Rules of the Secret Santa Game

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The Secret Santa game is fun as long as everyone follows all the rules.
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The Secret Santa game is a fun way to exchange gifts during the holiday season without the pressure of spending too much money or stressing about finding the perfect gift for each member of a large family or multiple co-workers. Secret Santa rules are simple and this is an easy game to organize. When everyone follows the rules, gift-giving becomes fun and stress-free.


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Secret Santa Gift Exchange Rules

The first stage of the Secret Santa game is when the group draws names to determine for whom each person will be buying a gift. Have a slip of paper with each participant's name and place the names in a hat or bowl. Pass the hat around and have each participant draw a name.

Each participant is responsible for purchasing a gift prior to the gift exchange. Be sure to set a price range or maximum budget so that all of the gifts have a similar value. Participants will wrap the gift and add a tag with the recipient's name. On the "From" line of the tag, write "From your Secret Santa." Don't put down your name and ruin the fun!


On the day of the gift exchange, have everyone place their gifts on a table. The facilitator can pass out gifts so as to not reveal the gift giver. After opening the gift, recipients get to guess the identity of their Secret Santa. Can you do Secret Santa with five people? Absolutely! The more people you have the more fun it is to guess who your Secret Santa is, but you can play the game with fewer people as well.

Secret Santa Game Ideas

The basic rules are simple, but you can consider some variations to add to the fun and customize the game for your group. The gift budget already sets some constraints on the gifts, but if you want to make the game even more budget-friendly, consider a game that requires participants to re-gift presents from a previous Christmas.


Alternatively, you can have each participant write down gift ideas on the Secret Santa paper prior to drawing names. As long as the ideas are in the budget range, this can ensure that everyone gets something they will appreciate.

You can also make the guessing game more fun by adding clues to the Secret Santa labels that help to reveal their identity. If the group is up for it, each Secret Santa can leave a couple of clues between the drawing of names and the gift exchange. Some people prefer to keep Secret Santa a secret, never revealing who gave the gift. Decide what will be the most fun for your group or family.


Play Secret Santa Remotely

Secret Santa isn't limited to in-person gatherings. If your family or group of friends can't get together during the holiday season, you can still connect by playing the Secret Santa game. The basic rules are the same with a few modifications.

Once you know who is participating, you can use a digital Secret Santa name generation tool to assign names. Have each participant create a digital wish list of items within the assigned budget at online stores like Amazon or Etsy. This way, each Secret Santa can order and send gifts directly to the recipient.


Finally, have an online gift-opening party over a video call. You can guess your Secret Santa and celebrate the holiday season with friends and family, no matter where you are in the world.