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Secret Santa is not a new concept. It’s a popular option for workplace or friend gift-giving, creating a fun way for everyone to receive something, while only having to purchase a single gift.
With the rising costs of living and how easy it is to blow your Christmas budget quickly, family Secret Santa is a great way to cut your spending down in December!
Learn how we have turned this into a new family Christmas tradition for gift giving.
STARTING A NEW TRADITION: FAMILY SECRET SANTA
A few years back, we adapted Secret Santa for our family Christmas gifting, for one side of our extended family. This meant we only needed to purchase two gifts for my husband’s family each year – one from each of us.
This has become our tradition for several years now and it has certainly made Christmas gift shopping a whole lot easier and more affordable.
Meanwhile, I have a massive family. So last year we gave Secret Santa a try for my family too and it was great! Most of all, it was a huge stress relief knowing we did not need to stretch funds so far to get everyone a little something.
This year we will be doing it again.
Check out more ideas on how to get organised for Christmas:
- How to have a simplified Christmas
- Tips for saving money at Christmas
- Christmas tradition ideas
- Make-ahead Christmas breakfast recipes
HOW WE DO SECRET SANTA AS A FAMILY
For my husband’s family, our Secret Santa group is relatively small, so we usually do our draw the old fashioned way. We write everyone’s name on a piece of paper and place them all in a bowl, each drawing out a name.
If you get yourself, you throw it back in and we do a redraw. This worked well until half the family moved this year, so we may need to switch it up.
We also set an annual budget. This is usually between a $75 and $100 budget to spend on your person.
This price range was chosen as it meant having a big enough budget to get something special the person would really love.
Only the adults are placed in the draw for Secret Santa each year and then everyone gets the kids a little something.
This means only needing one gift in the place of 6 or 8 for the adults though, and that is a massive saving since it can be hard to get that many good gifts with a $100 budget total!
One bigger gift is usually far more special than lots of little ones too.
SECRET SANTA NAME DRAW ALTERNATIVE
For my family last year, we trialled something a little different since it can be hard to get all of us in the one place at one time. We used a Secret Santa generator for families, aimed at making Secret Santa draws easier.
I added everyone’s emails into the list and ran the draw and each person got an email with their person. The website we used was free, called Draw Names.
The other cool feature of doing it this way is that the website allows you to create rules for each person too.
My sister wanted to get her adult kids each a gift still, so she did not want to draw any of them. I always get my husband a gift, so I didn’t want to draw him out.
We were able to set it up so we could exclude these people in the draw. No redraws needed!
The other cool thing about that website is that it lets you add wishlist items or anonymously request ideas from your gift recipient.
Secret Santa Generators
If you are looking to use a free online Secret Santa generator, here are some great options:
The Benefits of Family Secret Santa Gift Giving
There are so many reasons we love doing Secret Santa with our families each year now.
Here are the main benefits of family Secret Santa:
- Spend much less overall
- Less stressing over what to get everyone
- Able to get a great gift for one person
- The added mystery is fun
- Save time on shopping
The savings are usually a couple of hundred dollars each Christmas which can make a mammoth difference to most households during the festive season.
Perhaps it means a bigger Christmas feast, or a chance to pay off existing expenses to reduce.
How to Have a Successful Secret Santa With Family
The key to successful Secret Santa family gift-giving is creating a plan from the start.
The main things you will want to determine is the following:
- Gift budget
- Who is joining in
- Who is excluded i.e. children/anyone not yet working
- How you will draw
- When you will give gifts if not Christmas day
- If you will reveal who gave what or keep it a secret after
What Are The Secret Santa Rules?
While you can absolutely have your own version of Secret Santa rules, these are the basics:
- Organise your list of participants
- Set a budget
- Do the name draw – either a simple paper draw or using an online generator
- Make sure everyone knows who their recipient is
- Leave your name off the gift (it’s a secret)
- Bring gifts to nominated time and place
- Have fun opening gifts together
Our Family Secret Santa Rules
We all still purchase gifts for children in the family who are under 18 or not yet earning an income of their own. For my nieces and nephews, this means smaller gifts that are still budget-friendly.
Our budget changes to suit circumstances. Usually, $75 is pretty standard for both families to make it within reason for everyone joining in.
You could easily reduce the amount to $50 or less or increase it if everyone has a higher budget.
We usually reveal who gave the gift after, but try and guess first. It can be a bit of extra fun this way.
Gift Ideas For All Occasions
Now that you’ve got your family Secret Santa rules and draw set up, it’s time to organise those gifts!
Check out these gift guides to find ideas for everyone on your list: