The gift of gift-giving: Secret Santa makes it easier to exchange gifts


Secret santa is a tradition that has spread from gift exchanges with local friends to even out of town friends.

Davida Harris and Lucy Hurt

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, as everyone appreciates a break from school, spending time with family and friends, and the cheerful holiday spirit. For many high school students, Secret Santa is another highlight of the holiday season. Secret Santa is when a group of friends randomly pick names and give each other gifts. Usually, each group of friends determines the budget beforehand.

The simplest way to organize the gift pairings is picking names out of a hat. However, this can create problems if you can’t get all your friends to meet in the same place at the same time. Websites such as Elfster and DrawNames make this process easier. You can even do Secret Santa with camp friends who live far away and mail their gifts to them.

“I have so many friends that live in Montana and it is because of websites such as Elfster that I get to do a fun Secret Santa activity with them,” said junior Tali Crowley. “I feel so lucky that thanks to these websites I can still have all the fun of the holiday season without having to be restricted by different locations.”

It is essential to set a price range so that everyone gets presents of the same value. After you’ve done that, it is important to try to buy the presents as soon as possible. If you plan to order your gift online, waiting too long could cause you to miss the deadline.

You don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of money to find an amazing gift. If you know your Secret Santa person well, then it should be easy to find them a thoughtful gift. However, if you happen to get a person with whom you are not as close, you can still buy them an amazing gift. Many stores have great holiday bundles and gift boxes that are guaranteed to make everyone smile.

“Urban Outfitters has an amazing $25 and under section. It is filled with generic fun things that anyone would appreciate,” said junior Maddy Weiner.

You can add a personal touch by including something homemade, such as a picture frame, card, or holiday cookies.

If you’re exchanging gifts with friends from Port, you can organize a group gathering around the time of the gift exchange. Gift-givers can write their recipients’ names on their presents ahead of time and watch as everyone opens their gifts, trying to guess who they’re from.

“Last year my friends and I put all of our presents under my friend’s Christmas tree. We had so much fun trying to guess who got each other what present,” said sophomore Maddy Feigin.

Another fun way is to exchange gifts is in a chain reaction. For example, you start with one friend, who gives their present to their person, who will then give their Secret Santa their gift.

“I love exchanging gifts in a chain reaction because it’s so fun to anticipate when it will be your turn!” said junior Lucy Hurt.

However you choose to organize your Secret Santa, make sure to include a personal touch to add to the holiday cheer.