How To Organise Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a game played by family, friends and co-workers. It is a fun game to play during the Christmas season as you choose only one person in which you have to pick and buy a gift for. This is a way in which you don’t have to worry about buying presents for lots of people. 

We’re going to guide you on how to organise Secret Santa this Christmas. 

Christmas Sack
Photo by: Jon Tyson

How do you play Secret Santa?

Secret Santa is a game where participants all put their name into a hat (metaphorically or otherwise) and their names kept hidden. The each person from the group participating picks a name from a hat, bowl or cup (anything you want really). They then secretly buy that person a gift.

The gifts can have a specific price limit so that no one has to worry about money and can all have something the same value without anyone getting upset and jealous.

Each gift is marked with the name of the receiver but not the giver, before the day of opening the gifts, everyone puts their gift under the tree (or onto a table at work, or similar) without anyone else seeing. To add to that Christmas magic, someone often dresses up as Santa and hands out each present, sometimes they will ask a child to be ‘Santa’s little helper’ so they run around and hand out the gifts for ‘Santa’.

Secret Santa Rules

1.Keep it Secret

I feel as though I can’t stress this enough, don’t reveal who you have to anyone! Sometimes people can figure out who’s who by just knowing one other person’s Secret Santa. Try to keep it a secret from everyone!

To make sure no one can find out who you have or you find out who someone has, when picking the names, write the names out on a small piece of paper and ensure you can fold it in half 3 times at least. This way the piece of paper cannot unfold and reveal any names and you can also not see any of the writing. Just remember the aim of the game is to keep it a secret.

2. Stick to the set budget

If and when you agree to a budget, stick to it. I know that sometimes it can be tempting to just go over the budget by £5 but don’t. Secret Santa shouldn’t have to be an expensive game, that’s why the price budget ranges from £5-£20 giving those who want to go a little extra the opportunity to, or if those are struggling to find someone something they can get that person something small yet meaningful without hurting feelings. 

3. Set a date for the gift exchange

You need a deadline for everyone to buy the gifts and the exchange needs to take place at the same time to keep the secret going.

4. No swapping

Once you have chosen your person, that’s it. No swapping. Otherwise, it can cause many issues, one being what if the person you ask has you, but they can’t tell you that or they do you both have broken the rules of the game and would. Therefore, have to do the choosing ceremony again. 

What’s the best Secret Santa Generator?

Nowadays, there are so many different online sites, where you don’t even have to type in ‘Secret Santa Generator’ you can just choose any name generator and allocate names that way. 

However, with certain specific Secret Santa Generators, you can ask people to click an email link where the generator will send them a name and that will be their Secret Santa. 

Online Secret Santa Generators include:

Online Secret Santa organisers are useful if your team work or relatives live in different locations.

Name out of a hat

You could go old school and just do the traditional name out of a hat, find a Santa hat and have one person write all the names out (that way all the names are written in the same handwriting) or you could print out the names. Fold them up at least 3 times and put them all in the hat, one by one everyone chooses a name (making sure they haven’t got themselves). 

We have always stuck with doing the names out of a hat option. Not only does it mean you can all physically see each other choose a name and know that no one can necessarily cheat. It also means that you can all meet up for a day or afternoon, have a fun day together entertaining everyone. Then just before leaving or at any point during the day, choose a name from the hat and let the teasing of who’s got who commence. 

Photo by: Element5 Digital

What are good Secret Santa gifts?

It can often be quite hard having to think of what to get someone for Secret Santa, especially if you don’t know what to get your person. It can be funny, for him, for her, under £5 or under whatever your budget is, or you could even make the gift yourself. Some Secret Santa gift ideas can be: 

Funny gifts

Funny gifts can be for all ages, and also be very reasonably priced. Some good shops to buy from for funny gifts are Hawkins Bazaar and MenKind. They have a variety of joke gifts that appeal to every age. Some of which include:

The list is endless!

Secret Santa Gifts for Him

It can sometimes be tricky thinking of a gift for a guy, some of the typical gifts we stick to are socks (something both men and women are guilty of doing) or body sprays or chocolate. Some other ideas can include:

  • Beard kits – if the man you are buying for has a beard there are now mini beard kits which come with tiny brushes, oils and little decorative clips for them to add for a laugh
  • Grow Your Own Chilli Plant Kit – because gardening and chillis are fun.
  • 16-in-1 Bike Tool – perfect for the cyclists
  • Mini Quiz Games – some quiz games can be football related, pub quizzes or TV show related

Secret Santa Gifts for Her

Sometimes we can struggle with what to get her for Christmas, we normally would stick to bath and body things, which is always a good idea, especially if you know what she likes. However, if you don’t, and are unsure, you may have to ask someone what she likes, which can cause the whole secrecy thing of Secret Santa to become thin. Some ideas on what to get for Secret Santa include:

Buying gifts for her can be a challenge, however, by scrolling and searching through shops you will find that perfect gift for her.

Homemade gifts

Homemade gifts for your Secret Santa can be a very meaningful way of giving someone a gift.

If you know your person likes something you make cooking wise, why not bake them their favourite thing the night before and attach the recipe to it so they can now make those famous baked goods themselves!

Homemade gifts are an endless list, you can make anything if you put your mind to it and know what the person you have chosen likes. It is cheap, affordable and very sentimental. 

How can I make a Secret Santa more fun?

Lucky Dip Secret Santa

Rather than doing the typical choosing a name out of a hat, you could choose a gift out of a hat. On the piece of paper you could write down a category or thing, a player chooses a piece of paper containing a category or thing and must buy a present related to that. Then everyone places their gift (wrapped) in a mystery box or sack. One by one, players come up to the box or sack and choose a gift – the same principle of Secret Santa but with a twist and more fun. 

White Elephant

You could do the same principle of buying gifts without having a specific person to buy for but this time, everyone is given a gift.

You then use two dice and roll them, if your score is even you can have the chance to look around at everyone else’s gifts and swap what you have for theirs, not knowing what the gift is. If you roll an odd number, the dice are given to the next person on your left. 

And that is everything you would need to know to organise Secret Santa game this Christmas, hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to make yours the best one yet!


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