How to win Secret Santa this holiday season

Rachel Treisman, Web Features Editor

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Tinsel-covered, jingle-belled, mistletoe-smothered holiday cheer makes its grand entrance as soon as radio stations start playing Christmas music in November. And for many Staples students, Christmastime means Secret Santa.

Secret Santa is a beloved holiday tradition in which members of a group anonymously give gifts to a partner selected at random. According to students, it is a great way to share laughs and make memories.

“The most memorable [Secret Santa] was probably when my mom got my grandpa silk heart boxers and candles,” Blair Gould ’15, who does Secret Santa both with her extended family and her dance company, said.

With great power comes great responsibility, and students say it is important to choose a gift wisely.

For most people, a wise gift is an edible gift.

“I love getting food,” Hannah Simons ’16 said. “[I would recommend] giving sweets, like brownies.”

Gould agreed that snacks are always a good option, especially when there is a personal touch.

“I think homemade gifts can be much more meaningful if you put in enough effort,” Gould said. “Everyone loves food, so you could always bake something nice for someone.”

For the less culinary-savvy students, there are plenty of other creative gift options.

“Last year, my person got me a giant stuffed dog with some candy,” Simons said.

Evan Klasky ’15, a member of Staples Players, uses Players’ “Secret Buddies,” a hell-week gift-giving tradition, as inspiration.

“People get really creative,” Klasky said. “A lot of performances are requested; serenades are really popular. Other interesting requests are poorly drawn portraits, dance performances and poems dedicated to people.”

Evidently, the best presents don’t necessarily come in gift-wrapped boxes. Secret Santa poems, artwork, photos, activities and performances can be just as memorable, if the Players’ tradition is any indication.

Another option for gift giving is store-bought goodies. Cute socks, jewelry, stuffed animals and school supplies are highly recommended by students. Tacky stocking stuffers and goofy presents — like reindeer-embroidered sweaters or pun-printed mugs — are also considered desirable.

“I think the funnier the gift, the better,” Gould said.

For many students, the trickiest part of Secret Santa is not the presents, but the challenge of keeping their identities secret.

“My person found out [it was me] before we revealed, just because of gossip,” Simons said. “The best way to keep your identity a secret is by not telling anyone at all.”

It wouldn’t be called Secret Santa if it weren’t anonymous – and students say that’s what makes the tradition so much fun. That, and quirky gifts.

“During [the Players production of] ‘Oklahoma,’ I asked for Christmas,” Klasky said. “So my buddy got a mini Christmas tree and the entire cast sang Christmas songs in the black box around it.”

 

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