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Secret Santa, sometimes referred to as Pollyanna, Kris Kindle or Kris Kringle, is a Christmas ritual involving a group of people exchanging anonymous gifts. All of these names derive from traditional Christmas gift-bringers. The term Secret Santa can refer to the ritual itself, or any of the people participating. The purpose of Secret Santa is to restrict gift-giving. Because of this, it is popular in workplaces, or amongst large families. Participation is usually voluntary, especially in workplace settings.

Thieving Secret Santa

In this version, participants (players) bring one gift each which is potentially suitable or interesting to any of the other participants. The gifts should be wrapped in such a way as to disguise their nature. Ideally, the provider of each gift should not be disclosed when setting up the game. Players take turns, and can either open a new gift, or steal a previously opened gift. This game is also known as the white elephant gift exchange or Yankee Swap.
A typical Secret Santa
Participants' names are placed in a hat, and each person draws a name for whom they are to buy a gift. Along with name submission,each participant may also submit a short wishlist of items from which the gift-giver can choose. There is often a limit to how much can be spent on the present. Presents are then exchanged anonymously. There is usually a gift-giving occasion, where all the presents are placed on a table, marked with the name of the receiver but not the giver. Sometimes the gift-giver will personally give the recipient the present, thereby revealing their identity. Some groups may choose to donate the money they saved on presents to charity.
Secret Santa over several days
In this variation, the gift giving occurs over several days. Typically, on a daily basis some small gift is secretly delivered to each person with an emphasis on creativity to make it fun. Examples include, a homemade card, a poem, candies, a trinket, a snack or a little piece of art. By playing this game over several days, the tension mounts and everyone is curious as to exactly who their personal ‘Secret Santa' is. On the last day of the activity, the gift usually reveals the identity of the ‘Secret Santa'. This could also be played by agreeing on a certain place then all the Secret Santas hide their gifts and then put small clues with the name of the person who they are Secret Santa to, which lead to where the gift is hidden.
A great way to have fun with all your family and friends on a budget
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24 Nov 2007

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The "Thieving Santa" is something we have done with our Family and friends over the years it has been great fun and added a lot of laughs to the day, we set an amount that everyone should buy a gift to that value, it is great to throw in a present consisting of Biltong the guys all really try hard for that one or lotto tickets etc. You put numbers in the hat say 1 -10, each person takes a number, 10 starts and you progress down the line either keeping your present or changing the present number 1 is the best as they have the greatest selection. Great fun
Rating: 4 / 5
by Lesley on 11 Nov 2009

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