What’s a fun way to spice up the holiday season? I don’t know about you, but I would recommend doing Secret Santa with some of your closest friends! If you’re a college student trudging through the last couple of weeks of finals, you probably (read) definitely need to add some pep in your life right now. The Christmas spirit still demands to be celebrated. Secret Santa is a fun and exciting activity to do with your friends (the gifts! the secrecy! the ugly Christmas sweaters!) Without further ado, here are ways to organize a successful Secret Santa as a college student (bonus points if you’re an overworked one drinking morsels of caffeine every day. Trust me, you need this).
Figure Out Who Will Participate
This one should be a no-brainer. You can’t have Secret Santa without people offering to be a secret Santa. You might have a close-knit friend group that you want to ask to see who is willing to participate. You might want to mix it up a little with different people for social circles who all know another one how. Maybe you just want to do it with members of a class. However it looks, ask around ASAP and write down those who say yes or maybe (and for the latter, make sure you let them know you need to know their answer for sure by a specific date.) The faster you get this part over with, the better.
Agree On A Minimum/Maximum Price
This is a big one, and something you’ll want to discuss respectfully with everyone involved to see where they’re all at personally. College students are not exactly known for being a fountain of money. There’s a reason jokes abound about eating Hot Pockets and Ramen Noodles, and paying off our student loans until we’re 69 with a bad hip. It’s not fair to those involved in Secret Santa to slap a price range for gifts when they might have a difficult and/or complex financial situation. Some might want to splurge, others might prefer to go small. This is why I recommend everyone meet up somehow (whether in person, text, group FaceTime call, etc) to debate about prices and agree on a median. If someone wants to be an exception to the rule and spend more or less based on this, they should bring it up with all of you. The bottom line is everyone deserves to have a say. Money is a tricky subject, and the last thing you want is drama and complications over something that is supposed to be fun for everyone.
Set Some Ground Rules
I’m not sure how you may feel about this subject, but I take Secret Santa Very Seriously. As the case with anything that involves a group (especially if it’s a large one), things can get messy if no rules are set (and I say this as the risk of sounding like Monica Geller). Some examples are: Nobody should be able to trade the person they got for another (it ruins the core point of Secret Santa). You can’t tell anyone who you got or ask around to figure out who has you, as it risks the surprise which is central to the holiday classic game. Things will remain neater this way, and everyone probably needs some minor form of stability with essays and exams piling up.
Write Down Names and Randomly Pick
Now here comes one of the fun parts. One of the great things about Secret Santa is the mystery surrounding it. Who will get who? The whole point is it’s a surprise for everyone, including the person who picks a name out randomly. What you do for this part is write the name down of everyone participating in Secret Santa, fold them up so nobody can sneak a peek (and there will always be that one person who tries to) and put everyone’s written name in something such as a bowl, a hat – as long as the names are concealed, the particulars don’t matter too much here. Everyone will go around and (without looking inside!) randomly select a scrap of paper, open it discreetly, and see who they are getting a present for this year for Secret Santa! Hopefully, they’ll be pleased.
Find The Gift
This one should be pretty self-explanatory. It’s highly recommended that you decide to brainstorm and purchase a gift for your person in Secret Santa ASAP. This is especially true if you got someone you don’t know as well as you’d like. Never fear – if you have more than a passing familiarity with them, you should be okay. Think outside the box! I’m sure they’ll appreciate anything that you get them. If you want to be sneaky about it, casually try and hang around this person to discover more of what they like. Even if they suspect you, you can always deny it.
But here is what’s crucial: don’t wait until the last minute to get a gift for whoever they are. It’s not worth it. You’ll be scrambling, and the chances are you’ll be wanting to get it over with and might purchase something you didn’t even want to buy for them. It won’t be sincere and it’ll stress you out, especially if you already have so much on your plate. Don’t let the fun be sapped away from the experience due to poor time management. Secret Santa isn’t mandatory or an obligation, so if you’re in it, it’s because you want to be.
Find A Day Where Everyone Is Free
One of the most difficult aspects of Secret Santa is finding a time where everyone is available at once to discover who got them a gift. This is something that needs to be brought up and discussed immediately. Doing it weeks in advance is a good idea so everyone has a fair warning. Maybe one person will have to take off work two weeks in advance, maybe someone needs to prepare to travel a bit. Everyone is different. Regardless, everyone needs to agree on one day where you guys can meet and exchange presents.