What is Secret Santa and How Can Your Office Play?

what is secret santa

As Christmas approaches, the festive spirit fills the air, with the anticipation of Santa’s arrival with a sack full of presents for everyone. But before the big day, many workplaces engage in a festive tradition of their own: Secret Santa. What is Secret Santa, you ask?

It’s a fun, easy, and entertaining way for businesses of all sectors and sizes to embrace the holiday cheer. This tradition allows staff members to bond, get to know each other better, and to boost morale during what can often be a hectic period.

If you’re contemplating introducing Secret Santa at your workplace this season but aren’t quite sure of the ins and outs, read on to discover exactly what Secret Santa entails and how you can organize it for your office or company Christmas party,

What Is Secret Santa?

At its heart, Secret Santa is a delightful yuletide custom celebrated in many offices and gatherings worldwide. Though the rules might slightly vary based on geography and individual organizational cultures, the essence remains the same.

Typically, in the most universally played version, participants secretly draw the name of a fellow participant.

As a Secret Santa, you then become the mystery gift-giver for that person, choosing a gift from a provided wish list.

When gifts are exchanged, the excitement peaks as each recipient tries to deduce who their clandestine Secret Santa was.

This guessing game often results in lighthearted laughter and jovial banter, making it a highlight of the festive season for many.

reindeer and secret santa

  • A long-standing Christmas tradition in many workplaces.
  • Versions vary between countries and companies.
  • Typically involves drawing random names for gift-giving.
  • Recipient must guess who their Secret Santa is.

How Can Your Office Play Secret Santa?

To infuse a dash of festive spirit into the workplace, why not champion a game of Secret Santa this year?

Kickstart the celebration by sending a jubilant company-wide email, sprinkled with holiday cheer, inviting everyone to partake in this heartwarming tradition.

Interested participants can pen down their names and, to ensure everyone receives something they’d cherish, jot down a few specific gift ideas.

Place these chits in a festive box and let the magic begin as names are drawn at random, assigning each participant their Secret Santa. The game’s orchestrator should then confidentially relay to every Secret Santa the name of their assigned gift recipient.

But, the merriment doesn’t end here! Plan a sparkling ‘gift exchange soiree’, either nestled within the cozy corners of your office or during the grandeur of the official holiday bash.

When placing gifts under the tree or at the designated spot, ensure only the recipient’s name is on the tag, keeping the Secret Santa’s identity under wraps.

  • Send a company-wide email to gauge interest.
  • Participants write their names and gift suggestions on paper.
  • Names are drawn randomly to assign Secret Santas.
  • Organize a ‘gift exchange party’ for everyone.
  • Recipients guess their Secret Santa after opening gifts.

Secret Santa Generator

For managers, owners or any employee tasked with organizing a the game at work, they may want to use a generator to help simply and speed up the process.

In the digital age, even traditional games get a tech-savvy twist! For those entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating this festive game, Secret Santa Generators are your digital elves.

These online platforms are a concoction of efficiency, fun, and innovation, offering seamless organization right from sending out invites, perfectly pairing Secret Santas with their recipients, to planning the grand gift exchange spectacle.

These intuitive tools not only uphold the charm of this cherished tradition but also offer a hassle-free experience, ensuring your game is nothing short of magical!

secret santa

Traditional vs. Generator Organized Secret Santa

As offices gear up for Secret Santa, there are two main approaches to organizing the game: the traditional method and the generator method. This table provides a quick comparison to help decide which method might be best for your office.

FeatureTraditional MethodSecret Santa Generator
OrganizationManually by a designated personAutomated online process
InvitationsCompany-wide email or noticesOnline invites
Name MatchingNames drawn randomly from a boxAutomated name matching
Gift SuggestionsWritten on paper by participantsCan be added online
NotificationHost informs each participantAutomated notifications
ConvenienceRequires manual effortsSimplified and streamlined
CostFree, unless materials are purchasedTypically free online services

While we’re sure your game will go off without a hitch, take a moment to enjoy this classic scene from the US comedy ‘The Office’. It’s a reminder of how hilariously wrong things can go when not everyone’s on the same page. Fingers crossed for a smoother exchange at your event!

Photo via Shutterstock

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".