How to have a successful Secret Santa

Photo credit: Ravi_Shah Source: Flickr

By Lydia Caunce

Secret Santa. A term that inflicts either happiness or dread in all that hear it. Those that love it clearly seem to know something that the rest of us don’t, and therefore these simple tips will make this festive season of giving so much easier.

When secret Santa is suggested, always make sure that you’ve established whether it’s a comical or personal gift that you are buying. You don’t want to be opening a thoughtful gift that is obviously catered just for you, whilst someone down the table is opening the ‘basketball net for the back of the toilet door’ you bought from Tiger last minute. There’s no shame in simply asking if it’s a funny or serious present, and in the long run it may save you a lot of embarrassment at that Christmas meal in a week’s time.

If funny secret Santa is the route that your friendship group or work colleagues have taken, you’re in luck! If by some unfortunate event you have ended up with someone that you don’t really know in the office, this is your official ‘get out of jail free’ card. You’re able to get something quite generically funny from the likes of Tiger or, if you’re really pushing it for time, Lidl, and you will be able to get through this ordeal with no injuries. Something that will get a slight chuckle around the table at the work Christmas do is a key for success. Don’t think too much into it – if it makes you laugh at first glance, it’s probably a winner! However, always be cautious and make sure that you don’t take the joke just that step too far. Simplicity is the key in secret Santa humour.

Always establish a budget. This is something that should be done as soon as those names are picked out of that hat, and if you notice that no one has mentioned it yet, immediately speak up! No one wants to be that person who spends too much or too little on their secret Santa gift, as it does set everyone up for disappointment. Establishing a budget of around five to ten pounds creates a common ground in which you can buy something substantial enough to not be complete shit, but you’re also not breaking the bank for someone you may not necessarily know. Christmas may be the time of giving, but it is an expensive time and we do not need to be spending more money than necessary!

Secret Santa has its name for a reason. It’s supposed to be a secret! Why be a scrooge and ruin the festivities by telling everyone who you’ve got, and trying to figure out who they’re buying for? If it’s an intimate secret Santa with close friends, I understand it may be tempting, but it’s just not worth it. Just because you may be intrigued to find out who everyone is buying for doesn’t mean that they want you to know, and why ruin it if you’ll find out in a few weeks anyway?

When it all comes down to it, secret Santa is supposed to be fun. Don’t spend too much time stressing over whether you’ve got the perfect gift for someone, or panicking that you have no idea who you’re even buying for, because at the end of the day it’s a small present that you’re buying in exchange for another equally as small present. Have fun with it and act thrilled, even if you really didn’t need a back scratcher, as tis the season to be jolly and secret Santa is one of the many quirks that come with it.

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