Secret Santa Guidelines and Party Ideas

Plan a Secret Santa holiday party this year for family and friends or with your coworkers. We've put together a few helpful Secret Santa guidelines and rules to help keep everyone organized!

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How Does Secret Santa Work? 

Secret Santa is a fun gift exchange game played with a large group of people. Each participant's name is placed in a hat. Each individual participant then draws a name and keeps it a secret. (Don't worry - if you aren't all in one location, there are lots of online tools that can help you draw names digitally.)  Once all of the participants have selected a name, they purchase a gift for the person on the list. When gifts are opened, the recipient has to try to guess who was their Secret Santa. 

If you want to organize a Secret Santa gift exchange, take a look at these helpful tips and guidelines! 

How To Organize a Secret Santa Party

1. Invite Guests to your Secret Santa Party.

Choose one of these great Secret Santa Online Invites from our Christmas Invitation Collection. 

2. Once you've received your RSVPs, make sure you share the guidelines with all of the participants: 

  • Set a dollar value for the total amount of each gift. This helps to ensure that each participant gives and receives a gift of similar value.
  • Make sure that each participant keeps their secret. Don't tell anyone whose name you've picked.
  • If the participants don't know each other at all, you may also want to have participants create a wish list. This will help keep the Secret Santa exchange thoughtful. You may also provide a helpful gift guide. You could also or suggest gift cards, but keep in mind, it's more fun to see recipients open a personalized gift!
  • Ensure that each participant is available to attend the gift exchange party.
3. Get ready to party! 

When everyone arrives, have them place their Secret Santa gifts on a table or central location at the party. Each gift should be addressed with only the recipient's name, not their "Santa's" name.

Plan other activities during the secret Santa party, too. Use our Potluck planner to coordinate a variety of main and side dishes for a meal. Play some festive music. Plan some fun activities like karaoke, or a silly competition such as speed gift wrapping to keep the party upbeat and fun.

When it's time for everyone to open their gifts, they'll pick up the one addressed to them. Once they've opened it, they can guess who their Secret Santa was. If they guess correctly, they can show their appreciation for their Secret Santa. If they're incorrect, they can try to keep track or narrow it down as others open their gifts and their Santas are revealed! 

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