It’s that wonderful time of the year again! You know that pre-holiday feeling when offices get a whole lot merrier, the working space is filled with decorations, mistletoe, and, of course, a Christmas tree? The office Christmas party is just around the corner, and everybody is super excited about it.
Since Christmas is a giving holiday, the gift exchange is a must! That’s why I adore everything about December – not just because of my birthday and the new “Star Wars” movie premiere. 🙂 You get to spread some Christmas cheer and surprise someone – what’s more Christmassy than that?
Secret Santa is known as the greatest joy-bearer, at least in our office. It is super funny and somehow amazing to surprise someone who usually is not on your holiday list, and there is a double element of surprise when you get your present and finally find out who is your Secret Santa!
If you don’t know how to organize or participate in his gift-giving game, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to light the Christmas spark in your office!
Drawing the Names
The old-fashioned way is writing names of all the participants on a piece of paper. If you are doing this with friends, names only are enough. But, if we are talking about organizing a Secret Santa for your office, there is always a chance that people don’t know each other very well. If that’s the case, it would be a good idea to have people write down a few things about themselves (Anja – book lover, huge Harry Potter fan, dragon adorer). That way, the person in charge of your gift would have a clue on what to buy. Just don’t exaggerate – I could also add that I’m a “Kindle lover”, but it is ungrateful to expect to get one. Secret Santa is symbolic.
When done, put all the bits of paper into a box or a hat (if it’s Christmassy decorated even better) and pass it around for everyone to draw just one name – that name is the person they are getting a present for. The tricky thing is that you can draw your own name and have to redraw, or that some people are not physically in the office so you have to haul them in.
The second way of playing Secret Santa is digitally – that’s how we do it in our office. You can use an app which helps you draw names virtually, and some of them even offer you to make a wishlist. But, when it comes to the
2. Choosing a gift
…things can get a little tricky. When you are buying a gift for a friend, it’s pretty easy. You already know what will make a perfect, Christmas present. But when you are getting a gift for a coworker, that can be a bit more of a pickle.
If there is a wishlist, stick to it, and all of your problems are solved. If not, you can try a few different approaches. Maybe to check your coworker’s social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and see if there is anything usable there. A lot of people tend to share things they are passionate about, so there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find some valuable information. If you check my Facebook profile, you’ll see a lot of Rick & Morty related posts. So, in my case, Rick & Morty themed phone case would make a perfect gift.
If social media posts fail you, don’t give up. You can try SecretSanta.me and let the app decide for you, or at least give you a couple of ideas. This is basically a Christmas tombola – you launch the app, spin the Secret Santa Tombola and the Secret Santa.Me will find the perfect present and let you purchase it on Amazon.
How does it work? The app will ask you a few questions first: who are you buying present for – boy or girl, what kind of a gift you want to buy – cute, cheeky or fun, and what’s your price limit. Then you’re all set to press spin, and let Secret Santa.Me choose a perfect gift for you. This app was developed by Clock, a company founded with a loan from The Prince’s Trust, so all Amazon’s referral fees from this Tombola will be donated straight back to the charity. Basically, you are giving a gift to the person who is assigned to you, but also to a completely random stranger who one day will be funded by The Prince’s Trust – it doesn’t get more Christmassy than that!
3. Filling in the details:
The best thing about Secret Santa is that you’ll get a gift whether you’ve been good or bad during the previous 12 months. 🙂 But that doesn’t mean this game doesn’t have some ground rules.
The first one: set up a price limit (as Secret Santa.Me recommends)! As I already said, Secret Santa is symbolic, and its main goal is to get to know people a little better and to get closer with your co-workers. By selecting a happy medium price range, you are taking a lot of pressure off. The whole point is to have fun, not to fret over whether you’ve spent enough money on your boss’s gift.
The second-one: setting a gift-giving date is a must! If you have a traditional Christmas party at the office, that is a great place for a gift exchange. But it can also be some quiet get together, or even over the lunch break.
How we do it in our office? Firstly, we choose a date for decorating a Christmas tree and have a photo shoot (yes, we all wear ugly Christmas sweaters which I adore – they’re so funny). Then we pick a date for a gift exchange, and it is obligatory. 🙂 Just make sure the date is set a few days before the holidays, in case some people have vacation travel plans – you don’t wait to ruin that! This year, our Secret Santa “party” is on 22nd of December, and everybody’s looking forward to it!
4. Exchanging gifts
The exchanging gifts day has come. Get together and use this opportunity as an excuse for having some good food and eggnog. 🙂 Finally, here comes the easiest and the most exciting part – unwrapping the gifts. You can do it more formal, by letting the person who organized the event start the process by presenting allotted present to the person from their Secret Santa note. Then that persona gives the gift to their allotted Secret Santa gift recipient and this goes on until everybody has their present. Trust me, there will be a lot of Christmas cheer around! It is more than acceptable if unwrapping your Christmas gift makes you excited as a little kid.
At our office, we are not very keen on formality, so we use different “discover who your Secret Santa is” approach. All the gifts are named, perfectly wrapped, and put away under the Christmas tree. On the exchange-gifts day, everyone just looks for a gift with their name on it, and then guess who bought it. If you were a passer-by, I guarantee you would hear a lot of strange, funny sounds coming from our office. 🙂
Just two more things: Never let it slip who are you giving a gift to before the actual exchange (it’s all about the element of surprise). And last, but not least – having fun is obligatory!