Play Secret Santa and Save Money during the Holidays / My Sweet Zepol

So what is Secret Santa? It’s a exciting and a mystery. It’s the joy of knowing someone is thinking about you. It’s the thrill of opening something but, more than that, the magic of connection.

Now, before you go and start shopping for your Secret Santa gift, plan out your budget. Shopping smarter during the holiday season is one of the best strategies for every savvy shopper. 

It is far too easy to go overboard and blow your budget at this time of year, but these smart holiday shopping tips can help keep you on track.

One way to ensure you keep the festive spirit without getting plunged into serious Christmas debt is by holding a Secret Santa.

Now, to some other important topics we all must talk about when gifts are part of the subject. How are your gift wrapping techniques?

For some people, finding the perfect gifts is easy; wrapping those presents is the challenging part. Here are some tips on how to wrap the perfect gift for the Holidays and some of my favorite supplies for gift wrapping.

Exchange gifts, goodies, and holiday cheer to last all year.