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Secret Santa

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Secret Santa

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Secret Santa, Kris Kindle or Kris Kringle is a Christmas ritual involving a group of people exchanging anonymous gifts. The ritual is known as Secret Santa in the United States and Australia but Kris Kindle in Great Britain and Ireland. All of these names derive from traditional Christmas gift-bringers: the US version is named for Santa Claus while Kris Kindle and Kris Kringle are English corruptions of the name of the German gift-bringer Christkind (in Britain the traditional gift-bringer is Father Christmas). 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 often practiced in workplaces, or amongst large families. Recently the name Secret Snowflake has been showing up as a secular term for the same practice.

Participation is usually voluntary, especially in workplace settings.

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.

Sites such as Secret-Gift.com, SecretSanta.com and Elfster provide a modern twist allowing organizers and participants to manage the draw, wishlists and exchange on line. SecretSanta.com does the draw electronically so even the organizer does not know who their Secret Santa is.

Variation: 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.

References in popular culture

  • The Secret Santa gift exchange was featured on the Christmas special episode of The Office (UK) airing December 27, 2003.
  • It also appeared in the December 6, 2005 episode of The Office (US), titled "Christmas Party". It began in the traditional form, but partway through became a "Yankee Swap"
  • The December 2, 2005 episode of Monk (TV series) featured a murderous version of the gift exchange, in an episode titled "Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa"

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Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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