Alternative ideas for a flatshare Secret Santa
Nights are getting longer, days are getting colder. The smell of mulled wine is in the air. The holiday season is upon us. Which for most of us means the dreaded fear and stress of a group gift giving, whether that’s with flatmates, friends, family or colleagues. So, if you’ve grown tired of the same Secret Santa, we’ve listed 8 fun gift exchange ideas to mix it up this holiday season.
1. White elephant
Let’s start with a variation to Secret Santa which adds a bit of healthy competition. Everyone brings a wrapped gift and then takes turns selecting a present. The first person to go, opens the gift they chose, and the next person has the option to steal the previous person’s gift (in which case, that person would have to choose another) or select a new one. To make things a bit more interesting, you can add the rule that you can only bring unwanted things you’ve previously received as a gift.
2. Friend trivia
How well do you know your friends and flatmates? Get each person t0 write down up to 5 pieces of trivia about themselves ranging from obscure (i.e. name of your first pet) to common knowledge (i.e. your address). The first person to guess the correct friend based on the clues gets the present brought in by this person.
3. Charity exchange
Instead of giving out presents, why not give back this year? Like with Secret Santa everyone writes down their name but adds as well as their favourite charity. When you draw someone’s name, you’ll then make a small donation (again, set a limit for the amount) to that charity in the selected person’s name.
4. Themed gifts
An easy way to make a Secret Santa a bit more fun is to add a theme. A pretty common theme for example is crafts, where all presents should be something handmade (preferable by you and not by the lovely woman in the gift shop of the last place you visited). Other options can include all gifts need to be a certain colour, or related to a specific movie or Christmas carol.
5. One big gift
Now a real curve ball, what if no one buys any individual gifts and instead you pool all the money for something everyone can enjoy? This could mean getting tickets for a show or sporting event or hiring a Mariachi band to serenade you for an evening. It can be quite tricky to get everyone on the same page, but when it works out, it’s usually pretty great.
6. Guess the gift
Each person purchases a gift and wraps it up. So far pretty straight forward, but rather than simply giving it to someone, you’ll hold up the gift for everyone to see. Whoever guesses correctly what’s inside will win the present. Be sure that everyone has a few clues up their sleeve, as some gifts can be tough to guess!
7. Bidding wars
In this gift exchange idea, each person purchases a present, but leaves it unwrapped so everyone can see what it is. Next you hand out points or tokens worth 100 points. When you sit down to celebrate Christmas, you’ll have an auction where everyone can ‘bid’ on particular items with their points to try to win the items they want.
The final one is another variation of the standard Secret Santa. The twist is that everyone should think of a present to buy if the budget was a million pounds. Instead, you need to buy the closest thing given a price limit of £10 or £20. For example, instead of getting them the keys to a holiday home, get them a nice keychain. Make sure you add a note with your original million-pound idea to the present.
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