Title: A Guide to a Successful Secret Santa Gift Exchange

There are many benefits to hosting a Secret Santa gift exchange event. It helps bond you and the gift recipient, shows your thoughtfulness, and saves you time and money. There aren’t many rules to this time honored tradition, but the few ones are critical to its success. This year, you’re the Secret Santa event coordinator. Whether organizing it for coworkers, close friends, or family members, the following steps guarantee a successful Secret Santa party.

Find Participants

If you have complete control over who participates, compose a list of the people that you want to invite. Then send them a formal invitation. Once they agree to the gift exchange, use Facebook, emails, texts, or meetings to organize this Secret Santa event. Regularly update the participants on the new developments and deadlines. Guarantee that everyone shows up to the gift exchange by sending a reminder a week before the event, and then another one two days before it.

Draw Names

Pick a method to draw names. Use the basic, old school way by just having participants pick names out of a hat. For a more technologically advanced option, find a website that assigns Secret Santas. A few choices are DrawNames, Elfster, and Secret Santa Organizer.

Pick a Price Range

Set a price range that fits within everyone’s budget. Organize a meeting, or send an email containing a poll that lets you vote on a price range. Generally, the gift exchange price range varies by level of closeness. Office price ranges usually fall within the lower price range, between $10 and $25, and close friends and family usually fall between $25 and $50, or over $50.

Get to Know Everyone

Most likely, you have already established a close relationship with everyone or many of the Secret Santa participants. Therefore, you already know their personality. However, if it is an office wide Secret Santa event, you might not know all of them that well. Additionally, people within your social circle may be close with you, but have no relationship with each other. Help everyone get acquainted with one another with a questionnaire.

On it, ask basic questions about hobbies, likes and dislikes, favorite holiday memories, best presents ever bought or received, and other questions that help create a picture of this participant’s personality. Distribute the questionnaires when giving out gift assignments.

If you are a Secret Santa to someone who skipped the questionnaire or failed to fill it out by the deadline, then get present ideas by talking to some of their office friends. Another option is to just keep things simple by requiring that everyone writes a small wishlist.

Buy Affordable Gifts

If the questionnaire didn’t help you with ideas, consult a list about the best Secret Santa gifts. Be flexible when deciding your gift. Visit a popular department store, like Jcpenney, to cruise around looking for inspiration.

Make sure to stay on budget, because going under makes you look too cheap, and going over makes you look like a show off, and this goes against the established price range rules. Use JcPenney store coupons to ensure that you keep your present under budget.

Shop during sales: you stay on budget and get more while spending less.  Gift cards are a great idea when you get ones that the present recipient will use. Just add a little glamour to the present with a decorative box or card.

Exchange Secret Santa Presents

Pick a date that works with everyone’s schedule and a location that everyone can commute to easily.