Most effective ways to sustain a civil secret Santa this year

Secret Santa is a tradition enjoyed by collogues, friends and families all over the world
Photo provided by

Secret Santa is a tradition enjoyed by collogues, friends and families all over the world Photo provided by

Danielle Barnych, Staff Writer

During Christmas time budgets can get pretty tight. You may know people from work, from school, old-time friends and family members whom you’d love to send gifts to. This sounds like a wonderful idea, but your only problem is that your wallet isn’t a bottomless pit of cash waiting to be spent. Don’t worry. That’s why the secret Santa gift exchange was invented. It seems harmless to casually exchange gifts with a large group of people. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Secret Santa is a very calculated transaction between people who just want to get a good gift. If one is disappointed, all signs point to jealousy, after-party gift-shaming and overall dissatisfaction that could ruin one’s reputation for gift-giving next year. If these are concerns you have, then fret no more; here are five methods to perfecting this gift exchange process so that everyone will go home satisfied.


  1. Establish a budget.

Sometimes it is clear to tell if something is higher quality compared to something else. Eliminate this bias by setting a strict budget that everyone must follow in order facilitate fair gift-giving. Make sure the budget is not too expensive and reasonable enough for everyone to comply with (Example: $15-25).


  1. Enforce the one item per-person rule

If a person is given multiple things, but someone else only gets one item, it can make them jealous of another’s gift. To avoid this, encourage the participants to buy only one item for the same person. This will also allow one to buy a nicer gift as it will only be spent on one more expensive item than a few cheaper items.


  1. Eliminate food as a possible gift

If you’ve done secret Santa before, there is always that one person who gives someone an assortment of holiday-themed candies or chocolate. Although this is nice, it does not display any effort or thoughtfulness when it comes to looking for a gift. To bypass any frustration, don’t allow edible gifts because the chances that your gift recipient will buy those sweet treats on their own is very likely. Also, by eliminating this you won’t have to worry about your recipient’s allergies or food problems and the gift will last longer.


  1. Make it unique

Although this point may seem obvious, it is easy to fall into the group of people who give out the same things every year. To avoid giving a gift that is too common place, think about something cool that you would like to be gifted. Also, keep in mind the kind of person you have as a recipient and ask other people what that person does in their free time and other hobbies they have. For example, if someone likes art maybe think about getting them a new sketchbook or hand-carved paint brushes.


  1. Don’t be stressed

At the end of the day, secret Santa is a chance for everyone to come together and share the joy of Christmas without having to spend a bunch of money on gifts. Get an idea of what you want to give someone, remain in the budget and remember that it’s just for fun! As long as you stick to this guide, you are guaranteed to have guests coming back for more next year.