Christmas Activity: Secret Santa

Don’t know how to have fun and feel New Year’s mood? Play Secret Santa, a great (cost-effective) game for a big company or family.

Christmas Activity: Secret Santa

What is a Secret Santa? It is a New Year's event and activity, which is aimed on giving presents to your friends, classmates, colleagues or even unknown people. The rules are easy. The key idea is an anonymous exchange of gifts, so you don’t know who is your ‘Secret Santa’; the only thing you know is who your ‘ward’ is.

Moreover, you should keep it in a secret, because no one should guess, and this adds some miracle to the game. It can be played at work, with friends or with your family, if you have a large one as it is a great opportunity to limit the number and cost of gifts and not to deprive somebody.

Fun fact is that, originally, the purpose of the game was to limit the number of gifts and, hence, reduce the New Year’s costs. That is why citizens of Latin American, having large families, like this game so much.  

The game itself can be done in two different ways. You can put rolled-up pieces of paper with the names of the participants written on them and place them into the hat. Then, all members should anonymously choose one paper.

The next option is more widespread as it is connected with the Internet: there are special Web sites, which will assign your Santa and appoint a person to whom you will present a gift. I also attach links to the 2 most famous sites, which will help you to organize your game:


Also, you can use the HSE App to play. Unfortunately, it’s available in Russian only.

In both cases, participants can also specify a short list of desirable gifts from which the Santa can choose, i.e. wish lists. The price is also discussable in order to make all gifts approximately equal to each other. Obviously, the date and place of exchanging gifts should be defined in advance.

It is not a problem if you don’t know with whom to play. Many VK groups and Websites as Pikabu hold Secret Santa, so you can participate and get a present from an absolutely unknown person and send a gift to another person by post. Isn’t it a miracle?

My personal experience is quite excellent. I played Secret Santa with my friends 3 times, and this year I am going to repeat it, because emotions you get from the game are inexpressible. It is an amazing feeling to see smiles on the faces of your friends and receive the gifts you dreamed about.

I like this game so much, that me and my friends came up with Spring Secret Santa on March 8 as another reason to exchange gifts and enjoy time being together. Hence, turn on an imagination and play the game on any occasion to please yourself.

Text by
Sofia Lyakhova