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Beloved by young and old kids alike, Santa Claus conjures up a feeling of joy and magic, which makes a Secret Santa party perfect for entertaining guests of all ages. Unlike other seasonal parties, a Secret Santa exchange allows everyone to play Santa Claus by exchanging inexpensive gifts with one another.
As host, begin by setting the price range, typically $10 - $20. You donít want anything so expensive that it robs the joy from those on a tight budget. You also will need to decide whether guests know the name of the person who will receive their gift, or whether gifts will be purchased without a specific person in mind.
If you plan a Secret Santa party where guests know their gift recipient, youíll want to ask each person to give you a list of their hobbies, favorite colors, food, music or other interests. Itís more fun to randomly assign Secret Santas, and remind each guest to keep their gift recipient a secret.
If the exchange will be done anonymously, ask guests to bring a gift that would be good for men, women, or children, if applicable to your group.
Secret Santa Themes
Another way to make your Secret Santa party interesting is to pick a theme. This makes shopping easier for your Santas. Possible themes include:
Nature Theme - bird feeders; bird guide book; nature journal; hummingbird feeder.
Keep it Cozy - hot cocoa; soup mixes; specialty teas; cinnamon sticks; biscuit mixes; flannel blankets; mittens; scarves; candles.
Sweets - candy filled ornaments or jars; boxes of specialty chocolates; candy wreath; holiday candy dish; símores making kit; box of gourmet cookies.
Holiday Theme - tree ornaments; candy dishes; door wreath; festive candles; holiday cookies; jar of candy canes.
For a Kids-Only Party - small action figures; music boxes; animal figures; small dolls; dinosaurs; matchbox cars; card games.
Preparing for the Exchange
Make sure youíve created the ambiance for a festive holiday party. Put up all of your decorations, including your tree, even if you host it early in the season.
Part of the fun of a Secret Santa Party is watching your guests open the gifts. If the gifts have been specifically selected for each guest, the host can reach into the gift pile and choose a gift to distribute at random. But if the gifts are for anyone, the exchange can become more interesting. When guests are seated and ready for the gifts, have each person draw a number from a hat. That number is the order in which they may select a gift from the pile. When Secret Santa parties are organized in this way, half the fun is coming up with creative wrapping so that the person selecting really has no idea what her gift will be.
An extra twist on this exchange has each person in turn select a gift. The next person may take a new gift or an already selected gift, sending the person whose gift was stolen back for another one. This type of exchange is sometimes called a yankee swap or white elephant exchange and can become very funny as your guests compete for the most exciting looking packages.In the Spirit of Giving
Finally, why not ask your guests to bring along a canned or packaged good to donate to a local food pantry? By giving to others in need, you will greatly capture the true meaning of Christmas.