Hi there! I'm Rachel, a postgrad student studying Clinical Animal Behaviour from London. I'm a big 80s music fan, and have a secret love for Marvel movies.
So it’s that time of year where Secret Santa comes along as an easy way of providing gifts to large groups of friends. In the past, I’ve done it as a flat and also as part of a course. It’s a great way of shopping on a student budget whilst ensuring everyone gets something! There’s the surprise element as well as it’s *supposed to* be a secret throughout the entire time so no one should know who anyone has got until the day of the exchange. I wanted to give you a summarised guide on how to organise it, and any tips I can offer as someone who has done it for the past four years!
Names in a hat
The idea of Secret Santa is that it’s anonymous. No one knows who’s got who. By that, it also means no questions! Don’t go around asking who everyone’s got because that spoils the fun. The easiest way to do it anonymously is to put everyone’s names in a hat and let people pick out of it. You must set the obvious rule that if you pick your own name out, put it back!
Setting a budget
We’re all students on a tight budget, and there’s nothing worse than setting extremely high expectations for gifts. If a budget is set universally for everyone, there really can’t be any issues. Depending on how many Secret Santas you’ve got going (you may have one with your flatmates/housemates, and one with coursemates), you may want to settle for a £10 budget but I’d recommend £20 as it’s enough to account for shipping if ordering online. Don’t forget to account for a Christmas card and wrapping!
Sometimes it’s nice and handy to include three hints or topics for whoever’s got you in case they struggle on their own. It sort of ensures that the gift/s given will be well received (which I’m sure would be nonetheless), but also useful for whoever receives them. It’s usually a really handy tip to those who are struggling without having to obviously ask whoever they’ve got for help.
Arranging to exchange
It’s important to arrange a date for the exchange well in advance before everyone goes home for Christmas. I’d recommend doing this mid-December to allow for enough time to organise it and enough notice to ensure people sort out their transport home after the date. Then when it comes to the exchange, everyone should put the gifts they’ve gotten in a dedicated area and then once everyone’s settled – begin the exchange. It’s completely up to you if you want to share who got who what, or whether you want it to remain a secret but it’s always fun finding out who had who the whole time!