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secret santa gift giving

5 Tips for Gift Giving During Secret Santa Season

Secret Santa gift exchanges are a popular way to celebrate the holidays. This is especially true for large families and groups of friends who would otherwise feel obligated to buy a gift for everyone.

A Secret Santa gift exchange allows you to focus on one name to buy for. This saves you money and reduces holiday stress, but still comes with its own challenges. When you're a part of several Secret Santa gift exchanges, you have to start getting creative! If you're part of an exchange at work, you might realize that you don't really know your coworkers as well as you thought you did. This year, avoid the stress and drama by following our tips for gift giving during Secret Santa season.

1. Work Together as a Group to Establish a Budget

If you want to be part of the Secret Santa gift exchange, be sure to speak your mind when you discuss a budget. If someone chimes in recommending a $50 budget and you have no desire to spend that much on anyone you work with, there's absolutely nothing wrong with speaking up. In fact, your coworkers will probably admire you for your honesty and would probably appreciate the suggestion to lower the budget. Remember that Secret Santa gifts are supposed to help everyone avoid breaking the bank.

2. Get to Know as Much About Your Secret Santa as You Can

It can take a lot of time to warm up to colleagues and really get to know them. This makes gift buying difficult. The same is true with certain family members you don't see very often except for the holidays. In order to avoid your gift falling flat, try to find out as much about your Secret Santa gift recipient as possible. Are they always complaining about losing their lunch in the communal work refrigerator? If so, consider a personalized lunch bag that stands out from the rest. Are they always munching on a particular midday snack? Buy a bunch of them and pack them into a personalized Christmas stocking. If you're feeling brave or you want to be sure your money is well spent, don't be afraid to ask in a discreet way what they'd like for a gift.

3. Follow the Rules

Don't try to outdo others by giving your Secret Santa a more expensive gift than specified in the rules. If you agree to a $20 gift, keep it as close to that amount as possible or risk some resentful looks. If you do go over, keep it quiet. Nobody needs to know how much you spent. The key is that the gift should be of good quality and demonstrate that some thought was put into it.

4. Make It Fun with a White Elephant Gift Exchange

White elephant gift exchanges are becoming more commonplace; they put the fun in the holidays and take the stress away. How? You basically take a present you received but truly do not want, and regift it to someone else who will either think it's just as hilarious or might actually appreciate it. Or, buy something inexpensive that invokes a laugh. Don't be afraid to play with the rules either. For example, you can create a rule that says that you are allowed one "steal" that allows you to take someone else's gift, making it just a little more exciting. If you're not positive that the gift you're buying will definitely end up in a specific person's hands, a scented candle will be an excellent addition to anyone's holiday bounty.

5. Do a Christmas Sweater Exchange

You've likely heard about the "ugly Christmas sweater" tradition. But why does it have to be ugly? A Christmas sweater exchange is a great tradition for holiday parties. Simply require participants to indicate their sweater size with their names before assigning the gifters and recipients. Then, when it comes time to swap during the holiday party, everyone can throw on their sweaters and show off their goods.

Remember this holiday season: gifting doesn't have to be stressful. Make it fun, agree on a budget, buy with integrity, and give from your heart!

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