5 Ways to be the Best Secret Santa

Secret Santa could be achieved with a last minute stop at CVS to purchase a pack of candy canes on your way to the gift exchange… Or it could be treated as an art form.

Holiday season is approaching and names are rapidly being drawn out of Santa hats as new rounds of secret Santa are being arranged. Feeling pressure once you pull a name is normal, but take a deep breath and follow these steps in order to be the best secret Santa you can be.


  1. Give quality clues

Receiving clues the week before the final gift exchange is a crucial element to the art of secret Santa. It is prime time to get your “victim” in the holiday spirit and excited for the concluding swap.

Clues usually consist of a cute note and miniature gift, such as a small holiday themed stuffed animal, that give a slight hint on who you are.

“One year I got a bag of Christmas themed Hershey Kisses with a funny note attached to it that didn’t really make sense at first, but when I found out who had me it all clicked,” Nicki Najarian ’15 said.

A common mistake when it comes to clues is giving too much information, so make sure your clues don’t give away your full identity.

  1. Include a humorous aspect

When it comes to figuring out what to give for the final gift, consider something funny. At the end of secret Santa, presents are generally opened in front of all the participants, so it’s important to keep the audience entertained.

If you decide to take the comic route, it is important to make the gift personal. It was two years ago that Sam Kratky ’15 received her gift in an Abercrombie and Fitch bag with a photo of her biggest crush’s face taped onto the body of the model.

“It’s safe to say that I liked the bag more than the gift itself,” Kratky said with a chuckle.

  1. Bake a holiday themed treat

Holiday season is a time for filling up on peppermint bark and gingerbread man cookies. A way that you can be guaranteed “Secret Santa MVP” is to give a friend a homemade holiday dessert.

  1. Write a lighthearted note

Secret Santa isn’t all about the presents. It’s also a good idea to include a portion of sentimental value to the game. Remember, just a few warm words can go a very long way.

“It’s important to give a note but it doesn’t have to be a letter- just a quick message to get the person in a holiday spirit,” Emma Ruchefsky ’15 said.

  1. Keep it a secret!

This last piece of advice is absolutely crucial when it comes to secret Santa: Keep it a secret! It’s always tempting to crack under peer pressure and tell your friends who you have, but stay strong and remember that keeping your target a secret is the most important part of the game.

“I personally don’t tell anyone who I have so that they can’t figure it out through talking to friends,” Sammy Troy ’15 said.

Secret Santa is a big deal during holiday season and being overwhelmed is a common symptom when it comes time to draw a name. Just remember to relax and take these few helpful hints to heart.