Shopping for lots of friends & family? Opt for a Secret Santa gift exchange! Learn how to play Secret Santa at Ho ho ho!

How to Play Secret Santa

Fall brings the whisper of winter which is, of course, the season of jolly old Saint Nick – of course I’m talking about Christmas! Who doesn’t love the putting up of the tree, the blinking of the lights, and those amusing family get-togethers?  The exchange of gifts is also a prime factor involved in the Christmas season. If you’re like me, then you’ll know that leaving it until the last minute can cause such a rush, especially if you have to buy presents for a large group of friends.  A fun holiday activity that has been gaining popularity is the Secret Santa gift exchange aka Kris Kringle. It’s a great way to celebrate Christmas and takes the stress off of you as a present giver. By following these simple Secret Santa rules, it’s really easy to merge it into your holiday fun.

Secret Santa Setup

For Secret Santa to work, you’ll need a group of at least 4 people. Let’s call the first meeting Round 1 and the second meeting Round 2. For Round 1 you’ll need a piece of paper and a pen, and for Round 2 each person will need to bring a wrapped gift. It is recommended that you give each person 2+ weeks in order for them to choose the correct gift and to avoid a rush.

How to Play Secret Santa

  1. Starting with Round 1, you (the Facilitator) round up the people such as classmates, colleagues, cousins, etc. with whom you would like to participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange.
  2. You can set a price limit for these gifts, for example no one can go over $15.
  3. Choose a name for whom you will buy a gift.  You are this person’s ‘Secret Santa’ so don’t tell anyone which name you got!
    • The Facilitator can write down the names of the group participants in list form then randomly assign each person to another in the group.
    • OR you can make Secret Santa a total group effort.  Each person writes down their own name and throws it in a hat or a bowl which is then mixed up.  Each person from the group gets a chance to pull a random name. If you pull your own name, you can simply put it back and take another before the hat gets passed on.
  4. It’s time to buy gifts!  Each Secret Santa buys their selected person a gift then wraps it.  Label the gift to the recipient’s name and from ‘Secret Santa’ – don’t put your actual name.
  5. During round 2 (usually held at a holiday party), the gifts will be handed out to the people in your group without them knowing who it is from. suggests that the facilitator hands out the gifts during round 2 in order to keep things a secret.
  6. After gifts are handed out, the group can then try to guess which person has bought their gift!

This is a really fun way to bring the magic of Christmas to life by involving everyone in the group. It also reduces the stress from having to shop for numerous gifts. This works great if you’ve got a large family or friendship circle.

Secret Santa Video Tutorial

Check out this video for great Secret Santa gifts and ideas!