How to Organise the Perfect Secret Santa

Done correctly, Secret Santa can be the highlight of any Christmas season. It’s a chance for friends, family or colleagues to get together, give and receive gifts and – more importantly – share some laughs.

Here’s the thing, though. Secret Santa is fun for participants, but it can be hell on toast for the organiser. Like anything, you’ll have to assume that what can go wrong will go wrong.

Writing a letter to the North Pole and asking for guidance is unlikely to help. You’ll need to step up and handle the responsibility yourself. To make sure your Secret Santa event goes without a hitch, follow these steps.

Make Participation Optional

Participation in Secret Santa should not be obligatory. Not everybody will want to take part. They may be facing a tight budget this festive season, with every penny already earmarked. They may not celebrate Christmas on religious grounds, or for personal reasons. They just be a grinch that hates fun.

Give people the option to opt out of Secret Santa with subtlety and grace. Somebody that is unwilling – or unable – to participate may not want to trumpet this loudly for fear of getting a reputation as a buzzkill. Don’t draw attention to their absence. Remove their name from the draw and allow them to make their excuses when the time for gift exchange arrives.

Draw Names Early

Christmas is a busy time, and a lot of people will already be balancing work and family commitments. Springing a Secret Santa draw at the eleventh hour will just pile needless pressure on your friends and colleagues. Draw names in plenty of time. A quick and easy way is to use an online secret santa generator, our favourite (and free!) one is Elfster.

Don’t do this too early. Arranging a Secret Santa draw in October will just see people forget all about it. Don’t wait until two days before the exchange either, though. That will just see everybody get the same box of chocolates from the local petrol station on the way to work due to time restraints.

Set Rules and Boundaries

Nothing says fun like a list of rules and regulations! In all seriousness, you should set some restrictions on Secret Santa for everybody’s sake. Some guidelines could be…

A price limit on the gift

Suggestions not to be too risqué, lest offence be caused
Instructions to ensure gifts are wrapped and labelled

You’ll think of your own, based on the people involved in your gift exchange. You don’t need to be a festive gestapo, but equally, try not to let your Secret Santa descend into a Wild West-style free-for-all. £10 is a very popular limit, and we’ve got some great secret santa gifts for under £10 right here.

Set Deadlines for Delivery

On paper, it seems like the easiest thing to do is have everybody bring their gift to the exchange. In reality, this is a logistical nightmare waiting to happen. Person A will be off sick, Person B will have forgotten their gift, Person C will arrive without any wrapping paper, Person D will fake a heart attack to hide the fact that they didn’t buy anything.

Ask everybody to deliver their gifts – wrapped and labelled – no later than two days before the exchange. That way, you can be assured that everything is in place on the day. If anybody is missing a gift for any reason, you also now have time to quickly arrange a replacement.

Have Fun!

Don’t forget, Secret Santa should be a lark. Play some festive music, share some novelty Santa hats, hang some tinsel and generally create a yuletide mood. Christmas is a time to enjoy the company of those you love, like or just about manage to tolerate. Secret Santa Gifts will help you all embrace the spirit of the season.

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