Secret Santa gift exchanges are an almost ubiquitous tradition these days. You'll find them at work, in clubs, sports teams, even online societies. As an adult, I love this idea since it brings back some of the social nature of exchanging gifts with people that aren't just family. Here's some tips to help make sure it's a success.
Secret Santa gifts are fun, but they're more fun when you know the person you're buying for. You wouldn't buy a cold weather hunting suit for someone who's a vegetarian, but you might decide to buy one for your dad who loves his gun collection. If you make sure that you get to know the person you are buying for, and you stick to the budget that you are given, everybody gets to have a fun Secret Santa moment.
Each group will have a slightly different way of organizing a secret Santa gift exchange but generally, they are the same. Unlike a "gift exchange" or "white elephant gift" a Secret Santa gift exchange is selecting a gift for a specific person.
Make Sure the Budget and Theme For the Gift Exchange Are Clear
This can be the biggest area that can mess up a secret Santa experience. Imagine how you'd feel if you thought it was a $25 gift that was supposed to be funny ... but the other guy thought it was just a $5 gift! Our friends at The Good Stuff, have a great list of secret santa gifts for different budgets that should be some help.
Not only is the budget important but so is the theme. Personally, I love gift exchanges that have some humor vs trying to find the ultimate PERFECT gift for someone. This allows the conversation to be sparked and takes some of the pressure off of both of you.
Get To Know a Bit More About the Giftee
In some situations you are going to already be close friends with the person and have tons of great gift ideas. In other situations it might be a little more difficult. That's when it comes time to do a little digging and we've got some ideas to help you there:
1. Ask their friends what they might enjoy - but also if they have any hobbies, favorite movies, TV, music etc. This give you a good idea of their personality
2. Search for them online and in social media - do they have an Amazon wishlist already? Have they RT'd stuff on Twitter or are they part of any social groups on Facebook. These can all be clues to help guide your secret Santa gifting. To find if they have a wishlist on Amazon, go to the "Find a List or Registry" section and search the person's name under "Your Friends"
3. Check out their desk at work - if this is an office secret Santa then check out the person's desk. Do they have any clues as to what they enjoy. This could include a teapot, yoga art, or sports team memorabilia.
Those are just three quick and easy tips to find our what makes your giftee tick. This is often one of the most fun parts of the whole experience and it is a great way to make new friends and build stronger bonds between people.
Be Appreciative of Your Gift - No Matter What it is!
While we all hope to find a gift that the other party will love and appreciate ... that isn't always possible. I'm terrible at this but no matter what the secret Santa gift is ... be appreciative and show your gratitude. Just like you spent time trying to find the perfect item, so did they.