Are you dreading your office Secret Santa party? Does the thought of planning it stress you out more than having your in-laws over? Relax – this can actually be fun. Here are some Secret Santa tips and rules.

How to play Secret Santa:

Secret Santa works best if your team is down with being outrageous – or if you think you can loosen them up.

Option 1: Draw your Secret Santees: Have each person draw the name of a colleague to give a gift to. The recipient has no idea who their Secret Santa is.

Option 2: White Elephant: No, it’s not a dance move. Everyone brings a gift to the party. The first recipient chooses a wrapped gift and opens it. The second recipient can either choose a different wrapped gift, or steal the unwrapped gift from the first person. She doesn’t get to open a new gift before deciding! If a really good gift surfaces – we’ve got ideas below – be prepared for a lot of stealing.

No one gets to drop $100 on a gift and make the rest of us feel bad: Make sure everyone is absolutely clear on what the price limit is.

For some extra team bonding: check out the rules of Conspiracy Santa

No nice guys: If you do a White Elephant Swap, let people know that stealing is part of the game. Steal away!

Re-gifting: It has a bad rap. And no one likes to be second to the party. However if you’ve been given something that is a great item, but just not for you, regifting is your answer. The same rules apply though as if you were buying a gift, make sure it’s well suited for the recipient so they don’t become the dumping ground of your rejects.

Research: It does take a little time and thought, but it’s well worth the effort. And your recipient will feel really special too. You’ll feel great when someone has put the time into your gift instead of buying a box of chocolates when you’re a diabetic or specialty coffee when you’re a tea lover.

Why does that gift have nine sides? Wrap your gift in a way that keeps people guessing. Bought crazy socks? Skip the easy gift bag and pick up a uniquely shaped box to keep them guessing.

Gift ideas that actually don’t suck….yikes! Yes, we said it!
Yes, they actually exist. Make sure you know the two types of fantastic Secret Santa gifts.

Gift Ideas

  1. A Horseshoe for Luck from Artsy Modern
  2. Tea Set for Four from Stokes $10
  3. Herb Saver from Stokes $17.99
  4. Good reads. I Am Malala from Chapters $19.99
  5. Hair Hack from Lululemon $12
  6. Mini Walkie Talkies from Urban Outfitters $15.00
  7. Wall Art from Umbra $20
  8. Ceramic Chef Knife from Specialty Kitchenware Stores $14.99
  9. Beer Book from HomeSense $4.99
  10. Coffee Set from Stokes $19.99

Office Secret Santa gift exchanges can be a great time. Once people start relaxing with the help of your planning, the snowball effect can’t help but compound the good times.

Want more advice from our experts? Check out how Eventsage can help make your event exceptional. Eventsage – event planning made easy!

Kimberly Rohachuk

Kimberly Rohachuk

Over my career I've had the honor of working on some major events, including the World AIDS Conference in Vancouver, G8 Foreign Ministers meeting, and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics bid delegation to Prague. I’ve also worked with a number of corporate clients all over the world delivering hundreds of events for groups ranging from 50 to 1,500 people.

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