If you've never participated in a Secret Santa gift excange and you'd like to find out what are the Secret Santa rules for playing this holiday gift exchange game, you've come to the right place. To be a good Secret Santa, there's only a handfull of rules that you will need to keep in mind. Although there are a lot of optional rules for Secret Santa, only a few are absolutely necessary to run the gift exchange without any hickups.
Secret Santa Rules Summary
1. Draw Secret Santa Names
There must be a draw to decide who will be who's Secret Santa. In order to do this, one must use a hand drawing method where each player picks out someone elses name from a pool of names (usually crumpled pieces of papers with names of people written on them and thrown in a bowl).
2. Secret Santas must remain annonymous
Under no circumstances should you tell anyone about who's secret Santa you are. In addition to this, although it might be common sense, it's very important to mention that noone should see you bring the gift. This is simply because even though you have wrapped the gift, if people see which box you brough it will be easy to tell that you were the secret santa when your giftee opens the present.
3. Everyone Has To Get/Buy A Gift
Once everyone knows who's Santa they are, they must purchase a Secret Santa gifts for that person. The type of gift to buy depends on many factors, for example, there are various Secret Santa gifts for men and women, there are funny Secret Santa gifts, or GAG gifts. Lot of times people buy useful and unusual gifts, something that stands out from a regular boring gift. Often each participant is encouraged to fill out a Secret Santa questionnaire. This makes it easy for the Secret Santa to buy them a gift.
4. Gift Must Be Within The Price Range
If your party has a set limit for how much an individual spend for Secret Santa gifts, this rule should be folowed. You can go slightly above or below the suggested amount but bringing something signifficantly over or under priced may create disparity of value between all the gifts exchanged, which is not a good idea.
If no amount has been indicated during the announcement of the party and the secret santa rules, then as a rule of thumb, it is recommended to have a budget of under $25 or $20 for your Secret Santa purchace.
5. Themes, Wishlists And Questionnaires
Simetimes people like to agree on a theme of the gift exchange, which means everyone will be buying each other a specific type of gift. One of the most popular themes is alcohol and sweets. A theme can also be jsut about anything from books to DIY and hand made items and even artwork.
More often than not, however, to find out what would be an ideal gift sof someone, a Secret Santa questionnaire can be used. What is a Secret Santa questionnaire? It's a list of common questions, someone downright asking a pesron what the top 3 gifts that they would lvoe getting are.
Again, although it should be common sense, simply handing someone a questionnaire is a treight giveaway that you are their Secret Santa, so the questionnaires are something that all participants must fill out and make available for anyone to read without knowing who wanted to read them.
This can be accomplished by eveyone posting their answers to a common area like a bulletin board, combining in a a mailing list email or publishing on company website's events page.
Another way to make it easy for Secret Santas to pick gifts, is for all the participants to have wishlists. On your wishlist you would put some of the items you would like to receive as a Secret Santa gift, something that you would enjoy receiveing but also is within the acceptable price range. it's a win-win really, because you get what you want and your Secret Santa has easy time picking a gift from your list and buying it for you.
The downside of wish lists? the gift will be predictable, so it does lose the surprise effect. This is one of the reasons why many groups chose to use themes in their Secret Snata rules instead of wish lists, because with Secret Santa themes allthough the present will be within a theme, you never know what you'll get exactly.
Unlike traditional gift exchange during the festive season, when everyone gives eachother a gift directly, Secret Santa has an interesting twist to it: All gifts are selected, purchased and given to eachother in secret.
Most Important Secret Santa Rule
Do not reveal who's secert santa you are to anyone. It is very important to keep this secret, because the very nature of this game requires secret gift giving. Often people are tempted to find out who is buyng who gifts and the word travels fast. Keep your secret to you and you only.
This includes the person organizing the Secret Santa as well. Usually someone needs to draw and assign everyone a Secret Santa. Usually the organizer is also one of the game participants, so the process that the person in charge decides to use for assigning Secret Santa has to be annonymous and not invilve disclosing the information to anyone.
How can this be done? simply by drawing names individually so only the person drawing the name gets to see the name of the player that they will be buyng a gift for, or using a automated Secret Santa generator that will do that for you via electonic means, be it email or printouts.
Organizing A Secret SantaIf you are in charge of running your groups Secret Santa gift exchange this year, there are few helpful points to keep in mind that will help you with the planning and running the party.
Pick a good date for the party. If your christmas party is with family or friends, it's easy to select an appropriate day for your celebration and the gift exchange, usually families will exchange gifts on the day of Christmas before or during the dinner.
However, organizing a party for professional or social group may be more challenging, because you need to pick the right date for your Secret Santa. A weekday after work of school usually works the best, because when it comes to attending events, people already have a number that they have RSVPed and are going to and may not make it on week ends. For somehowever it may be a good idea to run a party on Friday night or even the weekend. How do you know what would work best for your group? Just ask. Ask your coworkers or schoolmates to find out what date would work the best.
Announce the date and gather the names. Find out who will be coming to your party. It's important to have all the names, because everyone would need to have a Secret Santa and at this point you will have to draw names. Once you know who will be attending, the name drawing can take place.
Draw names and assign Santas annonymously. Draw names annonymously by having everyone pick a random name written on paper from a bowl, or better yet use a Secret Santa generator to simplify the process. Once all the names are assigned, all the Santas can start thinking about the gift to get.
Define gift price range and theme, if any. Encourage your group to stay within a certain price range and follow a certain theme if that souites you. Everyone can also make available their wish lists. Make sure noone find out who their Secret Santa is and explain the importance of this rule to your guests.
Plan and organize the party details. There are otehr thigns to keep in mind and plan other than the gifts and the gift exchange. The party will need food, drinks and fun games for exntertainment. The idea is to do your best in order to have eveyone enjoy the evening and have a blast! Plan who will be in charge of what food or drink, have people volunteer for a potluck and make sure there will be enough desserts and treast for the festive party.
Remind everyone about the party date and to buy a gift. Schedules can get very busy, there are lots ofthings on our minds during holiday season, so it's a good idea to remind eveyone a week or so prior to the even that you have a party coming up and gifts need to be purchased. Most people will remember it at that point and will already have purchased the present, but for some of the absent minded or busy ones it could be very helpful. A good reminder is never unnecessary.
On the day of the exchange: When the time comes for everyone to have a good time, make sure guest place all the gifts that they bring annonymously. Otherwise if someone sees the gift you brought, the annonymity of the secret santa gift exchange will be compomised. yes, there are some groups that don;t care about that, but it's important that that's what Secret Santa is about, so ensure rules are respected and followed.
Above all, remember what Secret Santa is about. As always, make sure that everyone is having a good time, gets back home safely and has a wonderful experience at your gathering. Secret Santa party is a special event for a lot of us, it's a time of laughter, surprise and celebration. let's make sure it's always full of happy memories!