Christmas is just around the corner, and with it comes its many joys and festive traditions for all those celebrating. The universal symbol, the Christmas tree moves in, all its decorations tailing it. Workplaces and houses alike, everyone gets their Christmas tree. Something else that is synonymous with Christmas is the gifts. Christmas is the biggest annual gift exchange in the world. And there are multiple ways to do it. An evergreen way is, by playing Secret Santa.

 

 

What is Secret Santa?

Secret Santa is the ideal integration of what defines Christmas, gifts and games. From being conceptualised in ancient Scandinavia by knocking on someone’s door, throwing a present inside when it opens, and then running away, centuries ago, to evolving into a globally acknowledged go-to game for most gift exchanges amongst friends, fellow students and also increasingly now, colleagues from work. Workplaces and offices around the world have hopped onto the bandwagon of Secret Santa, encouraging employees to participate, in a bid to enhance relationships between co-workers and increase chemistry. After all, the merriment isn’t to be kept at home only. It’s to be shared abundantly!

What are Secret Santa rules?

Times have changed, customs have evolved and that crude practice of spreading joy now is shrouded in formal sophistication enabling it to be accepted as a sliver of warmth in the cold corporate world. So what are the rules to the Secret Santa game? Simply building on anything that revolves around ‘no one knowing who’s getting whom a gift’ would be acceptable and there are numerous versions of it played worldwide. However here’s a step by step guide to organize a gift exchange at your office without complicating it:

  • Put down all the names: All the participants can write their names on a chit of paper and collect it in a box.
  • Set a budget: Eliminates all ulterior motives or any kind of inequality from stemming and the Secret Santa game is no longer a popularity contest. This encourages employees to get creative with their ideas and work within what is allotted.
  • Draw out secret santas: Finding out who they get to surprise on Christmas! Let employees randomly choose chits from the box and start planning a gift for the name on their chit.
  • Mark a date: Choose a day for the exchange, convenient enough for employees to make it, without compromising any office work or the vacations.
  • Exchange: The fun part! Wait until everyone is gathered to engage everyone and liven up the occasion. Let employees receive their gifts from their secret santas, and let the emotions of shock, surprise, excitement, and joy spill out. To avoid hitches or any misplaced gifts, make sure all gifts are tagged properly.
  • Guess who: A must-do activity post-exchange. ‘Cos who was the sweet soul who bought Karen her favorite book, or gifted that cozy sweatshirt to Dylan? You gotta know, and so has the recipient of your well-thought out gift. Share the appreciation.

Secret Santa gifts for boys and girls

Talking about appreciation, how to make your choice of gift warrant that appreciation? Brief up employees on a few things such as, essentially, a little bit of effort goes a long way. Let there be no room for impractical jokes, make your gift worthwhile. Nobody, no matter how well intended your humor is, would want to be the butt of ‘that Secret Santa joke’.

Consequently, there’s two ways to go about choosing a gift. One would be to play it safe. Get a practical gift with a common use. That way, even if the recipient does not particularly like what they get, it still serves a purpose. Coffee mugs with a sassy print, to up their cool desk points, flaunt some cheek at passersby. Or a snug premium sweater for the winter to come, a lasting gift, utilitarian.

No? Too generic? There’s a more thoughtful alternative. Ask around about your recipient, look up their social media, casually, nonchalantly inquire with them (don’t, if you’re clumsy at conversation, there’ll be time for that when you already impress them with your choice) about what they like, or what they’re into. She might be a reader of classics, get her an ancient archive of literary masterpieces. He has a green thumb? Get a kitchen gardening kit which will have him engrossed for days. He perennially loses his wallet? Get him one with an inbuilt GPS that can be tracked from a phone, finances secured, friendship secured.

Secret Santa gifts for girls

Feeling like your personal touch could just be a gender specific gift? Why not. So, ladies first, in true chivalrous fashion. And in true economic fashion, the number one women dominated industry in the world as consumers, cosmetics! Buy the latest Huda Beauty set for your coworker, or browse through Kylie Cosmetics’ famed lip products. But we all know what women really love, the universal choice. The guiltiest of them all, all things cocoa. Pick a box of the very best gourmet chocolates from Lindt, Teuscher, or the evergreen ball of goodness that is a Ferrero Rocher. Don’t be surprised Something a bit more essential? Shop for a smart outfit, formal enough for office use, and add to their wardrobe. Maybe ask around for her favourite colour, and buy a dress along those lines. Handbags are an all-time favourite too, watch them sling it on their shoulders and stride through the next day. For a lower budget, a hand mirror can be a handy choice to facilitate on the move touch-ups.

Secret Santa gifts for boys

Need to gift the gentlemen at your office? Start with a corporate gentleman’s necessity, a suit. Preferably obtain said recipients measurements, and get a suit made to fit. Because the fitting is key. Opt for darker hues, don’t go lighter than grey. After all, the targeted occasions for use are formal. A white shirt to go with the suit is an immaculate choice. What if the gentleman is already an accomplished dresser? A pair of leather Oxfords won’t harm. Alternatively, let’s dive into the world of classy accessories. A leather wallet, or a belt, as brownie point additions to their tip-top attires are great choices too. Many men also love smelling the best. A premium cologne for the men to spruce up their office wear. And just to break away from the monotony of the corporate life, by considering the increasing number of sneaker-heads everywhere, gift a pair of Yeezys, Jordans, or Air Force Ones and watch him go bonkers over the new toy.

Secret Santa gifts – gender neutral

While we’re at it, why not discuss the best gender neutral gifts too?

  • A phone case, a subtle design to blend in with the office.
  • A key holder to organize the house keys, car keys, and other important keys. It’s very easy to get some customization done to it too.
  • A stationary organizer. To keep all the desk tools in order.
  • A luxury pen. Butter smooth ink, and a premier grip and feel, to make signing every cheque a great experience.
  • Perfumes. Scents galore, make the office smell heavenly. Win-win.

Secret Santa generator websites

Just like this tradition’s boomed in manner, the digital boom has also been overwhelming in the past decade. And of course, it’s like you guessed it, we can use it to our advantage. Why go through the old school hassle of writing down names and shuffling through a hat or box, when you can just punch away at a keyboard! A simple Google search will reveal multiple websites that help you set up a draw for your Secret Santa. One such website, with an extremely user-friendly interface is drawnames.com (not sponsored). It allows you to register all the participants, link their email-IDs or WhatsApp numbers to send out customized invites, and helps randomly choose a gift (or two) per Secret Santa. Convenient enough, isn’t it? That’s not all; you can also name your exchange, set a date for it and specify a budget with any currency in the world. All within a few minutes, and you’re all set up.

Secret Santa generator Apps

To begin with, by far the best reviewed app to help in organising a Secret Santa event, and deservedly so, is Elfster. Apart from letting you name the event, customize rules, set budgets, Elfster’s best part is it allowing the participants to also draw up a wish list to help Secret Santas in choosing a gift which their recipients would want, themselves. Just sign up after downloading the app and you are good to go.

Second on the list is, Simple Secret Santa Generator. A clean, non-intrusive user interface for a zero-bug experience when organising the event. Why should you download and use this app? It has no screen covering, or annoying spam advertisements to distract you, firstly. And also allows you to send invites through every major Android or iOS messaging app. A well organised app, except that you cannot set a price budget. Surely, passing that on through word-of-mouth or a simple text does not hurt.
Talking about clean user interface designs, how about a cool one? Secret Santa Service, is where it’s at. A super-cool interface, which on a different note, lets you assign roles to each participant. It’s only drawbacks being, it does not support email invites. And that you have to pay up for an upgrade to maximum users above four, albeit a sum of $0.99.

A very wholesome alternative application is, Santa’s Secret Keeper. A literal limitless app, which implements zero restrictions on the number of groups you can create or the number of participants you can involve. Also allows you to toggle between a minimum and a maximum budget to set. But this app’s niche feature is it allows the user to prevent potential matchups when randomising the secret santas. This eliminates biases, repeats from last year’s event and gives a different twist to things. And all this, for no upgrade costs or premium charges at all, on Android and iOS. Just take your time to understand it, might take a while.

And if you want more organization, there’s Secret Santa Gift Exchange. This app lets you format your participant list in a PDF file, to help print it out when needed. A basic feature but you never know how handy it is, until you use it. Also allows you to freshen up how your app looks with multiple themes to choose from depending on the nature of your celebration. So if your red ever gets too conventional and ugly, there’s always a jumpy blue to click on and brighten the lights! Although, however, the fully upgraded version requires you to cough up a hefty $5.00.

Out of these 5 apps, with all their pros and cons, we would recommend getting Santa’s Secret Exchange (not sponsored) for a seamless, hassle free experience when planning out your Secret Santa party.

Secret Santa generator Microsoft Excel

However, if you have time on your hands and want somewhat more of a challenge, you can opt to go the Microsoft Excel way! List down the names of participants in a column, and then create a list of random numbers using the RAND function. Next, rank the numbers using the RANK function. Lastly, use the VLOOKUP function, in a third column to lookup the name of the person who was randomly assigned each number and ascertain every participant’s respective giftee. If in case, someone is assigned their own self, just hit F9 to rerun the function and remedy the problem.

With such ease of organization, much benefit to be availed, a Secret Santa this Christmas at your office is a must-do! Plan, give thought to your gifts and spread the love. Because ‘tis the season to be jolly. ‘Tis the season to gift.

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