Out of ideas for gifts? Try a Secret Santa or White Elephant Gift exchange. It's fun, it's fair, and you may be surprised what you'll get.
Briefly, Secret Santa is a random name drawing game. Each participant and yourself, places their name in the "Barrel". Name drawing begins and each person is handed a card with another participants name on it. Your job is to buy a gift, to an agreed value, for the person named on the card you were given.
An alternative is the white elephant gift exchange. This is the same as above only you buy the most tacky, unusable, unsuited gifts you can find or even re-gift useless things you have been given.
These games are great fun and you can hold a random name drawing game at anytime of the year. It is a great boost to moral.
3 Basic rules to make sure your Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange goes off without a hitch.
- Agreeing on a maximum value for the gifts bought is a good idea. That way no-one feels pressured into buying something expensive. It also avoids guilt if you buy a cheap gift and receive an expensive one. $ 5- $ 10 is a great amount that everyone can usually afford.
- Make sure the Name Drawing is done in a public place with all the participants present. That way everyone knows that the name drawing was random and nothing was 'rigged'.
- Make everyone keep the name they have on the card a Secret as well. It adds another dimension to the game when you do not know who your gift is coming from.
These types of games are also great for the adult relatives and friends when you get together at Christmas time or at family gatherings.
Why are Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchanges a great alternative to traditional gift giving?
The idea of the games is to level the playing field when it comes to gift giving in a social situation. If everyone agrees to a set amount to spend then more people can participate. They know what the cost will be and will not feel the need to buy an expensive gift if they end up with the bosses name.
The white elephant idea is designed to take some of the stress out as well, by buying or re-gifting stuff that you know is useless. Who cares if the receiver laughs at your gift, that's the idea!
The random name drawing can now be done using software downloaded for free from the Internet. It takes the human factor out and it can make the random name drawing a lot easier. The software will also keep a copy of the name drawing on file so when James from accounts looses his ticket like he can easily replace it.
Have a secret Santa or White elephant gift exchange at your work place or home this year and take some of the stress out of gift buying.